Annesley Black, a sophomore at Cheverus High who lives in Cape Elizabeth, wasn’t sure what to expect from her first season of high school racing in Maine after spending last winter at a ski academy in Vermont.

As it turned out, having no expectations worked well.

“I didn’t like the atmosphere in Vermont,” she said of her winter at the Killington Mountain School. “It was really competitive and intense. It kind of psyched me out.”

Absent such pressure, Black flourished. She won every Maine high school race she entered.

She swept the SMAA slalom and giant slalom titles at Shawnee Peak and also won both events at the Class A state championships at Mt. Abram. She was Maine’s top Shootout qualifier for the Eastern High School Championships, where she led Maine skiers by placing seventh in slalom and 13th in giant slalom at Attitash Mountain in New Hampshire.

She is the Maine Sunday Telegram Girls’ Skier of the Year.

“She just dominated everything this year,” said Cheverus Alpine Coach Georgia Hegner. “She’s an amazing racer, very dedicated. She spent a lot of time on it, as did her brother. The two of them kind of push each other.”

Schuyler Black is a senior, and SMAA champion in slalom and giant slalom. At the Class A state meet, he placed eighth in giant slalom but didn’t finish his second run in slalom. They have a younger brother, Sam, in sixth grade.

Sharing the podium with her older brother at the SMAA championships was Annesley’s season highlight, more so than the state titles.

“That was great because he works really hard,” she said. “I was glad to see it pay off. I was really proud of him.”

Annesley (it’s a family name) grew up chasing Schuyler down the slopes and followed him into the Shawnee Peak racing program. She started running gates at 6 or 7.

An honor student, Black spends her summers hiking, mountain biking and working out. Although she plays soccer and lacrosse, zipping down the side of a mountain with challenging twists and turns holds a special place in her heart.

“There’s a feeling I get in skiing that I don’t get in any other sport,” she said. “You have to master a lot of aspects. You have to be physically strong, technically sound and mentally prepared. It’s really satisfying when you put all that work in and you get a good run.”

Black was one of three girls from Cheverus on the Alpine team, which also includes two girls from Thornton Academy. There are a half-dozen boys. She also does weekend racing in the Gould Competition Program at Sunday River.

“The fact that she skis so much and practices so much is a huge part of it,” Hegner said of Black’s success. “Raw talent is another part. She’s just a very athletic person in general.”

She’s also very social, with friends from schools throughout the state. The only place there’s not a lot of chatter, Hegner said, is at the top of the race course, where Black tends to be quiet and introspective.

“She likes to get into her own head space,” Hegner said. “Occasionally, she needs to be reminded to be confident, but she doesn’t need a lot of talking to her.”

ALL-STATE TEAM

Allison Acritelli, Spruce Mountain junior: The Class B slalom state champion by two seconds, she also placed sixth in giant slalom to help the Phoenix win the school’s first Alpine state title. She placed 67th in giant slalom at the Eastern high school championships.

Victoria Beliveau, Edward Little senior: She made up for a disappointing state meet (eighth in Class A slalom, 30th in giant slalom) with an eighth-place slalom finish in the Eastern championships, where she was 30th in giant slalom.

Annesley Black, Cheverus sophomore: Black capped an unbeaten season in Maine with Class A titles in slalom and giant slalom. She placed seventh in slalom and 13th in giant slalom at the Eastern championships.

Meghan Charles, Mt. Blue junior: Charles placed third in Class A in both freestyle and classical to help the Cougars win the Nordic team title. She was 24th in freestyle and 27th in classical at the Eastern championships.

Shelby Cowin, Greenville junior: The two-time Class B giant slalom champion – with a four-second margin of victory this year – also had the fastest second run in slalom but did not finish her first run.

Grace Cowles, Yarmouth senior: The Class B freestyle champ and classical runner-up, she was also WMC champion in both events. She was eighth in the sprint, 16th in classical and 19th in freestyle at the Eastern championships.

Brooke Juneau, Fryeburg Academy sophomore: The Class A runner-up in giant slalom, Juneau also placed fourth in slalom. At the Eastern championships, she was 19th in giant slalom and 24th in slalom.

Laura Parent, Maranacook junior: The Class B classical state champion by 28 seconds and runner-up in freestyle, she helped the Black Bears end Yarmouth’s six-year Nordic reign. Parent was also the KVAC classical champion and runner-up at the Sassi Memorial.

Julia Ramsey, Mt. Blue senior: The Class A freestyle and classical state champion, she led the Cougars to the Nordic team title. She also won the Sassi Memorial, and placed 19th in sprint, 23rd in freestyle and 35th in classical at the Eastern championships.

Olivia Skillings, Maine Coast Waldorf junior: The Class C freestyle and classical champion, Skillings helped Maine Coast to its seventh straight Nordic team crown. She placed 10th in sprint, 12th in classical and 20th in freestyle at the Eastern championships.

COACH OF THE YEAR

Steve DeAngelis, Maranacook Nordic: Maranacook packed the top eight in classic and top 12 in freestyle to beat six-time defending champ Yarmouth by eight points. “It was nice to be a little better than them this year,” said DeAngelis.

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or:

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