Skiing – Press Herald Sat, 25 Nov 2017 09:00:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Wow Factor, Ruslan Reiter, Maranacook Sun, 21 May 2017 08:00:00 +0000 Ruslan Reiter doesn’t mind talking about his adventures with the United States Paralympic Nordic ski team, but he’s probably not going to volunteer the information.

“You would not know he is an Olympic-level athlete by talking to him, and he would try and play it down if you talked to him about it,” said Zachary Holman, Reiter’s friend and teammate on the Maranacook Community High School Nordic team.

While Reiter’s friends and family marvel at his success against international competition in World Cup races, Reiter quietly goes about the business of becoming one of the top Paraylmpic Nordic skiers in the world.

That made Reiter a most deserving winner of The Wow Factor award at the Varsity Maine Awards.

“How could you not pick that kid?” said Steve DeAngelis, Reiter’s Nordic coach at Maranacook, shortly after he and Reiter each took home honors at the Varsity Maine Awards.

Reiter was born with a limb difference, and his right arm ends just above the wrist. Competing for Maranacook as a sophomore, Reiter caught the eye of Team USA coaches, who invited him to a training camp in Bend, Oregon. Reiter showed potential, and was invited to join Team USA at a World Cup competition last December in Finland.

In March, a few weeks shy of his 18th birthday and one of the youngest skiers in the field, Reiter raced for Team USA in another World Cup event, this time in Pyeongchang, South Korea, site of the upcoming 2018 Winter Games. Reiter placed 14th in the men’s standing class, the top finish for a North American skier.

“Ruslan has been my best friend for many years now. I have watched him grow as both an athlete, and as a leader. Even after knowing him for all these years, he never ceases to impress me,” Holman said. “He is without a doubt one of the greatest athletes I know, and is always pushing himself to his limits. He has this infectious optimism, and is so incredibly humble.”

Reiter also competes on the cross country and outdoor track and field teams. His Nordic success comes despite being a relative novice to the sport. Reiter didn’t begin skiing competitively until seventh grade.

DeAngelis can’t wait to see how much Reiter continues to improve over the coming years.

“Everybody has the dream, when you’re coaching, one of your athletes is going to go on and be an Olympian or be a professional player, something like that,” DeAngelis said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

]]> 0 Reiter rounds a corner on his way to a third-place finish in the Kennebec Valley Athletics Conference Class B cross country championships in October at Cony High in Augusta.Fri, 19 May 2017 11:03:41 +0000
Coach of the Year: Steve DeAngelis, Maranacook Sun, 21 May 2017 08:00:00 +0000 When asked to describe Steve DeAngelis, longtime coach of the Maranacook Community High School Nordic ski team, senior captain Zachary Holman suggested giving his senior letter to the team a read.

Holman’s letter is an ode to the values and principles instilled into the team by DeAngelis. Holman implored the Black Bears to work hard, keep a strong mental attitude, respect but do not fear the competition, be good teammates and have fun. He closed the letter with a personal thank-you to DeAngelis.

“Lastly, Mr. D, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, none of this would have been possible without you,” Holman wrote. “Your guidance and mentorship has been the greatest gift that anyone could ever give, and you have made me who I am today.”

In February, the Maranacook girls and boys won the Nordic Class B state titles, adding another accomplishment to DeAngelis’ 30-plus year coaching resume at the school. While titles are nice, it’s the relationships he builds with his athletes and the Maranacook community through Nordic skiing that drive DeAngelis.

It’s those relationships that earned DeAngelis the Coach of the Year award at the Varsity Maine Awards.

“I love being an ambassador for my sport,” DeAngelis said moments after accepting the award. “We do try really hard to have a community program.”

Under DeAngelis, Holman won the Nordic classical state title and placed second in the freestyle.

“Mr. D has without a doubt been one of the most influential people in my life. He has made me the man and skier that I am today,” Holman said. “I have come from a freshman who was too scared to race to a state champion. This would not have been possible without the guidance and support from Mr. D. He is not only one of my idols, but a fantastic mentor, coach, and friend.”

DeAngelis said the focus of the season is helping each athlete achieve his or her goals. When that happens, overall team success follows.

“He’s so dedicated. He helps everyone a lot. He really enjoys doing what he does,” said Maranacook skier Ruslan Reiter, who won the Varsity Maine Wow Factor award.

When he accepted his award, DeAngelis stressed the importance of the entire school community in building Maranacook’s success Nordic program.

“I am not here without my team, my parents and my community,” DeAngelis said.

Added Holman: “He has created a fantastic culture in the ski team where everyone is welcome, and where everyone is pushed to be the best version of themselves.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

]]> 0, ME - MAY 2: Steve DeAngelis, of Maranacook High School, leaves the stage after accepting the Coach of the Year award at the 2017 Varsity Maine Awards. (Staff photo by Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer)Fri, 19 May 2017 11:06:37 +0000
Girls’ skiing: Annesley Black, Cheverus Sun, 26 Mar 2017 08:00:00 +0000 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.”


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.


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:

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH

]]> 0 Black of Cheverus, the Maine Sunday Telegram's Girls' Skier of the Year, won the slalom and giant slalom in the Class A state meet at Mt. Abram, after also sweeping the events at the SMAA championships. Black also plays soccer and lacrosse.Sat, 25 Mar 2017 18:02:06 +0000
Boys’ skiing: Willson Moore, Waynflete Sun, 26 Mar 2017 08:00:00 +0000 Waynflete Nordic Coach Ben Hamilton tells a story about Willson Moore, whose family has a camp on a lake in northern Ontario.

Moore thought a nearby island would be a great place to exercise, so he swam out and fashioned a pull-up bar. When vacation ended, his parents told him he needed to dismantle the bar.

Moore found a crowbar, tied it to his waist, and started swimming toward the island.

“He was having so much fun,” Hamilton said, “that he decided to swim around the island before taking down the bar. That is quintessential Willson Moore. He thrives on a challenge.”

A senior at Waynflete, Moore won the Class C classical and freestyle titles, dethroning his good friend, Tucker Pierce of Maine Coast Waldorf. A week later, in the Eastern high school championship selection races at Black Mountain, Moore posted the fastest classical time and placed second overall.

Moore is our choice for Maine Sunday Telegram Boys’ Skier of the Year.

“There are two defining features to Willson that make him a fine person and an incredible teammate,” Hamilton said. “One is his work ethic. If we ask him to run a dry-land practice and give him a target of six miles, he’s probably going to run nine. He just loves to work out. Two is his love of competition. He feeds off it, enjoys it, has this infectious enthusiasm on race day.”

Mt. Blue senior Tucker Barber also received strong consideration. Barber swept the Class A individual titles over the same Quarry Road Trails on the same days as Moore – Barber was faster in classical, Moore in freestyle – to go along with the Sassi Memorial classical title.

At the EHSC races last weekend in Vermont, Pierce finished 22nd in classical to Moore’s 23rd and Barber’s 32nd. In freestyle, Barber was 24th, Moore 28th and Pierce 30th.

“I knew there was going to be some really good competition this year,” Moore said. “My goal coming in was to really try and match some of those skiers and be competitive with them.”

Moore, who also runs cross country and track, grew up shuffling through the woods of Freeport on waxless skis with his dad and joined a Bill Koch program at Twin Brook in Cumberland. He was a baseball player through eighth grade and played soccer his freshman year at Freeport High, where he also earned all-state chorus honors.

After transferring to Waynflete, he competed in Science Olympiads and, with his team, advanced to the nationals in Nebraska. He plans to study physics and sustainable engineering at Middlebury, and hopes to compete with the Nordic team.

Throughout the winter, Pierce and Moore went back and forth in Western Maine Conference meets. Pierce won the WMC classical title and Moore won freestyle.

“On any given day at a WMC meet, it’s going to be Willson or Tucker,” Hamilton said. “You would think that competition would create a wedge, a divide, but the opposite has happened. They’re the best of friends.”


Tucker Barber, Mt. Blue senior: A two-time Class A classical champ, he also won the freestyle title and led the Cougars to a second straight Nordic title. The Sassi Memorial champ placed 24th (skate) and 32nd (classic) at the Eastern high school championships in Vermont.

Nathan Delmar, Maranacook senior: The Class B slalom champion, and runner-up in giant slalom, he was Maine’s top slalom finisher at the Eastern championships in 23rd place. He plans to attend Bates and continue skiing at a club level.

Zach Holman, Maranacook senior: The Class B Nordic classical champion by 44 seconds and runner-up in freestyle, he helped the Black Bears win their second state title in three years. He was fourth in a field of 149 at the Sassi Memorial.

John Lane, Yarmouth senior: The Class B Nordic freestyle champion by nine seconds who also placed fifth in classical, Lane finished third of 149 skiers in the Sassi Memorial.

Devon Lathrop, Cape Elizabeth sophomore: The Class A giant slalom champion for the second straight year and the runner-up in slalom by .37 seconds, he was also the WMC champ in both disciplines.

Axel Lindsay, Greely senior: The Class A slalom state champion, Lindsay placed third in slalom by less than a second. He placed 27th in giant slalom and 31st in slalom at the Eastern championships.

Willson Moore, Waynflete senior: Moore swept the classical and freestyle races in Class C, and was the WMC freestyle champion and classic runner-up. He placed 23rd in classic and 28th in freestyle at the Eastern championships.

Nick Newman, Mountain Valley senior: The Class B giant slalom champion – by a five-second margin – and runner-up in slalom, he placed 20th in giant slalom and 32nd in slalom at the Eastern championships.

Tucker Pierce, Maine Coast Waldorf senior: Despite illness at the Class C state meet, he finished second in freestyle and third in classical. He was 20th overall at the Eastern championships among a field of 109 in the three-event (freestyle, classic, sprint) competition.

Gibson Scott, Falmouth sophomore: Scott was runner-up in Class A giant slalom and third in slalom while skiing conservatively to help Falmouth earn the Alpine team title.


Tip Kimball, Falmouth Alpine: After placing second in the Western Maine Conference, Falmouth put it all together at the state meet to win the Class A Alpine crown for the first time since 2013. After building up a sizable lead in giant slalom, Falmouth did even better in slalom to win by 64 points over runner-up Cape Elizabeth. “We have a very young team and I considered them a long shot,” said Kimball. “All the stars had to align perfectly to make this happen with them, and they did.”

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or:

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH

]]> 0 of Willson Moore. Please say some really nice things about our skier of the year because he does so many good things for so manySat, 25 Mar 2017 18:06:37 +0000
Nordic skiing: Mt. Blue, Maine Coast Waldorf defend titles in Class A and C Fri, 24 Feb 2017 18:55:53 +0000 WATERVILLE — John Wooden, the Hall of Fame basketball coach at UCLA, created an entire pyramid of success.

Clair Polfus, coach of the Mt. Blue Nordic team, prefers something a bit more simple.

“We have a three-point philosophy,” she said, and proceeded to list each point.

1. Smile.

2. Ski hard.

3. Pass the person in front of you.

Oh, and for championship meets, there’s an addendum.

Glitter. Dab some above each cheek bone like football eye black to allow sunlight to sparkle off a radiant face.

“That’s like the extra special jet fuel that pushes them down the trail,” Polfus said.

Friday morning at Quarry Road Trails, no other team covered the trails faster than the school from Farmington, whose boys and girls each won a second straight Class A Nordic state championship.

Seniors Tucker Barber and Julia Ramsey took home individual honors in Friday’s freestyle competition after each won Thursday’s classical race over the same 5-kilometer rolling course that included two loops with a steep hill near the end.

“It was a lot faster,” Barber said after finishing in 15 minutes, 8.0 seconds to lead a Mt. Blue contingent that also placed third (Isaiah Reid), fifth (Nolan Rogers) and 15th (Samuel Smith). “But still hot, though.”

Indeed, morning temperatures climbed above 50 degrees for a second day as zinc oxide and sunglasses replaced hand warmers and balaclavas. Mt. Blue’s two-day total score of 41 points easily outdistanced that of runner-up Falmouth at 109. Oxford Hills was third at 127, followed by Leavitt (142), Deering (143), Portland (206), Fryeburg Academy (216) and Greely (337).

Barber sported a dab of yellow glitter under his left eye and blue glitter under his right. He said he regretted not wearing the stuff Thursday.

“The girls are all into it,” he said. “It’s hard to turn down that much enthusiasm. I figured it’s the last state race of my career, might as well make it glittery.”

Caleb Niles of Deering was second with a time of 15:13.4.

“The snow was pretty good at first,” said Niles, whose team required a ghost skier to fill out its score, “but as it got worn down from everybody skiing on it and the sun hit it, it got a little bit sloppier.”

The girls’ race started an hour after the boys, at 11 a.m. Ramsey completed two circuits in 18:57.6 to win Class A and Morse High sophomore Jenny Wilbraham was second in 19:05.0. Meghan Charles was third, Gretchen Huish seventh and Grace Andrews 11th to give Mt. Blue a freestyle score of 22 and a two-day total of 35 points. Runner-up Deering finished with 88 and Fryeburg Academy was third at 101, followed by Leavitt (184), Falmouth (234), Camden Hills (249), Oxford Hills (252), Greely (292) and Edward Little (313).

“Going up all these hills twice (Thursday) and having to do it another time (Friday), you start to feel the burn,” Ramsey said.

On Thursday, the fastest individual times belonged to Barber and Ramsey. On Friday, a pair of Class C skiers earned that distinction.

Waynflete senior Willson Moore skated through two loops in 14:39.4, with Maine Coast Waldorf teammates Tucker Pierce (14:45.4) and Nick Neveu (15:04.4) taking second and third, all three in times quicker than that of Barber.

“That was definitely my goal coming in (Friday),” said Moore, who was third overall in classical, first in Class C. “In the past, I’ve been stronger in classic, but over the end of this season, I’ve started putting in better performances in skate.”

Completing Maine Coast’s scoring were Dylan Wu (13th) and Eli Gundersen (14th) for a freestyle total of 32 and a two-day score of 51 that resulted in the small New Gloucester school’s fifth consecutive state title. Fort Kent was second at 96, followed by Telstar (125), Orono (154) and six other teams.

Maine Coast junior Olivia Skillings turned in the fastest time for any girl on Friday, 18:26.9, nearly a minute ahead of Class C runner-up Isabelle Jandreau (19:23.3) of Madawaska. Louise Ahearne (third), Fiona Libby (eighth) and Wilson Haims (12th) completed the scoring for Maine Coast, which extended its Class C Nordic winning streak to seven years.

“We’re a really close-knit team, which makes such a huge difference,” Skillings said. “And our coach (John Tarling) keeps it really fun and relaxed, so everyone actually enjoys what they’re doing instead of being like, ‘Oh shoot, I have to go race again.’ “

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or:

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH

]]> 0 Andrews and Julia Ramsey, teammates from Mt. Blue High, embrace after Ramsey won the Class A Nordic ski freestyle state championship at the Quarry Road trails in Waterville Friday. (Staff photo by Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer)Fri, 24 Feb 2017 18:49:40 +0000
Nordic skiing: Maranacook sweeps Class B team titles Fri, 24 Feb 2017 17:39:02 +0000 CARRABASSETT VALLEY — The conditions were soft as temperatures soared into the 50s by the start of the Nordic ski races Friday morning at at the Sugarloaf Outdoor Center.

But Maranacook High skied tough, sweeping the girls’ and boys’ titles at the Class B Nordic state championships for the first time since 2009.

The Maranacook girls ended Yarmouth’s six-year reign, scoring 43 points to the Clippers’ 55 in the two-day event. The two teams tied during Friday’s 5-kilometer freestyle race, but Maranacook held the overall edge after winning Thursday’s classic race. Freeport was third with 111 total points.

In the boys competition, Maranacook had 45 to Freeport’s 60. Yarmouth was third with 128 points.

Yarmouth’s Grace Cowles won the girls’ freestyle race in a 17 minutes, 11.3 seconds. Yarmouth’s John Lane won the boys’ race in 14:07.

“We had individuals who won both races, and in the girls’ championship we tied (Maranacook) in the (freestyle). You can’t do much better than that,” said Yarmouth Coach Bob Morse. “And we had four girls in the top 10. That’s amazing.”

For the Maranacook girls, it was a hard-fought victory that required individuals to dig deep – and the team to dig deep into the lineup. They got a lift from freshman Maura Taylor, who placed third among the Black Bears skiers and seventh overall (18:07.4).

Junior Laura Parent led Maranacook with a second-place finish in the freestyle (17:15.1) and a first place finish in the classical on Thursday.

Abigail Despres, the second skier in for the Black Bears, placed fourth in the freestyle (17:56.6) and Madison Taylor finished 12th (18:48.4) for a team total of 25 points Friday.

“This is the first time I’ve ever raced in a T-shirt, but we are pretty good skiing in adverse conditions,” Parent said of the soft snow. “I thought it was tough. I know I’m strong in classical, but I knew I had to ski really well today. We’ve been working super hard for this title for years.”

After Parent the squad has shared scoring duties swapping places through the season, said

Maranacook Coach Steve DeAngelis sweeping the girls’ and boys’ state titles was special.

“We knew we’d be good,” said DeAngelis, now in his 34th year coaching Maranacook. “But last year the girls put four in the top 10 and we still didn’t win.”

In the boys race, Maranacook again got a lift from a freshman. Carter McPhedran, Maranacook’s fourth skier, placing eighth in the freestyle (15:26.5).

“That’s hard for a freshman to do. And he’s (a skinny) guy,” DeAngelis said. “We ended this season with a lot of kids improving.”

The boys team was led by Zach Holman, who took second in the freestyle (14:16.7) after winning the classical race on Thursday.

Mark McLaughlin was Maranacook’s third scorer in the freestyle, taking seventh overall (15:24.4).

“A day like this is hard if you don’t have people to support you,” DeAngelis said. “You have to want to do it for the team. These teams have supported each other all season.”

]]> 0 Fri, 24 Feb 2017 18:45:59 +0000
Nordic skiing: Mt. Blue, Maine Coast Waldorf take early leads Thu, 23 Feb 2017 21:30:55 +0000 WATERVILLE — After the boys of Maine Coast Waldorf had completed their classical race on Day 1 of the Class C Nordic state championships Thursday at sunny Quarry Road Trails, they offered a bit of advice to the female members of the team.

“They told me to use less kick (wax) so I could have a stronger glide,” said junior Olivia Skillings. “What happened to them is that they had too much kick and couldn’t pick up speed on the downhills.”

It wasn’t as if the Maine Coast boys had gone off the tracks in their race. They placed four skiers among the top eight to take a commanding lead in the two-day event that concludes with Friday’s freestyle race. Still, the Maine Coast girls took heed and did even better.

Led by Skillings, they swept the top four places Thursday and are poised to win their seventh straight Class C Nordic title Friday.

“We’ve been blessed,” Maine Coast Coach John Tarling said. “We’ve had good, dedicated parents and skiers who are committed. They want to improve and they work at it. It doesn’t happen in a vacuum, that’s for sure. It takes a lot of energy.”

With temperatures cresting 50 degrees and abundant sunshine, conditions were prime for snow angels but less than ideal for fast times. And finding the right wax combination? Good luck.

“It was a tricky day,” Tarling said. “The conditions are so varied. You really have to have a good combination of skis that have glide but have enough kick to get up the hills, because there’s a lot of striding on this course.”

About 250 skiers from Class C and Class A slogged around the two-lap course – a total of 5 kilometers – going off at 15-second intervals through rolling hills for two kilometers before climbing what the locals call “Hero’s Hill,” and then coming down into the stadium area before taking a second lap.

“In your mind, you know you have that massive hill right at the finish,” Mt. Blue senior Tucker Barber said. “So you obviously have to go hard when you can, but you’ve got to know that at the end, you’ve got that guy waiting for you.”

Barber turned in the day’s fastest time, regardless of class, at 17 minutes, 56.2 seconds. As the Sassi Memorial champion, he was particularly interested in seeing how he stacked up against two of the best skiers from Class C, seniors Willson Moore of Waynflete and Tucker Pierce of Maine Coast. Moore and Pierce skipped the Sassi – an all-comers race in Rumford in late January – in favor of an Eastern Cup event in Vermont.

Moore won the Class C race Thursday with a time of 18:41.2. Deering senior Caleb Niles, the runner-up in Class A, finished in 18:28.5.

“I like it when we get to race together,” Barber said. “It helped me that the (Class) C people were here. I pictured them in front of me, even though it was intervals.”

Barber led a 1-3-6-7 finish for the Cougars, the defending Class A champion. Mt. Blue’s total of 17 points was considerably ahead of second-place Falmouth at 60. Oxford Hills was third with 63, followed by Deering (71), Leavitt (72), Portland (95), Fryeburg (111) and Greely (172).

Pierce, who has been under the weather this week, dropped to third behind teammate Nick Neveu, with Dylan Wu taking sixth and Eli Gundersen eighth to give Maine Coast 19 points in the Class C boys’ standings. Fort Kent is in second at 55, followed by Telstar (63), Orono (83), Waynflete (105), Boothbay (106) and four other schools.

Behind Skillings in the Class C girls’ race were teammates Louise Ahearne, Fiona Libby and Wilson Haims, giving Maine Coast a score of 10. Orono is second with 40, followed by Madawaska (86), Waynflete (90), Monmouth (115) and seven others.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been in a race this warm,” said Libby, a senior. “Two years ago, we were in Presque Isle and it was negative 30. This is 80 degrees warmer.”

Ahearne was only six seconds behind the 23:14.0 turned in by Skillings. Three girls from Class A managed to go faster, with Mt. Blue senior Julia Ramsey edging Deering senior Ewa Varney by less than two seconds in 22:53.3.

Varney started seven minutes later than Ramsey, and so was able to hear splits along the course to judge her speed in relation to Ramsey’s.

Near the finish, however, Varney accidentally poled against her boot instead of the snow and wobbled slightly before catching her balance.

Meghan Charles of Mt. Blue was third in 23:11.3. The Cougars also placed fourth and fifth to rack up 13 points to second-place Deering’s 40. Fryeburg is third at 54, followed by Leavitt (88), Falmouth (120), Oxford Hills (122), Camden Hills (136), Greely (151) and Edward Little (159).

The Class B Nordic meet got under way Thursday at Sugarloaf Outdoor Center, where Maranacook leads Freeport’s boys by 14 points and Yarmouth’s girls by 12. Zach Holman of Maranacook and Yacob Olins of Freeport were the two fastest boys, and Laura Parent of Maranacook and Grace Cowles of Yarmouth were the two fastest girls.

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or:

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH

]]> 0 - ME - FEBRUARY 23, 2017 Mt. Blue High School's Julia Ramsey, rubs snow on her face to cool down after finishing the girls 5k classic during the Class A and C high school nordic championships at Quarry Road Recreation Area in Waterville on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017. (Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans/Staff Photographer)Fri, 24 Feb 2017 13:56:33 +0000
Alpine skiing: Falmouth boys, Camden Hills girls win Class A state titles Wed, 22 Feb 2017 21:29:42 +0000 GREENWOOD — Between the first and second slalom runs of the Class A Alpine state championships Wednesday, sophomore Gibson Scott told Falmouth Coach Tip Kimball he planned on winning the race.

At the time Scott stood in third place, a quarter of a second behind co-leaders Axel Lindsay of Greely and Devon Lathrop of Cape Elizabeth.

Was Kimball encouraging?

“No way,” he told Scott. “Take that right out of your head right now.”

Scott already knew all about Falmouth’s infamous 2012 collapse at the state meet because his older brother was on the team that snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Scott called it the team that choked. Kimball refers to it as “the meltdown team.”

“I’ve heard stories all about it,” Scott said. “One, two, three, four, they all went down.”

So on Wednesday afternoon at Mt. Abram, Scott eased back on the throttle and maintained his standing in third place. Freshman Angus Christie finished sixth and junior Owen White was eighth to help Falmouth clinch its first Alpine title since 2013. Freshman Nick Shapiro (20th) rounded out the scoring for Falmouth, which had a two-day total of 80 points.

Cape Elizabeth moved up from third to take runner-up honors at 144, followed by Greely (161), Oxford Hills (179) and 12 other teams.

“We all decided we were going to ski conservatively today because we knew other teams were going to be going all out to make it,” White said. “We decided to let them take the risks and we just would stay upright.”

The strategy proved wise on a balmy afternoon that saw 18 boys and 22 girls either fail to finish or miss a gate and be disqualified. With temperatures approaching 50 degrees, no wind and sunshine interspersed with clouds, conditions on the Boris Badenov trail resembled those of early spring rather than mid-February.

“That wasn’t an easy course,” said Lindsay, a Greely senior who the event with a two-run time of 1 minute, 19.79 seconds, to Lathrop’s 1:20.16. “We had a lot of weird turns. That hairpin, you had to come at it a little bit differently. The flush was almost set parallel. The fall line’s coming straight down and then all of a sudden, there’s a big jamming turn and it goes off this way. It’s pretty tough to do that.”

Christie said a thorough inspection of the course with Kimball prior to the second run made a difference.

“We took a long time at some of the key gates and I think that really helped us,” Christie said. “Tip kind of told us what to do and we all nailed them.”

Cheverus sophomore Annesley Black remained unbeaten this winter by winning the girls’ slalom. Her combined time of 1:24.40 was nearly three seconds better than that of runner-up Jeannette Cunningham, a Greely senior.

After forging a lead of nearly two seconds in the morning run, Black downshifted in the afternoon.

“I still wanted to go fast, but I didn’t go as hard on the second run,” she said. “It was a little bit softer and the snow was kind of spraying in the goggles, making it hard to see.”

Camden Hills won its first Class A Alpine title despite placing only one skier, junior Audrey Heriz-Smith, among the top 20. Heriz-Smith was fifth.

Seniors Ella Simon (25th), Renaissance Lyman (28th) and Zoe Zwecker (32nd) completed the Windjammers’ scoring for a two-day total of 164 points.

“The strength of our team is consistency,” said first-year Camden Hills coach Robin Payson. “We have girls who are able to put two solid runs together. We might not be taking up a lot of the individual podium spots, but because we have the depth, our fifth and sixth seed girls at states finish much higher up in the results than their start position.”

Greely, which started the day in fourth, leapfrogged Cape Elizabeth and Falmouth to earn runner-up honors with 182 points. Hampden Academy and Edward Little tied for third at 244.

Cape Elizabeth, which opened the day within nine points of the lead, tumbled to sixth and needed to use a ghost skier for a score of 285 after three girls missed gates or skied off course. Falmouth fell from third to fifth with 264.

There were no such implosions for the Falmouth boys. The ghosts of 2012 proved an effective warning.

“I think I put the fear of God into them about the meltdown team,” Kimball said. “We were not going to let that happen again, or try. I could tell they got it.”

CLASS B: Spruce Mountain came from fourth place after the giant slalom, winning the slalom at Black Mountain to edge Yarmouth for the girls’ championship, 90-91, with Maranacook finishing third at 106.

Fort Kent’s boys successfully defended their Alpine title, 87-94 over Mountain Valley. Maranacook, in first after Tuesday’s giant slalom, was third at 112 and Yarmouth was fourth at 162.

Nathan Delmar of Maranacook and Allison Acritelli of Spruce Mountain were individual slalom champions.

The Nordic championships are scheduled for Thursday and Friday, with Class B at Sugarloaf Outdoor Center, and Classes A and C at Quarry Road Trails in Waterville.

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or:

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH

]]> 0, 22 Feb 2017 22:37:56 +0000
Tuesday’s high school roundup: Camden Hills, Falmouth in position for Alpine titles Wed, 22 Feb 2017 00:00:43 +0000 GREENWOOD — Devon Lathrop of Cape Elizabeth and Annesley Black of Cheverus won Class A giant slalom titles, and the Falmouth boys and Camden Hills girls grabbed leads in the team competition during the first day of the Alpine state championships Tuesday at Mt. Abram Ski Resort.

Lathrop posted the fastest second run in the boys’ race to make up a four-tenths of a second deficit over Falmouth’s Gibson Scott, finishing with a combined time of 1 minute, 33.26 seconds. Scott placed second (1:34.12), followed by Greely’s Axel Lindsay (1:34.23) and Falmouth’s Angus Christie (1:34.42).

Owen White (13th) and Peter Alexander (23rd) were the other scorers for Falmouth, which takes a 43-66 lead over Oxford Hills into Wednesday’s slalom.

Black also was behind after the first run but had the fastest second run for a total of 1:46.02, just ahead of Fryeburg Academy’s Brooke Juneau (1:46.43). Caroline Burns (1:48.39) of Oxford Hills, Caroline Paclat (1:50.37) of Cape Elizabeth and Audrey Heriz-Smith (1:51.51) of Camden Hills rounded out the top five.

Seven teams were within 45 points in the girls’ standings: Camden Hills (74), Cape Elizabeth (83), Falmouth (96), Greely (104), Hampden Academy (117), Mt. Blue (118) and Edward Little (119).

CLASS B: Yarmouth placed four girls among the top 12 in giant slalom to take the lead in the Class B Alpine championships at Black Mountain in Rumford.

Shellby Cowin of Greenville won the event by more than four seconds with a two-run time of 1:34.39, but Margaret Elder (1:38.45) took second place for Yarmouth and was supported by Emi Ruth (eighth), Cate Ralph (11th) and Emma Marston (12th). That gave the Clippers 33 points, ahead of Maranacook (52), Fort Kent (54) and Spruce Mountain (56).

Nick Newman of Mountain Valley won the boys’ giant slalom by more than five seconds (1:34.42) over Maranacook’s Nathan Delmar (1:39.57). John Watt of Greenville finished third (1:41.74).

Maranacook holds a narrow lead with 50 points, followed by Fort Kent (52), Mountain Valley (59), Greenville (61) and Yarmouth (81).


CAPE ELIZABETH 3, YARMOUTH 2: Peyton Weatherbie broke a 1-1 tie 7:32 into the second period and the Capers (12-5) held on for a victory over the Clippers (7-10-1) in Yarmouth.

Jeb Boeschenstein and Hans Croft also scored for the Capers, and Peter Haber made 28 saves

Yarmouth got goals from Cooper May and Bill Jacobs.

SOUTH PORTLAND/FREEPORT/WAYNFLETE 6, WINDHAM/WESTBROOK 1: Mitchell Adams scored two goals and set up another as the Red Riots (7-9-1) beat the Eagles (5-12) at Troubh Ice Arena.

Gus Lappin, Dylan Houle, Ian Young and Deven Hannan also scored for the Red Riots.

Dylan Francoeur tallied an unassisted goal for the Eagles.

BRUNSWICK 6, MARANACOOK/WINTHROP 1: Jacob Doring scored four goals, including two in a span of 18 seconds in the second period, and the Dragons (3-12-1) handled the Black Bears (0-18) at Kents Hill.

Michael Deveaux added two goals and two assists, and Michael Eno had three assists.

LEWISTON 7, WATERVILLE 3: Alex Robert recorded a hat trick as Lewiston (17-1), the top-ranked team in Class A North, beat the visiting Panthers (16-1), who are ranked No. 1 in Class B North.

]]> 0 Wed, 22 Feb 2017 12:14:29 +0000
Ski notebook: Recovery comes full circle for Mt. Blue’s Ramsey with win at Sassi Memorial Sun, 29 Jan 2017 22:07:27 +0000 One of the feel-good stories of the Mt. Blue girls Nordic team this season has to be the strong return of Julia Ramsey.

Ramsey was forced to miss the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championships and the Class A championships last season because of mononucleosis, a viral infection that causes fever, sore throat, and in some cases, a swollen liver or spleen.

It also causes constant fatigue. Even when the four- to eight-week rest period is over, it takes time for the immune system to build back up.

For Ramsey, that left some questions on how well she would perform entering this season.

“Last year was a really rough year. I’ve been just doubting myself a lot about whether I’m still sick, how I’m feeling, and just being really anxious about that.”

Those questions were likely erased back on Jan. 14 at the Hornet Classic at Leavitt Area High School in Turner. Ramsey had a second-place finish during the event, finishing with a time of 16:09.

“(The Hornet Classic) was nice because I think I proved to myself that I’m actually healthy and ready to race the full season,” Ramsey said.

“She’s having a really strong season,” Mt. Blue assistant coach Jeremy Reed said. “She was sick last year, which was really frustrating for her, and she wasn’t able to ski as fast as she would have liked. So she’s kind of testing the waters this year and finding them to be very good. It’s been really fun to watch her get her confidence back and start taking names.”

Whatever questions remained were blown away on Saturday, when Ramsey took first place with a time of 16:59 at the Sassi Memorial 5K Nordic Classical ski races at Black Mountain in Rumford. The win helped the Cougars top Maranacook for the best team score, 25-47. Teammate Meg Charles aided in the effort, finishing third with a time of 17:47.

“That’s part of the reason I was so kind of anxious at the beginning of the season… I really wanted to end strong for my senior year and have a really good year,” Ramsey said. “Just missing part of a year and not knowing where I’m at or if I’m ever going to be able to reach the level I was two years ago and keep building off of that, that’s kind of how I was feeling before this. But after this, I’m definitely feeling a lot better and a lot more confident in myself.”

The results are showing for Ramsey, in more ways than one.

• • •

The Mt. Blue boys Nordic team had a day as well at the Sassi Memorial.

Thanks to the effort of Tucker Barber, who finished first individually with a time of 13:38, the Cougars had a first-place team finish, barely edging Maranacook by a score of 39-40.

Mt. Blue certainly doesn’t seem to lack depth, either, as five of the top 20 spots in the race were owned by Cougars. Aside from Barber — who won the race by almost a full minute — Nolan Rogers finished ninth (15:30), Isaiah Reid finished 12th (15:46), Sam Stinson finished 17th (15:59) and Sam Smith finished 20th (16:13).

“I know with the boys it’s been really awesome to see them doing intervals and time trials and what not because there’s Tucker (Barber) and then there’s about five or six boys that are all right together and so close in speed,” Mt. Blue’s Julia Ramsey said. “So that really shows the depth of at least our boys team, and that’s really promising. I think going into KVACs and states that we’re going to have another great year on the boys side of things. And it’s really awesome because they’re all kind of competitive within themselves and they want to keep getting better and better, so they’re all building each other up and rising to the top.”

The effort was only a slight letdown from the Cougars’ performance at the Hornet Classic back on Jan. 14, when six Mt. Blue skiers finished within the top 20 spots: Reid in fifth place (14:06), Rogers in eighth place (14:19), Stinson in ninth place (14:25), Smith in 11th place (14:37), Mick Gurney in 18th place (15:00) and Dom Giampietro in 19th place (15:07). Mt. Blue also finished first in that race from a team score perspective, edging Freeport 33-34.

• • •

Both the Maranacook boys and girls Nordic teams had excellent showings at the Sassi Memorial, as both teams finished second behind Mt. Blue.

Laura Parent gave Ramsey a run for her money in the girls race, finishing second with a time of 17:29. Abby Despres followed not far behind, finishing sixth (18:07).

Zach Holman finished as the top Black Bear skier on the boys side, placing fourth with a time of 14:58. Teammate Mark McLaughlin finished seventh (15:16).

The performance was a slight fallback for the girls, who finished first at the Hornet Classic on Jan. 14 as well as their home race – Maranacook Wave – on Jan. 21.

The boys have been consistently following right behind Mt. Blue throughout the regular season, finishing third behind the Cougars and Freeport at the Hornet Classic, as well as finishing second to Mt. Blue at Maranacook Wave.

Staff Writer Drew Bonifant contributed to this report.

Dave Dyer can be reached at: 621-5639

Twitter: @Dave_Dyer

]]> 0 Blue's Julia Ramsey competes in the Maranacook Wave race on Jan. 21 in Readfield. Ramsey followed up her strong showing there with another one at the annual Sassi Memorial race this past Saturday.Sun, 29 Jan 2017 17:41:45 +0000
High school skiing: Barber, Ramsey lead Mt. Blue sweep at Sassi Memorial Sat, 28 Jan 2017 20:08:28 +0000 RUMFORD — Julia Ramsey knows about disappointment, so she didn’t get her hopes too high for the Sassi Memorial Classical ski race.

A year ago, as a Mt. Blue High junior, she finished 47th, slowed by a yet-to-be-detected case of mononucleosis.

Fully recovered, Ramsey capped her Sassi career with a flourish Saturday, winning the state’s biggest high school cross-country skiing race by half a minute in 16:59 over five winding kilometers at Black Mountain.

“I was hoping to be on the podium,” Ramsey said, “and always had that little goal in the back of my head to win.”

Ramsey’s victory completed a Mt. Blue sweep of top honors. Two hours earlier, classmate Tucker Barber won the boys’ race by 49 seconds in 13:38.

The two races featured a total of nearly 300 skiers from 22 schools, on an overcast day with temperatures just below freezing, blustery winds and sun that occasionally peeked out from behind cloud cover.

The tracks were less than pristine, given recent freeze-and-thaw cycles and the hundred-plus middle school racers in Saturday morning’s Junior Sassi before the main event.

Still, conditions were “pretty good considering all the weird, wacky weather we’ve had for January,” Ramsey said. “The little bit of fresh snow made it a little awkward for waxing at first, but by the time it got to the girls’ race, I think the snow, with this little bit of sun, started to transform and got skied in, so it was actually quite fast.”

Ramsey was 49th on the course, each girl starting at a 15-second interval. The two skiers immediately in front of her were Ewka Varney of Deering and Grace Cowles of Yarmouth, both threats to win.

“It couldn’t be a better place to start,” Ramsey said. “Just watching them I said, ‘OK, what can I do to ski the same pace or faster, but more efficiently?’ I was thinking about that and how to save energy so I could really work it on the uphills.”

Cowles turned in the second-best time, 17:14, but was disqualified for gliding on her herringbone technique, a fate that befell six other skiers.

“It’s disappointing, but I’m still happy with how I did,” Cowles said after learning of her DQ. “We’ve only classic skied twice. Hopefully, our next classic race we’ll all be prepared.”

Maranacook junior Laura Parent wound up second in 17:29, followed by Mt. Blue’s Meg Charles (17:47) and Varney (17:49). Louise Ahearne of Maine Coast Waldorf was fifth in 17:56.

“Last year was a weird year for me because I just kept getting slower and slower,” Ramsey said. “I wasn’t really sure why. Then I went to the doctor and got blood work done and realized I had mono at some point, and just never caught it.”

The boys’ runner-up was Yacob Olins, a Freeport senior who started 15 seconds behind Barber and tailed him for three kilometers before the Mt. Blue senior (and Class A cross country state champion) pulled away.

“He had kick on the hills,” said Olins, whose time of 14:27 edged that of third-place John Lane of Yarmouth by three seconds. “It seemed like I didn’t, really.”

Zach Holman of Maranacook, Caleb Niles of Deering and Bennett Hight of Freeport rounded out the top six.

“There was some loose snow on the course and that was kind of weird for the wax,” Barber said. “Going up the big hills there was some chop, but if you just powered through them, it was a good time.”

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or:

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH

]]> 0 Sat, 28 Jan 2017 19:47:51 +0000
Skiing preview: Fab four lead the defense of Freeport’s title Fri, 09 Dec 2016 09:00:00 +0000 FREEPORT — Certainly, amid the season’s first true snowfall, you would expect any Nordic skier worth his wax to be somewhat giddy. Four Freeport High seniors certainly conveyed that excitement earlier this week.

Even so, the more Bennett Hight, Yacob Olins, Kyle Dorsey and John Smail spoke of man buns and homemade jumps and bushwhacking their way through Black Mountain after high winds canceled a race (and every other school had the good sense to go home), the more you understood the true secret of their skiing success.

They’re having a blast.

“That is definitely true,” said Hight, who, along with Olins and Dorsey each registered a pair of top-six finishes at the state meet last winter to help Freeport win the Class B Nordic title. “We all love to ski, and skiing is more fun with others. We get out even on days when we don’t have to train and just bomb around in the woods on skis.”

As Hight, Olins, Dorsey and Smail (hereafter referred to as HODS) advanced from freshmen to sophomores to juniors, Freeport rose from third to second to first in Class B. This winter, the Falcons are overwhelming favorites to remain on top, both in the state and in the highly competitive Western Maine Conference.

“We’ve all known each other and competed and skied together for so long,” Dorsey said, “that there’s a constant drive to keep getting better, mostly, I think, because it’s something we all love to do.”

The other constant about HODS is that no one is ever quite sure, in any given race, how the letters will be arranged. Except for Smail, that is. He knows he’s unlikely to break into Freeport’s top three, but Smail is a converted Alpine skier convinced by Olins upon entering high school to join Nordic.

“They’ve been doing it a lot longer than me,” said Smail, who nonetheless placed 10th in classic in both conference and state meets last winter. “Freshman year, I came into it thinking, ‘Oh, it’ll be fun.’ But they made me step up to the next level, even if I didn’t want to.”

Bennett Hight was Freeport's top finisher last year in freestyle at the Western Maine Conference and state championships. The Falcons are favored to repeat as Nordic champions.

Bennett Hight was Freeport’s top finisher last year in freestyle at the Western Maine Conference and state championships. The Falcons are favored to repeat as Nordic champions. DW Action photo DW Action photo

Hight was Freeport’s top finisher in both WMC and Class B freestyle races, both times claiming third. In classic, Olins took top Falcon honors (third) at states and Dorsey did so (fourth) at the conference meet.

“We all swapped places pretty evenly last year, I feel like,” Hight said.

“No one of us was predominantly better than the other,” Dorsey added.

“Bennett’s definitely the best skate skier,” Olins said, “but on some days, he has a bad race.”

Joel Hinshaw, entering his 15th year as Freeport’s Nordic coach, said the lack of a pecking order leads to an environment that benefits everyone.

“They do drive each other to get out and train,” he said. “They challenge each other.”

Hinshaw describes Hight as a quiet talent who occasionally needs a push, Olins as outspoken and a technical skier who always wants answers, and Dorsey as the comedian of the group who sometimes flies under the radar. Smail anchors the quartet. A fifth senior, Perrin Davidson, serves as something of a paternal figure.

“He’s like the dad of the team,” Hinshaw said of Davidson. “He’s the one who keeps everyone in line in terms of not getting too crazy. The comedian and the other people tend to lose focus at times.”

Some of those times, the four fleet Falcons are simply lost in play, such as when they build jumps at Pineland Farms or turn a training day into a ski cross competition (as they did two years ago at the state meet in Presque Isle) or, when the Sassi Memorial was canceled in 2015, hike up the snowmobile trail at Black Mountain and play around on the ungroomed drifts.

“With the whole team, too, all skill levels,” Smail said. “We were all mashing around through the woods for like, five hours.”

They tend to flock together off the trails as well, taking part in Model United Nations and Ultimate frisbee and cross country. They roller ski together and did some bouldering this fall on the Pine Street ledges in town.

“It’s a way to get endurance strength training,” Hight said, “and still be super fun.”

Super and fun. Fun and super. No matter the order, those two words provide an apt description of Freeport’s fabulous foursome.

]]> 0's interchangeable foursome of Nordic skiers – John Smail, Bennett Hight, Yacob Olins and Kyle Dorsey – hope to have plenty of fun defending a state title in their senior season.Thu, 08 Dec 2016 18:14:33 +0000
Skiing: Teams to watch Fri, 09 Dec 2016 09:00:00 +0000 GIRLS

1. Yarmouth: The quest for a seventh straight Class B Nordic state title is made more challenging by the loss (to Switzerland for a year) of junior Sophia Laukli, but seniors Grace Cowles, Gretchen Barbera and Abby Condon and junior Hannah Corey lead a deep squad that welcomes an influx of young talent. On the Alpine side, new coach Gavin Glider takes over a team of 12 – led by veterans Greta Elder and Hannah Van Alstine – that won giant slalom but failed to score in slalom at the state meet.

2. Falmouth: After two years as overall Class A champion, Falmouth won the Alpine title last winter and was runner-up to Mt. Blue in Nordic. Senior Audrey Morin, junior Caroline Keller and sophomore Olivia DeWolf return to Alpine and are joined by two new juniors and two freshmen. For Nordic, seniors Gabby Farrell (defending freestyle champ) and her cousin, Juliana Baranowski, return along with junior Meghan Cantlin, but with only two other skiers, both freshmen, depth will be a challenge.

3. Maine Coast Waldorf: Seniors Fiona Libby and Ava Haag, juniors Olivia Skillings and Louise Ahearne and sophomore Wilson Haims are joined by a sizable group of freshmen, including Caitlin Keliher. The small school based at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester is seeking a seventh consecutive Class C Nordic title.

4. Cape Elizabeth: After winning consecutive Class B Alpine titles, the Capers moved up to Class A and finished a distant second behind Falmouth. Seniors Caroline Paclat and Kinnon McGrath and sophomores Tori McGrath and Morgan Stewart return, and freshmen Piper Strunk and Allie Lynch show promise. The Nordic squad is all freshmen.

5. Deering: The Rams have no Alpine squad, but they return the bulk of a Nordic contingent that placed third out of 10 schools in Class A, only six points behind runner-up Falmouth. Leinani Farnsworth (trained with Outdoor Sports Institute), Ewa Varney, Violet Sulka-Hewes and Grace Callahan lead a strong senior class supplemented by junior Morgan Aponte-Clark and sophomore Grace Tumavicus.


1. Freeport: The defending Class B Nordic champions appear poised to repeat, thanks to a formidable senior class led by Bennett Hight, Yacob Olins and Kyle Dorsey. John Smail completes a quartet that finished among the top 10 in classical. Classmate Perrin Davidson is an able fifth. On the Nordic side, the Falcons placed eighth in Class A and boast a young but deep squad, led by juniors Griffin Agnese, Eero Pandora and Kaia Williams.

2. Maine Coast Waldorf: Senior Tucker Pierce is the defending classical and freestyle champion for a squad aiming for its fifth straight Class C Nordic title. Not only has every scorer returned, but junior Nick Neveau returns after a year in California to join classmate Eli Gundersen and seniors Dylan Wu, Davis Ritger and Thomas Kolle and freshman Adam Staples for what might be the only team with a shot at knocking off Freeport in the Western Maine Conference championships.

3. Cape Elizabeth: Sophomore Devon Lathrop, the defending giant slalom champ, helped the Capers place third in Class A Alpine. His brother, Killian, a freshman, joins a team that returns its top four. Seniors Jon Fiutak and Cole Spencer and sophomore Duncan Geikie provide plenty of depth. For Nordic, seniors Calvin Barber, Jack O’Brien and Will Corsello lead a team looking to move up from sixth in Class A.

4. Falmouth: After winning four consecutive Class A Nordic titles, the Yachtsmen dropped to third last winter, one point behind runner-up Leavitt. Juniors Simon Pratico and Graham Bernier lead the charge this time, with sophomores Ethan Livingood and Jake Mitchell rounding out the top four. The Alpine squad should improve from fifth place, led by junior Owen White and sophomore Gibson Scott. Watch out for freshmen Angus Christie, coming off middle school state titles in slalom and giant slalom, and Nicky Shapiro.

5. Yarmouth: Senior John Lane, runner-up in both classical and freestyle, leads a dozen members of the Nordic contingent looking to improve from fourth place in Class B. Senior Joe Inger, juniors Mac Coury and Sean Moore and sophomores Justin Pietropaoli and Grady Welsh provide depth. Senior George Jutras and sophomore Ben Pearl lead an Alpine squad of nine that placed fifth in Class B.


]]> 0 Sat, 10 Dec 2016 18:24:41 +0000
Skiing: 10 girls and 10 boys to watch Fri, 09 Dec 2016 09:00:00 +0000 GIRLS

Emily Carty, Fryeburg Academy junior: Carty placed seventh in Class A freestyle and 12th in classical.

Grace Cowles, Yarmouth senior: Cowles placed fifth in both classical and freestyle to help the Clippers win their eighth straight Class B Nordic title.

Nettie Cunningham, Greely junior: The Class A giant slalom champion as a freshman, she was the top Maine GS finisher at the Eastern championships. She also was the WMC slalom runner-up.

Greta Elder, Yarmouth junior: Elder was the Class B giant slalom champion as a freshman and was the runner-up last winter.

Leinani Farnsworth, Portland senior: The runner-up in Class A classical, she also placed fifth in freestyle.

Gabby Farrell, Falmouth senior: Farrell is the defending Class A freestyle champion and placed third in classical.

Audrey Heriz-Smith, Camden Hills junior: She placed seventh in Class A slalom and eighth in giant slalom.

Caroline Paclat, Cape Elizabeth senior: Paclat placed 12th in Class A giant slalom and 15th in slalom.

Polly Rae, Bonny Eagle junior: Rae is the defending SMAA slalom champion who was 11th in Class A slalom and 26th in giant slalom.

Olivia Skillings, Maine Coast Waldorf junior: The Class C runner-up in both classical and freestyle, she helped her team win the Nordic state title.

Hannah Van Alstine, Yarmouth senior: Van Alstine placed fourth in Class B giant slalom and was in third after one run of slalom before a disqualification in the second run.

Jennifer Wilbraham, Morse sophomore: The Class A freestyle runner-up, she also finished sixth in classical.


Schuyler Black, Cheverus senior: The defending SMAA champion in both slalom and giant slalom, he placed fourth in Class A GS and seventh in slalom.

Kyle Dorsey, Freeport senior: Dorsey finished fifth in classical and sixth in freestyle to help the Falcons win the Class B Nordic title.

Jon Fiutak, Cape Elizabeth senior: He placed seventh in Class A giant slalom and 10th in slalom, and was fourth in WMC slalom.

Bennett Hight, Freeport senior: Hight helped the Falcons win the Class B Nordic title by placing third in freestyle and fourth in classical.

John Lane, Yarmouth senior: The Class B runner-up in both classical and freestyle, he won the freestyle title as a sophomore.

