Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Neither a flu bug nor a blizzard of wet snow prevented the Yarmouth High ski teams from claiming both Nordic and overall titles on the final day of competition in the Class B state championships Thursday in Presque Isle.
Freshman Ellie Teare, and sophomores Sam Alexander and Jasper Huston were pressed into service Thursday because of illness to teammates, and all three delivered top-10 finishes in the concluding 5-kilometer classical race at the Nordic Heritage Center.
That helped Yarmouth hold off Caribou in the Nordic standings, 49-67 for girls and 30-58 for boys.
In the overall standings, the Yarmouth girls won their sixth straight state title and 15th overall. Their four-event total score of 123 easily outpaced runner-up Caribou (251). Alpine champion Camden Hills was third at 280 and Mt. Abram fourth at 284, followed by Maranacook (327), Gray-New Gloucester (419) and Presque Isle (525).
The Yarmouth boys, after two years of finishing second to Falmouth, won their sixth title in nine years and 13th overall.
"In the trophy case, we'll have to move a few things over," said Coach Bob Morse, reached by phone Thursday afternoon on the team's journey back from Aroostook County. "The trails and conditions up here, until (Thursday), were fantastic. They've got over 2 feet of snow up here."
Morse said quarter-sized snowflakes began falling Thursday morning a little more than halfway through the girls' race, despite temperatures just above freezing.
Only Maranacook senior Abby Mace managed to negotiate the course in under than 20 minutes, finishing in 19:49. Yarmouth junior Tara Humphries, second to Mace in Tuesday's freestyle race, placed second again in 20:21. Teare, who learned she would be skiing less than an hour before the race, placed fifth in 22:30.
Juniors Sarah Becker (seventh) and Alex Lucas (17th) completed Yarmouth's scoring. Nearly half the field (20 of 46) required more than half an hour to slog through the sticky snow, prompting upheaval on the waxing benches.
"We changed the game plan," Morse said. "We threw out the script and ad-libbed."
In this case, that meant stripping all wax off the racing skis and turning them into what Morse called "hairies."
By using a rasp on the bottom of the kick zone to create a rough surface of small fibrous (or hairy) material, and using glide wax over the rest of the ski, a competitor may have an advantage over another skier using klister wax.
Alas, the Yarmouth staff was without a rasp. So they turned to sanding blocks, steel brushes and elbow grease.
"In half an hour, we took all the wax off their skis and turned them into hairies," Morse said. "Jackson Hall tried it, and came back with a big smile on his face and said, 'My kick is great, coach!' He was the boys' hero. If he hadn't volunteered to test it, we would have been like all the other schools, with snow sticking to the bottom of their skis."
The skis worked so well that Hall finished 10th, behind five of his Yarmouth teammates.
Sophomore Jack Elder, freshman Carter Hall and Alexander went 2-3-4 behind Caribou's Caleb Chapman, who won by more than 30 seconds in 16:15. Huston was seventh and sophomore Braden Becker ninth.
Yarmouth's boys finished with a four-event total of 110 points to 198 for runner-up Maranacook, the Alpine champion. Caribou (289) was third, followed by Cape Elizabeth (322), Mt. Abram (378), Camden Hills (462), Gray-New Gloucester (465), Spruce Mountain (498) and Presque Isle (569).
CLASS A: Junior Jay Lesser, and seniors Jamie McAtherin and Tim Follo led a 2-3-4-18 finish in a 5-kilometer classical race at Black Mountain to give Falmouth the Class A Nordic title and put Mt. Blue's streak of five consecutive overall championships in serious jeopardy.
The Falmouth boys take a 34-point lead into today's concluding race of the four-event meet, a slalom at Mt. Abram. Falmouth leads Mt. Blue 99-133, with Oxford Hills in third at 222.
Fryeburg junior Silas Eastman won Thursday afternoon's classical race for the second year in a row, by 20 seconds over Lesser in 11:48.
Falmouth beat Mt. Blue in the final Nordic standings, 69-82.
Emma Wood of Mt. Ararat won the girls' race in 14:56, with Sarah Wade of Mt. Blue second in 15:19.
Leavitt's girls won the Nordic title with a two-event score of 62. Portland was the runner-up.
In the overall girls' standings, Mt. Blue takes a 25-point lead into today's slalom, with a total of 180 points to 205 for Oxford Hills and 210 for Falmouth.
Staff Writer Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at: