Sunday, March 9, 2014
GREENWOOD — Blotting out memories of untimely spills in last year's slalom state championship meet, the girls of Greely and the boys of Falmouth sewed up Alpine state titles Wednesday afternoon at Mt. Abram.
Joseph Lesniak of Falmouth slams down a gate while competing in the slalom race Wednesday at the Class A skiing state championships at Mt. Abram. Lesniak finished fourth, helping the Yachtsmen capture overall and Alpine titles to go with the Nordic championship they won a day earlier.
Photos by Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer
Sophia Syrene of Marshwood nails a gate on her second run of the day. Greely captured the girls’ Alpine title.
"To be back on top feels wonderful," said Greely junior Elyse Dinan, who led a 3-4-6-11 finish for the Rangers, moments after teammate Jordan Ouellette zipped across the finish line to complete Greely's victory.
Falmouth, which won the Nordic title Tuesday, collected its fourth straight overall boys' state title and second since moving up to Class A last winter.
The Oxford Hills girls, fourth in Nordic, overcame a 17-point deficit to squeak past Falmouth and win their first overall title in 36 years.
Both Falmouth and eight-time defending overall champion Mt. Blue mustered only three slalom skiers, so each acquired a "ghost skier" that ballooned their scoring totals.
Even with taking a ghost skier in both giant slalom and slalom, the Falmouth girls nearly pulled off an improbable victory. The winning margin for Oxford Hills was two points, 308-310.
"It feels awesome," said Oxford Hills senior Colleen Stauder, who placed seventh in slalom. "It's been since what, 1977? I'm so excited to be a part of something like that. It is fabulous."
Individually, Biddeford sophomore Curtis Paradis successfully defended his slalom title, and Edward Little senior Allarie Lever capped an unbeaten season with a slalom title to go along the giant slalom crown she won Tuesday.
"Last year, I fell in all four runs," said Lever, who fulfilled a personal goal of winning a state title she set as a sixth grader. "I'm more experienced now and I'm putting it all together."
Falmouth's boys won the four-event overall competition with a score of 148 to 296 for runner-up Mt. Blue. Falmouth also won the Alpine title, 64-158 over Oxford Hills.
"We were able to ski clean this time around," said Falmouth's Alpine coach, Tip Kimball. "We were very careful."
Paradis, who placed second in Tuesday's giant slalom, rallied Wednesday after placing third in his first run of the morning to post the fastest second run for a combined time of 1 minute, 17.72 seconds – about a third of a second better than Falmouth freshman Devereux Thomas.
"I just put it all into the finish," Paradis said. "I really went after it on the bottom part (of the course)."
Thomas and teammate Joseph Lesniak (fourth) finished among the top five, with Thomas Lesniak 12th and Cooper Lycan 14th.
Alex Gowen, a Falmouth senior, took the top time into the second run but straddled a gate and had to hike up the headwall before completing the course. He wound up 23rd.
"We tried to ski well, but smart," Gowen said, "not attacking like crazy."
Falmouth's girls took a 188-205 lead into the final day of competition, but Oxford Hills had a much stronger performance in Tuesday's giant slalom, with 65 points to Falmouth's 127. Members of the Vikings' Nordic team crowded around Stauder after her finish, lending the type of support often absent from programs with completely separate cross-country and downhill teams.
"Rarely do you intertwine the teams," Stauder said, "so this is a cool opportunity for us."
Falmouth had fashioned a lead with its first Class A Nordic title, 61-79 over Portland, with Oxford Hills a distant fourth at 140.
Krysia Lesniak and Alex Shapiro finished 8-9 for Falmouth and Margaret Coster was 31st, but that was it. Falmouth opened the season with five girls, but one transfered to a ski academy over the holiday break and the other is in Colorado on a long-planned family skiing vacation.
Because 74 girls finished the course Wednesday, Falmouth was given a score of 74 for its absent fourth skier. Ditto for Mt. Blue and Leavitt.
Greely, meanwhile, amassed only 57 total points in the two Alpine events to easily outdistance Edward Little, which finished with 138. Oxford Hills (168) was third, followed by Fryeburg Academy (172) and 10 other schools.
Teal Otley (fourth), Jill Booth (sixth) and Ouellette (11th) capped Greely's performance a year after both Dinan and Otley fell, allowing Mt. Blue to take the Alpine crown.
The Falmouth boys fell in similar fashion to Mt. Blue last winter. That remains the team's only loss in three seasons.
With a pair of 32-point scores in slalom and giant slalom to go along with 42 each in freestyle and classical, Falmouth remained below 50 in all four events, something no other Class A school managed even once in the boys' competition.
"We were much more consistent with our finishes," said Falmouth freshman Thomas Lesniak. "It's nice that both teams won. It's a better feeling for us."
Staff Writer Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at:
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Ian Shea of Fryeburg Academy keeps his eye on an upcoming gate. Shea finished 13th in slalom.
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With snow flying around him and a look of determination on his face Wednesday, Cooper Lycan of Falmouth makes his way down Mt. Abram during his final run on the slalom, part of the Class A state title meet.