Devon Lathrop, Cape Elizabeth sophomore: Lathrop is the defending Class A giant slalom champ and placed fifth in slalom.

Axel Lindsay, Greely senior: Lindsay was the Class A runner-up in both slalom and giant slalom.

Willson Moore, Waynflete senior: The Class C runner-up in both classical and freestyle, Moore is also the defending WMC classical champion.

Caleb Niles, Deering senior: Niles placed fifth in Class A freestyle and classical.

Yacob Olins, Freeport senior: Olins finished third in classical and fourth in freestyle.

Tucker Pierce, Maine Coast Waldorf senior: The defending Class C champion in both classical and freestyle, he also won the WMC freestyle title.

Ryland Van Decker, Oxford Hills senior: Van Decker placed third in Class A in both slalom and giant slalom. He was the slalom champ at the KVAC championships and took fourth in GS.


]]> 0 Thu, 08 Dec 2016 12:54:18 +0000
Boys’ skiing: Luca DeAngelis, Maranacook Sun, 27 Mar 2016 02:00:00 +0000 Luca DeAngelis grew up in a skiing family. He followed the tracks of sister, Hannah, and brother, Tyler, and spent big chunks of his childhood watching his father, Steve, who has coached Maranacook’s Nordic program for 31 years.

When DeAngelis was younger, he remembers not liking skiing all that much because of the cold and having to watch others ski. Once he had a chance to pull on a bib, however, his perspective changed.

“I definitely liked racing more,” he said.

A summer of hard work paid off this winter, as the Maranacook senior won every major high school Nordic race in Maine, including the Sassi Memorial classical and the Class B freestyle and classical state championships. He also was Maine’s top qualifier for the Eastern High School Championships, held last weekend in Ripton, Vermont.

He is our choice as Maine Sunday Telegram boys’ Skier of the Year.

“He’s worked at it a long time,” said Steve DeAngelis. “His freshman, sophomore and junior years, he was very good, but something always got in the way, whether it was injuries or sickness or being nervous.”

Not this year. DeAngelis built up his upper-body strength for better double poling and his lower-body strength for longer, more powerful gliding. He also learned to relax.

“If you can relax, it’s possible to ski much faster,” Steve said. “If you’re tense, you can’t balance, so you wear out faster. Of course, he’s a coach’s kid, so he’s heard all these things a million times, but he had to internalize it.”

DeAngelis won the Leavitt Hornet Classic 5K in early January over a field of 126 and, except for the Oxford Hills Sprints – a mad dash that’s over in less than four minutes – he kept on winning. His margin of victory in the Sassi Memorial was 22 seconds. It was 11 seconds in the KVAC freestyle, three seconds in the KVAC classical, 31 in Class B classical and 11 in Class B freestyle.

“It was the year everything came together for me in skiing,” he said. “It was a fun year for me, because I didn’t have as many injuries or illnesses. There’s always been something. This year, I worked around that and trained less during the season and avoided it.”

As valedictorian of his class, DeAngelis has several good options for college, including Bowdoin and Middlebury. He plans to continue skiing and study government and law, possibly political science.

“I know I want to go into public service or humanitarian law,” he said, “somewhere in that realm.”


Tucker Barber, Mt. Blue junior: Class A classical champion who also placed second in freestyle to lead Mt. Blue to the Nordic state title. Runner-up in the Sassi Memorial classical race and an Eastern High School Championships competitor.

Maxx Bell, Edward Little sophomore: Won the Class A slalom by three seconds and placed eighth in giant slalom to lead EL to the Alpine state title. He was the top Maine qualifier for the Eastern championships.

Taylor Davis, Lake Region senior: The top Maine finisher in slalom at the Eastern High School Championships, and a two-time WMC slalom and giant slalom champion.

Luca DeAngelis, Maranacook senior: Swept the Class B Nordic freestyle and classical races by 11 and 31 seconds, respectively. He also won the Sassi Memorial classical race over a field of 162 and was the top Maine qualifier for the Eastern championships.

Joey Guimond, Fort Kent senior: Won slalom by three seconds and placed second in giant slalom to lead Fort Kent to the Alpine state title in the school’s first year competing in Class B.

John Lane, Yarmouth junior: Runner-up to Luca DeAngelis in the Class B freestyle and classical races. Placed fourth in the Sassi Memorial classical race, as well as second in WMC freestyle and third in classical.

Devon Lathrop, Cape Elizabeth freshman: Won giant slalom and placed fifth in slalom to help the Capers finish third in Class A Alpine. Was the second Maine skier in giant slalom at the Eastern championships.

Axel Lindsay, Greely junior: Runner-up in both slalom and giant slalom in Class A Alpine. The top Maine finisher in giant slalom at the Eastern championships, second in WMC slalom, and third in WMC giant slalom.

Ian McKendry, Forest Hills senior: Class B giant slalom champion who placed fourth in slalom (after tumbling on his back just before the finish line and crossing on one ski). Placed sixth in Class C giant slalom as a junior.

Willson Moore, Waynflete junior: Runner-up in Class C freestyle and classical races, and WMC classical champion by 12 seconds, as well as fifth in freestyle. Was the third Maine qualifier for the Eastern championships.

Tucker Pierce, Maine Coast Waldorf junior: Swept Class C freestyle and classical races (by 48 and 28 seconds) to lead MCW to a fourth straight Nordic state title. Also was the WMC freestyle champion and an Eastern championships competitor.

Brad Ravenelle, Portland senior: The Class A freestyle champion who also placed second in classical. He was third in the Sassi Memorial and an Eastern championships competitor. He plans a gap year at Maine Winter Sports Center before enrolling at Bates.

Coach of the Year

Joel Hinshaw, Freeport Nordic: In his 14th year at Freeport, Hinshaw guided the Falcons to the Class B Nordic title with a junior-dominated team that squeezed four classical skiers among the top 10 and four among the top eight in freestyle.

]]> 0 senior Luca DeAngelis won almost every race he entered this winter, including the Class B freestyle state championship by 11 seconds, which came a day after he posted a 31-second win in the Class B classical race.Sat, 26 Mar 2016 22:42:18 +0000
Girls’ skiing: Kaelyn Woods, Gray-New Gloucester Sun, 27 Mar 2016 01:15:00 +0000 To the surprise of no one, Kaelyn Woods dominated Maine’s high school Nordic season.

The senior from Gray-New Gloucester High won her third straight Class B freestyle state title and third straight classical title.

She also earned all-America honors in three events at the Junior Olympics in Cable, Wisconsin, and led a Maine contingent at the Eastern High School Championships in Ripton, Vermont.

“As far as athletics and coaching, she was a dream,” said G-NG Nordic coach Jeff McEvoy. “She makes it easy, makes me look good when I don’t actually do anything.”

For the second year in a row, Woods is our choice as Maine Sunday Telegram girls’ Skier of the Year.

The daughter of Becky Woods, the longtime Bates College Nordic coach, Kaelyn grew up around Nordic skiing but didn’t limit herself to it. She’s also a four-year varsity soccer and softball player and an honor student.

As a freshman, she raced slalom and giant slalom in addition to Nordic and won the Class B skimeister competition.

“She’s pretty easy-going and self-contained,” McEvoy said. “It didn’t take much to motivate her. She knows what she’s doing. She’d tell me if she needed more kick, and that’s about it.”

Woods won the state classical crown by 25 seconds and freestyle by 45. Over the same course on the same day, neither Class A winner finished within a minute of Woods.

“I know Kaelyn will always do really well and it’s motivation to have her back there,” said Lily Johnston, a Freeport senior and Class B runner-up who started ahead of Woods in the freestyle race. “She’s a superstar.”

For a third straight year, Woods trained with the Maine Winter Sports Center, as did several other local high school skiers. At the state meet, Woods spent much of her postrace time exhorting them across the line.

“I made a lot of really, really close friends through the Nordic skiing community,” Woods said. “It’s just fun to cheer on your friends and see how they finish.”

Woods also qualified for Junior Olympics last winter, but the altitude in Truckee, California, proved problematic. Earlier this month in Wisconsin, she placed fourth in her 5-kilometer classical age-group race, 10th in her 10K skate race and third in a relay.

At Easterns, she placed fourth in a classical sprint and ninth in a 7.5K classical race after a 31st-place finish in the 5K freestyle race.

“The first day was kind of crazy,” she said. “I fell and broke a ski, so that was rough.”

After exploring other options, Woods decided to join her mom’s program in Lewiston.

“I definitely had other schools on my radar,” she said. “But when it came down to it, I realized Bates is a really good fit.”


Fiona Ahearne, Maine Coast Waldorf senior: Successfully defended her Class C freestyle title and won classical as well to lead MCW to a sixth straight Nordic state crown. Also won the Sassi Memorial classical race over a field of 156. Will continue her career at Bowdoin.

Lucy Alexander, Yarmouth senior: Placed third in freestyle and fourth in classical to help Yarmouth win an eighth straight Nordic state crown. Also placed third at the Sassi Memorial. Plans to continue her skiing career at Williams.

Shelby Cowin, Greenville sophomore: Won the Class B giant slalom by five seconds, and in a faster combined time than any of the boys who covered the same course. Also placed third in the Eastern High School Championships slalom, the only Mainer in any discipline among the top 15.

Gabby Farrell, Falmouth junior: Overcame early season illness to win the Class A Nordic freestyle. Also was third in classic to help Falmouth finish second to Mt. Blue in the team competition. Competed in the Eastern championships.

Alisha Guimond, Fort Kent sophomore: Put down the two fastest runs on an icy course at Black Mountain to win the Class B slalom championship. Also placed sixth in giant slalom to help Fort Kent win the Alpine state title. Represented Maine at the Eastern championships.

Lily Johnston, Freeport senior: Runner-up in both Class B freestyle and classical races, in faster times than those of the Class A champions. Also the runner-up at the Sassi Memorial; she plans to continue her career at Bowdoin.

Brooke Lever, Edward Little senior: Won the Class A slalom title and placed second in giant slalom to help the Red Eddies finish third overall in Alpine competition. Also won the KVAC slalom title and placed third in giant slalom.

Krysia Lesniak, Falmouth senior: Placed third in giant slalom and fourth in slalom to help Falmouth win the Class A Alpine title. She was the Western Maine Conference slalom champion and the second overall qualifier from Maine for the Eastern championships.

Lena Martin, Brunswick senior: Won the Class A classical race by 24 seconds and placed third in freestyle. Represented Maine at the Eastern championships.

Alex Shapiro, Falmouth senior: Won giant slalom and placed fifth in slalom to lead Falmouth to a second straight Class A Alpine state title. She was the fourth Maine qualifier for the Eastern championships.

Kaelyn Woods, Gray-New Gloucester senior: Three-time Class B Nordic state champion in both freestyle and classical, she competed in the Junior Olympics in Wisconsin and the Eastern championships.

Keaton McEvoy, Gray-New Gloucester senior: Excelled in all four disciplines in Class B, finishing sixth in slalom, eighth in giant slalom and 14th in both classic and freestyle. McEvoy was an Eastern championships Alpine competitor.

Coach of the Year

Greg Voisine, Fort Kent, Alpine: In his 25th year, Voisine led a Fort Kent sweep of the Class B Alpine titles at icy Black Mountain in Rumford. Fort Kent had won two of the previous three Class C girls’ Alpine titles and five of the previous seven for boys, but this marked the school’s first Class B crowns. The girls beat Maranacook by 33 points and the boys beat Mountain Valley by 61.

]]> 0, ME - FEBRUARY 19: Kaelyn Woods, of Gray-New Gloucester, skis in the Girls Class B Freestyle race Friday, Feb. 19, 2016 in Farmington, Maine. Woods finished in first place. (Photo by Joel Page/Staff Photographer)Sat, 26 Mar 2016 21:19:31 +0000
Skiing: Yarmouth girls, Freeport boys claim Class B Nordic titles Fri, 19 Feb 2016 18:11:53 +0000 FARMINGTON — When the call came and a teammate too ill to ski handed over her race bib, Yarmouth High senior Lydia Sullivan was ready.

For the third straight year, Sullivan was pressed into service as an alternate for the Class B state championship Nordic freestyle race Friday.

“I’m used to that,” said Sullivan. “I was feeling good. It’s my senior year so I knew that I wanted to leave it all out there.”

Despite being seventh on the Yarmouth freestyle depth chart, Sullivan raced to ninth overall at Titcomb Mountain to complete a dominant team effort that clinched the two-day Nordic state title for the Clippers.

