Friday, April 25, 2014
Monday’s rain may have put a damper on the local high school skiing season, but not before many Nordic teams kicked off the rust Saturday at the Telstar Relays in Bethel.
Braden Becker, Yarmouth senior: The defending Class B freestyle and classical champion posted the fastest 3K time among more than 200 skiers from Maine Principals’ Association-sanctioned teams at the Telstar Relays on Saturday in Bethel.
Ben Allen, Portland senior: Finished within three seconds of Becker to help Portland place third behind Yarmouth and Gould at the Telstar Relays.
Carter Hall, Yarmouth junior: Finished within 12 seconds of Becker to help the Clippers earn the top time from any four-skier team at the Telstar Relays.
Crockett Lalor, Camden Hills senior: Runner-up at a giant slalom race at Sunday River Wednesday involving 101 competitors.
Lizzy Martin, Freeport junior: Skied the fastest 3K leg of all girls, regardless of school or affiliation, at the Telstar Relays on Saturday in Bethel, finishing in a time of 10 minutes, 10 seconds.
Samantha Pierce, Merriconeag junior: Finished within 15 seconds of Martin to help the Waldorf school in New Gloucester to fourth place among four-skier teams at the Telstar Relays.
Emma Torres, Yarmouth junior: One of the three girls, along with Martin and Pierce, to break 11 minutes in a 3K leg at the Telstar Relays in Bethel.
Lydia Morin, Camden Hills junior: Won a giant slalom race at Sunday River on Wednesday involving 57 competitors.
Under a low-key format featuring four-skier teams made up of two girls and two boys each skiing a leg of 3 kilometers, Yarmouth finished with four squads among the top 13 and had the fastest overall quartet (of 67).
“I’m pretty pleased,” said Coach Bob Morse, in his 33rd season guiding the Clippers. “This is the first time Yarmouth has won the Telstar Relays in a number of years. It’s usually Gould (Academy) or Mt. Blue or Maranacook.”
Saturday’s emphasis was more on getting out and skiing well than on posting times or beating opponents. Nearly 300 skiers took part.
Braden Becker, Ellie and Caitlin Teare, and Carter Hall combined for a winning time of 43 minutes, 17 seconds. Three other teams managed to break 44 minutes for the 12K relay: Gould Academy, Portland and Merriconeag.
“Most coaches are just letting the kids get in a race without trying to win it,” said Merriconeag Coach John Tarling, whose top team consisted of Lily Tupper, Samantha Pierce, Graham Roeber and Forrest McCurdy. “We had two teams and we tried to make them somewhat balanced.”
Merriconeag graduated five excellent skiers from last year’s team, which won both the girls’ and boys’ Class C Nordic titles.
“It’s hard to replace them but we’ve got some good kids stepping up,” Tarling said. “We’ll be a factor, especially in our class. We have six or eight pretty good skiers and some new kids who I’m sure by the end of the year will be coming along.”
Yarmouth won the boys’ and girls’ Class B Nordic titles last winter and shows no signs of slipping, although Morse had twice as many girls (20) skiing in Bethel as boys. Yarmouth was one of several teams that headed north for a minicamp during the holiday break. The Clippers spent three nights in Millinocket and skied four days.
Merriconeag did something similar in Rangeley and Freeport went to Jackson, N.H.
“We skied three to four hours each day,” said Freeport Nordic Coach Joel Hinshaw. “We were able to do classic and skate. That was well worth it.”
Lizzy Martin of Freeport posted the fastest girls’ leg in Bethel. Her time of 10:10 was one of the three to break 11 minutes. The others were Pierce (10:25) of Merriconeag and Emma Torres (10:56) of Yarmouth.
“We knew Lizzy had been training hard this fall,” Hinshaw said. “A lot of times, summer and fall really make the skier and you just fine-tune it during the winter. So it was interesting to see that the training paid off. She had plenty of energy and was able to focus on technique.”
The Falcons lost three girls to a variety of causes (transfer, injury, indoor track) and only have five on a squad that usually reaches double digits. The boys have only two seniors, Eli McCurdy and Nick Nelson, but six freshmen, including Bennett Hight, who posted one of the top individual times Saturday in Bethel.
“He has a really good engine and motivation,” Hinshaw said. “This fall we’ve been working on his technique and he put it together Saturday.”
Hinshaw said timing and muscle memory can be improved during dryland training, as well as an understanding of switching gears during a race.
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