Senior Lucy Alexander, sophomore Sophie Laukli and junior Grace Cowles placed third, fourth and fifth as Yarmouth ran away from runner-up Maranacook, 41-65.

Also crowned as Nordic team champions Friday were the Freeport boys in Class B, and Mt. Blue girls and boys in Class A.

Individually, Gray-New Gloucester senior Kaelyn Woods toasted a field of 106 by winning her sixth individual Nordic Class B state title in 13 minutes, 1 second. No girl from either A or B finished within 45 seconds of Woods, whose time was surpassed by only 11 of the 105 boys who raced the same 5-kilometer course.

“I was just looking for a good result,” said Woods, who won Thursday’s Class B classical race by 25 seconds over Freeport senior Lily Johnston, who was runner-up again Friday. “It’s fun to see how you stack up against schools that you don’t necessarily get to race against that often.”

Friday’s field grew when organizers moved the Class B race, originally scheduled for Sugarloaf, to Titcomb because of icy conditions. All of which led to a scene hard to imagine in any other high school sport.

As Falmouth senior Gabby Farrell reached the finish line to win the Class A title, she was embraced with squealing delight by Woods, Johnston and Alexander, the top three skiers from the Class B race.

“I’ve known these girls forever,” said Farrell, whose time of 14:27 was half a minute faster than that of Class A runner-up Jennifer Wilbraham of Morse. “They’re some of my best friends. Even though we’re on different teams, they’re some of the best teammates I’ve ever had.”

Farrell missed the beginning of the season because of illness, part of the reason her friends were happy for her strong finish.

“Skiing is such a community,” said Johnston. “The nature of the sport is so physically challenging. It’s an individual sport but the team aspect is so important, and that extends beyond just the immediate teams.”

For the boys, Luca DeAngelis of Maranacook won Class B in 11:49 and Brad Ravenelle of Portland won Class A in 12:05. Both are seniors.

Yarmouth junior John Lane (12:00) led Class B through two waves of finishers before DeAngelis, who started 61st, powered across the finish. Hearing Lane’s splits throughout the course helped spur DeAngelis on, he said.

“He was the defending skate champion, so I knew it would be tough,” DeAngelis said. “It’s kind of a gamble because sometimes you get more people in the way. But I always react well to splits. I like knowing where I am and going out later in the order.”

Freeport’s boys held off runner-up Caribou for the B team title by claiming half of the top eight slots, with juniors Bennett High (third), Yacob Olins (fourth), Kyle Dorsey (sixth) and senior Nathan Smail (eighth). The final score was 43-82 for Freeport with Maranacook third at 91.

“It’s been a great group,” said Falcons Coach Joel Hinshaw. “Just a bunch of guys who have grown up together that motivate each other to ski and do their best.”

Although the MPA did away with skimeister competition this year, that didn’t stop Gray-New Gloucester senior Keaton McEvoy from competing in both slalom (sixth) and giant slalom (eighth) at Black Mountain on Wednesday and Thursday, and classical and freestyle – 14th in each – at Titcomb on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning.

“It’s something that I love,” she said. “So I wanted to keep doing it.”

]]> 0, ME - FEBRUARY 19: Luca Deangelis, of Maranacook. skis in the Boys Class A Freestyle race Friday, Feb. 19, 2016 in Farmington, Maine. Deangelis finished in first place. (Photo by Joel Page/Staff Photographer)Fri, 19 Feb 2016 23:01:18 +0000
Skiing: Falmouth/Waynflete girls, Edward Little boys win Class A Alpine Thu, 18 Feb 2016 22:51:09 +0000 GREENWOOD — The cooperative Alpine ski team of Falmouth and Waynflete, formed before this season, is still searching for an identity.

“I don’t think anyone’s decided on a formal name yet,” said longtime Falmouth Alpine coach Tip Kimball, “because this is all new territory.”

The Flying Yachtsmen, Kimball said, seems to be the top choice.

Here’s another name: Class A state girls’ Alpine champions.

Falmouth seniors Krysia Lesniak and Alex Shapiro finished fourth and fifth in slalom Thursday afternoon at icy Mt. Abram to lead the way to a 77-166 victory over runner-up Cape Elizabeth. Waynflete junior Kelley Frumer was 13th and Falmouth junior Audrey Morin 17th to give the, uh, Flying Yachtsmen a slalom score of 41 to go along with Wednesday’s giant slalom total of 38, which put Kimball’s girls in the driver’s seat.

Edward Little, led by individual slalom winner Brooke Lever, was third at 173 with Greely fourth at 176.

Lever won the individual title with a two-run time of 1 minute, 16.84 seconds – more than two seconds faster than runner-up Emma Simon of Watershed School of Camden.

Cape Elizabeth senior Emma Dvorozniak was third in 1:18.85.

“Not really ideal,” Dvorozniak said of Thursday’s conditions, two days after rain delayed the meet’s opening event. “It’s very icy. So unless your skis are razor blades, you’re going to have a little bit of trouble.”

Edward Little sophomore Maxx Bell won the boys’ individual title in 1:06.41 with Greely junior Axel Lindsay second in 1:09.32 – five-hundredths of a second ahead of third-place Ryland Van Decker, a junior from Oxford Hills.

The Eddies edged Mt. Blue for the Alpine team title, 116-120. Cape Elizabeth was third at 138 followed by Presque Isle (240) and Falmouth (261) and eight other schools.

“Because we were trying to get the title this year for Falmouth, we kind of had to not go all out,” said Shapiro, who won Wednesday’s giant slalom race. “(Kimball) told us, ‘Don’t give away the farm. Just have a good, solid run.’ It’s hard in these conditions.”

Tuesday’s rain coupled with a rapid temperature drop left the Boris Badenov trail with a coating of ice.

“Probably the conditions were well beyond the abilities of a good percentage of the boys and girls here,” Kimball said of the 200-plus competitors who took on the challenge Thursday. “But in ski racing, you can’t just put it in coast mode.”

“When you’ve got a course with a steep pitch and that hard surface, if you’re not attacking, there’s a good chance you’re going to not make it,” he said. “So they have to find that fine balance between attacking and skiing conservatively.”

Lesniak, who won the 2015 Class A slalom title, said the ice was a challenge rarely seen this season, but familiar to any long-time New England skier.

“We really focused on getting the ski out from under your body, putting it on edge early and just arcing it around and getting the bite in the ice as much as you can,” she said. “But it is tough. It’s kind of the person with the least-ugly run who wins.”

This winter’s championships are the first since the Maine Principals’ Association voted last year to create separate Alpine and Nordic championships in skiing.

Last year Falmouth competed at the state meet with only two boys and five girls. There was talk, Kimball said, of shuttering the program.

That’s when the athletic directors of the schools got together and applied to the MPA for a co-op team, which made sense given that for years, Waynflete skiers have trained with Falmouth.

This season’s roster of 11 boys and eight girls included three of each from Waynflete and the rest from Falmouth.

“We had a very deep team this year,” Lesniak said. “It was exciting to work with Waynflete.”

Exciting, and rewarding. Now all they need is a name.

]]> 0, 18 Feb 2016 23:35:00 +0000
Skiing: Fort Kent stays upright, wins Class B slalom Wed, 17 Feb 2016 22:16:27 +0000 RUMFORD — Joey Guimond grinned as he glanced up the icy slope of Black Mountain’s Lower Androscoggin slalom course, a streak of dried blood trickling from his right nostril.

Somewhere up there, out of sight above the headwall, was a gate that smacked him in the schnozz early in his first run of the Class B slalom championship.

“I didn’t put my hand up fast enough,” he said with a slight twitch of his nose. “It’s swollen but as long as it’s straight, I’m happy.”

Guimond exacted his revenge on Androscoggin later Wednesday with a slalom victory by nearly three seconds as Fort Kent opened a commanding lead in the two-event Alpine state meet that concludes with Thursday’s giant slalom.

A senior, Guimond was one of the four Fort Kent skiers among the top six boys on a day when racers from 16 other schools frequently found the frozen surface unforgiving.

Fort Kent compiled 15 points to 36 for second-place Mountain Valley. Yarmouth was third at 78 followed by Maranacook (81) and Spruce Mountain (115). Gray-New Gloucester tied Central Aroostook for sixth at 124.

Earlier Wednesday, Alisha Guimond, Joey’s sophomore cousin, won the girls’ Class B slalom by more than four seconds as Fort Kent opened a 25-47 lead on Spruce Mountain with Maranacook (51) in third and Mt. Abram (100) in fourth.

Wednesday marked the first state meet since the Maine Principals’ Association contracted the number of Alpine classifications from three to two, and separated Alpine and Nordic into distinct disciplines, each with its own state meet.

“We know Nordic is killing it,” said Yarmouth junior Hannah Van Alstine, whose Clippers won the final nine overall Class B titles before the split. “We’re excited to have a chance to stand by ourselves, to make it on our own.”

Van Alstine was one of the few skiers Wednesday who managed two fast and fall-free runs. Her combined time of 1:46.37 was behind only Guimond and Spruce Mountain’s Allison Acritelli … but instead of third Van Alstine learned she had been disqualified.

Not for missing or straddling a gate, as was the case with so many others Wednesday, but for the ghastly sin of – wait for it – starting too early.

“They go ‘Five, four, three, two, one,’ ” said Van Alstine, describing the starter’s countdown. “You can start at ‘three, two, one’ or three seconds after they say ‘Go.’ They think I started sometime between ‘four’ and ‘three.’ That’s considered an early start, I guess, which I wasn’t aware of.”

Another Yarmouth teammate failed to finish her first run and a third did likewise on her second run. A fourth, Greta Elder, fell and hiked, but completed both runs in a time good enough for 12th only to discover later she had been disqualified for straddling a gate.

That left the Clippers with only two skiers in good standing, Emma Marston in 13th and Emi Ruth in 24th. A minimum of three is required for a team score.

All six Yarmouth boys successfully completed their two runs but not without difficulty. Tumbling, recovering and side-stepping up the slope to negotiate a missed gate was commonplace.

“I’ve been racing since sixth grade,” said Clippers junior Conner Pearl, who placed 28th. “I’ve fallen three times. Two were (Wednesday), on one run.”

Tuesday’s rain coupled with a season of man-made snow created conditions similar to the stuff that builds up next to that neglected ice cream carton inside your freezer.

“It’s sheer ice,” Pearl said with a hint of awe. “It’s like a melted waterfall.”

Why, then, were so many skiers from Fort Kent unfazed?

Joey Guimond shrugged.

“We were taking our time,” he said. “Ski smarter, not harder.”

]]> 0 Primeau, of Yarmouth High School, skis the slalom Wednesday during the Class B Alpine ski championships in Rumford.Wed, 17 Feb 2016 22:19:49 +0000
Schedule altered for state skiing championships Mon, 15 Feb 2016 22:04:58 +0000 The schedule for the high school state skiing championships has been altered because of inclement weather.

The Class A and B slalom races scheduled for Tuesday at Mt. Abram (Greenwood) and Black Mountain (Rumford) were postponed, pushing the Alpine competition to Wednesday and Thursday at the same sites.

In Class A, the slalom races will be held Thursday, starting with the girls at 10 a.m. The giant slalom races will be held Wednesday as originally scheduled.

In Class B, the giant slalom races were moved from Wednesday to Thursday, beginning with girls at 9 a.m. Slalom races will be held Wednesday, starting at 11 a.m.

The schedule for the Nordic championships is unchanged. Class A will be held at Titcomb Mountain in Farmington, beginning Thursday with boys and girls’ classical races. The freestyle races will be Friday.

The Class B and C Nordic races are also scheduled for Thursday and Friday – Class B at Sugarloaf Nordic Center and Class C at Black Mountain.

]]> 0 Mon, 15 Feb 2016 19:06:41 +0000
Ski teams to watch Fri, 25 Dec 2015 09:00:00 +0000 GIRLS

Yarmouth Nordic: The Clippers have won the past five Class B state titles and show no sign of slowing. Seniors Lucy Alexander and Lydia Sullivan, juniors Grace Cowles and Abby Condon, and sophomore Sophia Laukli all have top-15 finishes at the state meet.

Cape Elizabeth Alpine: The Capers have won the past two Class B state championships and will move up to Class A this winter. Senior Emma Dvorozniak, and juniors Caroline Paclat and Kinnon McGrath, are joined by promising freshmen Tori McGrath and Morgan Stewart.

Falmouth: Both the Nordic (three straight) and Alpine teams are defending Class A state champions. Senior London Bernier and junior Gabby Farrell will blaze the trail for Nordic, and seniors Krysia Lesniak and Alex Shapiro will lead the way for Alpine.

Maine Coast Waldorf Nordic: Senior Fiona Ahearne, junior Fiona Libby and sophomores Olivia Skillings and Louise Ahearne all achieved top-10 finishes at last winter’s Class C state meet. The Pineland-based school will aim for a sixth consecutive state championship.

Greely Alpine: The Rangers are looking for their third Class A state championship in four years and their fourth in six. Seniors Kelsey Otley and Sarah Novich, junior Jackie Perlmutter and sophomore Nettie Cunningham lead a deep and talented contingent.


Freeport Nordic: The Falcons return all six scorers from the team that won the Class B skate race but fell eight points shy of Maranacook in overall Nordic: Senior Nathan Smail and juniors Bennett Hight, Yacob Olins, Kyle Dorsey, John Smail and Perrin Davidson.

Yarmouth Alpine: The Clippers are aiming for their first Class B title since 2013 with a squad led by senior John Diggins and junior George Jutras, each with a top-15 finish at states. Junior Conner Pearl returns from a year’s absence. Newcomers Griffin Primeau and Ben Pearl will help.

Falmouth Nordic: After four straight Class A state titles, Falmouth may be vulnerable because of graduation losses. Even so, seniors Devin Ventura and Adam Meyer, and sophomore Simon Pratico all posted top-16 state finishes.

Scarborough Alpine: The defending SMAA champion looks to improve from a third-place showing in Class A with senior Andrew Mills (third in A slalom) leading a veteran squad that includes classmates Matt Hodgkins and Caleb Doiron, and junior Matt Higgins.

Maine Coast Waldorf Nordic: A fourth consecutive Class C crown is the goal for a seven-skier squad. Junior Tucker Pierce is the only returning scorer but classmates Dylan Wu, Thomas Kolle and Davis Ritger, and sophomore Eli Gundersen are poised to fill the gaps.

– Glenn Jordan

]]> 0 Thu, 24 Dec 2015 18:19:45 +0000
Skiers to watch Fri, 25 Dec 2015 09:00:00 +0000 GIRLS

Fiona Ahearne, Maine Coast Waldorf senior: Defending Class C freestyle state champ and classical runner-up who competed at the Eastern high school championships.

Lucy Alexander, Yarmouth senior: Placed fourth in Western Maine Conference Nordic pursuit, sixth in Class B skate and eighth in classical.

London Bernier, Falmouth senior: Defending Class A classical champ was fourth in freestyle as Falmouth won a third straight Nordic title.

Grace Cowles, Yarmouth junior: Placed fourth in Class B classical and fifth in freestyle to help the Clippers win their fifth straight Nordic title. Easterns qualifier.

Nettie Cunningham, Greely sophomore: Defending Class A giant slalom champion and second qualifier from Maine for the Eastern high school championships.

Emma Dvorozniak, Cape Elizabeth senior: Class B runner-up in slalom who was third in giant slalom and fourth in the skimeister standings.

Greta Elder, Yarmouth sophomore: Defending Class B giant slalom champ who placed fifth in the slalom. Western Maine Conference runner-up in giant slalom, fourth in slalom.

Lily Johnston, Freeport senior: Placed third in Class B classical and fourth in freestyle, and competed in the Eastern high school meet.

Krysia Lesniak, Falmouth senior: Defending Class A slalom champion and top qualifier from Maine for the Eastern high school championships.

Keaton McEvoy, Gray-New Gloucester senior: Class B skimeister as a sophomore and runner-up as a junior. Placed 12th in both slalom and giant slalom.

Alex Shapiro, Falmouth senior: Third in Class A slalom and fourth in giant slalom. Two straight years with top-four finishes in both events.

Kaelyn Woods, Gray-New Gloucester senior: Two-time defending Class B freestyle and classical champion who also won B skimeister as a freshman.


Schuyler Black, Cheverus junior: Placed fifth in both slalom and giant slalom in the SMAA championships, 10th in Class A giant slalom.

Patrick Carty, Fryeburg Academy senior: Placed fifth in Class A freestyle, eighth in classical and fourth in Western Maine Conference Nordic pursuit.

Taylor Davis, Lake Region senior: Defending Western Maine Conference champion in slalom and giant slalom who was also the Class B slalom runner-up.

Bennett Hight, Freeport junior: Placed third in the Class B freestyle and sixth in the classical for the runner-up Falcons. Second in WMC freestyle.

John Lane, Yarmouth junior: Defending Class B freestyle champion who was third in classical. Western Maine Conference freestyle champ.

Tom Lesniak, Falmouth senior: Defending Class A slalom champion who was runner-up in giant slalom as a sophomore.

Andrew Mills, Scarborough senior: SMAA runner-up in both slalom and giant slalom who placed third in Class A slalom.

Wilson Moore, Waynflete junior: Fourth in Class C freestyle and classical. Fourth Mainer at NENSA U16 classical championship.

Yacob Olins, Freeport junior: Sixth in Class B freestyle, seventh in classic for runner-up Falcons. Seventh in WMC pursuit.

Tucker Pierce, Maine Coast Waldorf junior: Runner-up in Class C classical and skate, WMC pursuit champion and top Maine finisher at NENSA U16 Championships.

Brad Ravenelle, Portland senior: Placed eighth in Class A freestyle, ninth in classical. Skiing for Maine Winter Sports Center.

Devin Ventura, Falmouth senior: Placed 10th in both Class A freestyle and classical to help Falmouth win fourth straight state title.

– Glenn Jordan

]]> 0 Thu, 24 Dec 2015 18:20:04 +0000
High school skiing enters age of specialization Fri, 25 Dec 2015 09:00:00 +0000 YARMOUTH — On the afternoon of the potluck dinner that traditionally kicks off the Yarmouth High ski season, members of the Nordic and Alpine teams gathered in adjacent hallways for dryland training specific to their sports.

Abby Condon, a junior who won the Class B skimeister competition last winter, stayed in the Nordic hallway, working out with green stability balls, heavy yellow medicine balls and kettlebells of different colors.

“It’s nice to be part of one team,” Condon said, “instead of spreading myself over both teams.”

The Maine Principals’ Association made three significant changes to high school skiing last spring, eliminating the four-event skimeister competition, contracting the Alpine state meets from three to two classes and awarding team titles in Nordic and Alpine but no longer in combination.

Yarmouth has won 18 overall girls’ titles – including the last nine in Class B – and 14 overall boys’ titles.

Mt. Blue of Farmington leads the state with 22 overall titles for girls and 16 for boys, including the last two in Class A.

Fellow junior Katie Waeldner, who also competed as a skimeister last winter and finished fourth in the Western Maine Conference championships, opted for the Alpine team this season.

“It was hard to really get good at one when doing both,” Waeldner said. “And it was such a big-time commitment that trying to balance it with school and everything, Alpine seemed like the right choice.”

While some lament the passing of the all-around skier able to succeed in slalom and giant slalom on the slopes, and classical and skating techniques on the cross country trails, others wonder why it took so long to recognize that the sports have little in common other than snow and skin-tight racing suits.

“It allows us to focus more on what we want to do as a team,” said senior Lucy Alexander, who plans to continue her Nordic career at Williams College in Massachusetts next winter.

“We don’t have to worry about (whether) our goals match up with the Alpine team or not because now we’re separate.”

Sophomore Greta Elder, the reigning Class B giant slalom state champion, has an older brother who ditched Alpine for Nordic and now is a cross country skier for Dartmouth College.

“I think it’s awesome that we’ve had such a record of winning the combined,” she said. “But there comes a point where, they’re different sports. We’re two different teams, with different interests, and different styles of coaching and team atmosphere.”

Even the dryland training, with no snow in the forecast or on the horizon, is tailored to specific needs. Alpiners focused on strength, stability and balance, and Nordic skiers concentrated on cardiovascular fitness, circuit training and distance running.

“For the kids who did do both and were really successful at it, I feel bad for them because it’s kind of a cool thing,” said junior John Lane, the defending Class B freestyle champion. “But I don’t really care. I always just did Nordic.”

The Class B Alpine state meet is scheduled for Feb. 16-17 at Black Mountain in Rumford. The Class B Nordic state meet is scheduled for Feb. 18-19 at Sugarloaf in Carrabassett Valley.

Unlike past winters, there won’t be the morning-on-the-slopes, afternoon-on-the-trails challenge that required a certain level of stamina and fortitude.

Logistically, you could now do all four events on four successive days instead of cramming four into three.

Condon, who began her competitive career in Alpine before switching to Nordic, is instead bequeathing her slalom and giant slalom equipment to her sister Rachel, a Yarmouth freshman.

“It wouldn’t really make sense to do both of them if there’s no competition for it,” Condon said. “Also, I think Nordic is more fun.”

Bob Morse, entering his 35th season as Yarmouth’s Nordic coach, said he built the program under the premise of encouraging skiers to try both disciplines. Until a few years ago, middle school skiers in Yarmouth who wanted to race gates were required to give cross country a whirl as well.

“I had a lot of kids who started out with Alpine and switched over to Nordic, and became Nordic champions and skimeisters,” he said.

Like wooden skis, that era now seems relegated to the past.

“There is a different feeling,” said a pensive Morse. “Time will tell how things go.”


]]> 0 Elder, a sophomore who is the Class B giant slalom state champion, is pleased that Alpine and Nordic events will be recognized as separate entities. “We’re two different teams, with different interests,” she said.Thu, 24 Dec 2015 18:20:23 +0000
Carrabassett Valley Academy grad has a home-hill edge Wed, 25 Mar 2015 08:00:00 +0000 CARRABASSETT VALLEY — Sam Morse sat in the base lodge at Sugarloaf when an older gentleman came up to him to shake his hand. “We’re rooting for you,” he said to Morse.

Later, as he stood outside the lodge, skiers came up to him to offer a handshake or a congratulations.

Morse, an 18-year-old who grew up seven minutes from the main entrance to Sugarloaf Mountain, is a made man around here.

“My name is out there and it’s fun to be known when you walk into a grocery store,” said Morse, who graduated from Carrabassett Valley Academy. “And it’s all good so far.”

And maybe Morse will be recognized beyond the borders of his tiny town soon. He is among the competitors this week at the U.S. Alpine Championships, being held at Sugarloaf for the first time since 2008 (and fifth time overall). The competition begins at 9 a.m. Wednesday with the women’s super-G race, followed by the men’s super-G, and continues through Sunday.

Among the skiers competing will be 2015 downhill and giant slalom World Cup champion Lindsey Vonn (but only in Thursday’s giant slalom), 2015 World Cup slalom champion and Olympic slalom champ Mikaela Shiffrin, two-time Olympic super-G medal winner Andrew Weibrecht and two-time four-time Olympian Marco Sullivan.

It’s a lineup that certainly should attract big crowds according to Seth Wescott, the two-time Olympic gold medal winner in snowboardcross. While his discipline is different, Wescott knows many of the Alpine skiers.

“It’s fun to get out and watch them do their thing,” said Wescott. “And it’s nice to see the next generation of Alpine skiers step up. ”

Among them is Morse. “I’m excited to watch him,” said Wescott. “It’s his home hill and he knows it better than anyone else.”

Morse, who has competed in the last two U.S. nationals, was a spectator here in 2008, hoping to get autographs from the sport’s biggest names.

“I might have been more excited just being a fan,” he said Tuesday. “I just got to go up there and watch it and not do anything. Now I’ve got to go up there and perform. It’s still fun but it definitely makes it a little more serious.”

Morse has had a strong season on the U.S. national development team, which means he is on track to compete someday on the national team and maybe on the World Cup circuit or in the Olympics.

In the recent junior world championships in Hafjell, Norway, he finished 12th in the downhill (the second U.S. under-18 finisher), and 20th in the super-G. In the U.S. national downhill race held on March 17 at Sugarloaf, he finished ninth, then followed that with a seventh in the super-G in a NorAm Cup race two days later, also at Sugarloaf.


His best results have come in the speed events – the downhill and super-G – but he is improving in the technical events – the slalom and giant slalom.

“He has made good improvements in the technical events and we’re working to make sure he continues to progress in them,” said Randy Pelkey, the head coach of the U.S. development team. “It’s a long process, it doesn’t happen overnight. But we work on the basic fundamentals in the technical events.

“I think he’s doing a really good job for us. He came from a place where he got good experience in speed events. Now he’s seeing a lot of new venues and mountains to diversify his abilities.”

Chip Cochrane, Morse’s coach at CVA, watched Morse in the NorAm races at Sugarloaf last week and noticed a difference. Morse is fitter and trimmer at 6-foot, 205 pounds, thanks to the world-class training he receives with the U.S. team.

“He’s still improving, still discovering who he is as an athlete,” said Cochrane. “He puts so much focus on making his weak points become his strengths, he’s going to keep moving ahead.”

Among the things Morse knows he has to improve is his mental approach. Cochrane noted that ski racing is a sport “where you have to push a fine line. You have to push yourself to the point of disaster to be the best.”

Morse, who was accepted to Dartmouth College but deferred enrollment this year and will again next year, is just learning what that point is. He has to learn when to attack a hill full speed and when to pull back.

“It’s all a matter of not holding back too much,” said Morse, “but holding back enough to get through the tough sections.”

And he couldn’t have had a better mountain to learn on than Sugarloaf. It is considered among the toughest slopes in the U.S.


Being on the U.S. development team, Morse has had to grow up quickly. He traveled to Chili, Austria and Norway in addition to Canada and the various U.S. mountains this year, with only his teammates and coaches to accompany him. He keeps in touch with his family through his smart phone.

“If you look back on it, it’s a unique way to grow up,” he said. “It’s not like going to your average high school with all the regular high school activities. It’s more like, ‘All right, when’s the next time I’m getting on an airplane to go somewhere?’ That’s your worries. It’s not, ‘Who am I taking to the prom?’ ”

Through all his travels, Morse has continued to embrace his faith. His parents are Baptist ministers. And his faith was vital earlier this year when two of his teammates, Bryce Astle and Ronnie Berlack, were killed in an avalanche in Austria while freeskiing. A day earlier, Morse had been freeskiing with them in the same spot but on the day of the avalanche, he and another teammate took a route on the other side of the valley.

“Ski racing does not have a huge faith community, unlike football,” said Morse. “Those were interesting times reaching out to my teammates, trying to provide them with some spiritual counseling and support.”

Whatever happens this week, Morse is glad to be back on his home hill. He began skiing when he was 23 months old. He kept insisting that his parents take him – he said he would put on his skis and ski boots and get on his skate board on their deck, learning how to balance himself as he moved back-and-forth – until they relented one spring afternoon. The sport became his passion.

Now, at this level, he strives to remember how much fun skiing is, even as he attempts to win races.

“People want to make it out to be so much more than it is but we’re just going out there and doing something because it’s fun,” he said. “You can get all angst and put all this pressure on it but it’s really just a game of who can get to the bottom the fastest.”

]]> 0 last time the U.S. Alpine Championships were held at Sugarloaf, in 2008, Sam Morse was there to get autographs. This week, he’s skiing against the best.Thu, 26 Mar 2015 00:46:20 +0000
Telegram’s boys’ skiing All-State team Sun, 22 Mar 2015 08:00:00 +0000 Nathan Delmar, Maranacook sophomore: Class B slalom champion who also placed eighth in slalom to help Maranacook defend its Alpine and overall state titles.

Ethan Harriman, Maranacook senior: Won the Class B classical championship and placed second in freestyle to help Black Bears win Nordic and overall state titles.

John Lane, Yarmouth sophomore: Won the Class B freestyle championship and placed third in classical. Fastest skate time in WMC championships led to third in pursuit.

Tom Lesniak, Falmouth junior: Won the Class A slalom championship and placed fourth in giant slalom. The top qualifier from Maine for Eastern High School Championships.

Gabe Mahoney, Falmouth senior: Class A classical champion by more than a minute and freestyle champ by half a minute to help Falmouth win a fourth straight Nordic state title.

Forrest McCurdy, Merriconeag junior: Won both the Class C classical and freestyle races by more than half a minute to lead Merriconeag to a third straight Nordic state title.

Nick Newman, Mountain Valley sophomore: Won the Class C slalom and giant slalom championships by wide margins to help the Falcons win the Alpine state title.

Curtis Paradis, Biddeford senior: Class A giant slalom champion who also won SMAA slalom and giant slalom titles. Top Maine finisher in slalom and giant slalom at Easterns.

Miles Pelletier, Mt. Blue sophomore: Two-time Class A skimeister champion who placed 24th in classical, 19th in freestyle, 16th in slalom and 21st in giant slalom.

Tucker Pierce, Merriconeag sophomore: Runner-up to teammate McCurdy in both freestyle and classical races to help Merriconeag win third straight Class C Nordic title.

Bryce Smith, Presque Isle junior: Won the Class B giant slalom championship and placed fourth in slalom to help Wildcats finish fourth in Alpine and overall.

Conner Woods, Mountain Valley senior: Three-time Class C skimeister who placed 10th in slalom, 11th in giant slalom, 15th in classical and 19th in freestyle.

Coach of the Year

Mark Cyr, Mt. Blue: The Cougars won their second straight Class A Alpine title (and ninth overall title in Cyr’s 11 years as head of the Alpine program) by buying in to the team concept Cyr preaches. “I take my hat off to the seven boys who raced,” he said. “It wasn’t about self-glorification and getting up on the podium, it was to make sure the team did well. Even though you’re out on the course yourself, it’s still a team event.”

– Glenn Jordan

]]> 0 Sat, 21 Mar 2015 21:51:36 +0000
Boys’ skiing athlete of the year: Paradis adds to an impressive family tradition Sun, 22 Mar 2015 08:00:00 +0000 After eight years, an era is ending at Biddeford High School. No more will the Tigers field an Alpine ski team.

Call it Paradis lost.

Curtis Paradis will graduate this spring having carried on a family tradition started by grandfather Howard (a 2013 Maine Skiing Hall of Fame inductee following a 35-year coaching career in Madawaska) and continued by father Mike (the 1977 skimeister state champion when ski jumping was also in the mix) and sister Erin (a 2011 graduate of Biddeford High who won SMAA slalom and giant slalom titles).

Erin paved the way as an independent skier. She was nominally aligned with Cheverus High (her Shawnee Peak coach also coached the Stags) and Curtis followed the same path for the succeeding four years. During that time he won three Class A state titles, including the giant slalom last month at Mt. Abram to go along with his 2012 and 2013 slalom victories.

He also won every SMAA Alpine race he entered this season and was the first Maine finisher in both slalom and giant slalom at the recent Eastern High School Championships held at Gunstock Ski Area in New Hampshire. At the EHSC Paradis was 12th among 99 slalom skiers and 19th out of 103 in giant slalom.

“I like taking risks and being on the edge and sending it to the post office,” said Paradis, the Maine Sunday Telegram’s choice as boys’ skier of the year.

Sending it to the post office?

“That’s just a term me and my buddies use,” he said. “You just lay down a really good run.”

Paradis, who also runs cross country and plays lacrosse, went over the edge last winter at Shawnee Peak with three gates remaining in his second Class A giant slalom run after posting the fastest time in the first run. He helicoptered, crashed and, after spitting up blood, wound up spending the night at Bridgton Hospital with a bruised lung.

He returned this winter and, aside from breaking a pair of skis midway through the season after jumping from the starting gate, was back on track. Then came the state meet, and Paradis fell in his first slalom run and missed the third-to-last gate in his second.

“I just figured it was in the past and I can’t let that carry on to the next day,” he said. “Right when I woke up in the morning I said I will not be doubting anything.”

He won giant slalom by more than a second, posting the fastest time in both runs.

Part of the reason for his successful comeback can be attributed to his visits to Madawaska with his grandfather.

“I usually go up for about eight weeks at a time,” Paradis said. “He used to be a marathon runner back in the day so every morning we’d go out for a run. I’d come back and lift weights, then go out mountain biking for an hour or two. He lives on a really big hill, so I’d roller-blade down that and do ski turns. He always says, ‘One more!’ when I’m gassed.”

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at:

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH

]]> 0 Paradis of Biddeford makes his way down the slalom course at Mt. Abram during the Class A skiing state championships in February. Paradis won the giant slalom this year to finish his high school career with three state titles.Sat, 21 Mar 2015 21:06:11 +0000
Girls’ skiing athlete of the year: Kaelyn Woods was the clear choice for Maine’s top skier Sun, 22 Mar 2015 08:00:00 +0000 Placing 55th out of 84 Nordic freestyle skiers at the Junior National Championships in Truckee, California, earlier this month wasn’t exactly what Kaelyn Woods had in mind.

Then again, she didn’t plan on passing out while climbing a steep hill late in the 4.9-kilometer course, which happens to be 7,200 feet above sea level.

“The really high altitude was getting to me,” Woods said. “So that was not fun.”

When someone suggested removing her skis and seeking medical assistance, Woods clambered up and finished the race, whereupon she collapsed again and this time was whisked to a hospital.

She recovered quickly, and was the top Maine qualifier for the Eastern High School Nordic Championships at Black Mountain in Rumford this weekend, where she was sixth in the 5K freestyle race.

A junior at Gray-New Gloucester High, Woods successfully defended her Class B state freestyle and classical titles as well as making her mark on the national stage.

She is our choice at Maine Sunday Telegram girls’ skier of the year.

“She’s an incredible athlete and she’s incredibly competitive,” said Jeff McEvoy, the Gray-New Gloucester Nordic coach who has skied with Woods since she was in elementary school. “She’s also a sweetheart, incredibly humble for as good as she is.”

In the season’s first meet, Woods placed second in a skate race to Freeport senior Elizabeth Martin. That was the only Maine high school race this winter Woods failed to win. She won nearly every race by more than a minute, including the chilly Class B classical race in Presque Isle. She followed that with a 31-second victory over Martin in freestyle.

“I didn’t really know what to expect,” Woods said. “I had been training in the fall with Lizzy and Sam Pierce and Fiona (Ahearne, both of Merriconeag) so I was interested to see how it was going to unfold.”

In addition to high school competition, Woods also raced NENSA’s Eastern Cup circuit with the Maine Winter Sports Center. This was her second year advancing to the Junior Nationals, where she rebounded from her freestyle bonk and placed 23rd of 85 girls in the 18-and-under 10K classical race.

“She had pretty similar years,” said MWSC racing director Will Sweetser. “In terms of Maine competition, she is head and shoulders above the rest of the field.”

Juggling skiing with the rigorous academics of her International Baccalaureate program, Woods still found time to assist McEvoy with GNG’s middle school meets. She also excels at soccer and softball and won the state skimeister title as a freshman before opting to focus on Nordic.

“It’s hard, definitely, and missing school is rough,” Woods said. “But my teachers are incredibly understanding.”

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at:

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH

]]> 0 Woods, a junior at Gray-New Gloucester, won Class B state titles in classical and freestyle for the second straight year.Sat, 21 Mar 2015 20:58:42 +0000
Telegram’s girls’ skiing All-State team Sun, 22 Mar 2015 08:00:00 +0000 Fiona Ahearne, Merriconeag junior: Won the Class C freestyle championship and finished second in classical to help Merriconeag win its fifth straight Nordic title.

London Bernier, Falmouth junior: Won the Class A classical championship and placed fourth in freestyle to help Falmouth defend its Nordic and overall titles.

Abby Condon, Yarmouth sophomore: Finished eighth in the giant slalom and was among the top 20 in all four events to win the competitive race for Class B skimeister.

Nettie Cunningham, Greely freshman: Won the Class A giant slalom title by more than five seconds and finished second in the Alpine shootout.

Greta Elder, Yarmouth freshman: Won the Class B giant slalom and placed fifth in the slalom to help Yarmouth win a ninth straight overall title.

Erin Guilmet, Maranacook junior: Won the Class B slalom title and placed fourth in the giant slalom as Maranacook won the overall runner-up plaque.

Krysia Lesniak, Falmouth junior: Class A slalom champ who also won the WMC slalom and giant slalom titles. Top Maine qualifier for the Eastern High School championships.

Elizabeth Martin, Freeport senior: Second in Class B in both the classical and freestyle races with faster times than the Class C champions.

Anna Morin, Falmouth senior: Won the Class A freestyle title and placed fifth in classical to help Falmouth defend its Nordic and overall titles.

Alexa Pelletier, Fort Kent senior: Class C slalom and giant slalom champion who led Fort Kent to the Alpine title and its second straight overall crown.

Samantha Pierce, Merriconeag senior: Two-time Class C classical state champion who placed third in freestyle to help Merriconeag extend its five-year Nordic reign.

Kaelyn Woods, Gray-New Gloucester junior: Won the Class B classical and freestyle titles for the second year in a row and represented New England at the Junior Nationals.

Coach of the Year

John Tarling, Merriconeag: Guided Merriconeag to its fifth consecutive Class C Nordic state championship despite the New Gloucester Waldorf school’s enrollment of fewer than 40 students. He also led Merriconeag’s boys to a third straight title and both won MPA sportsmanship awards. “I think the school values that even more,” said Tarling, whose skiers take the sport “seriously in a good way. They don’t overstress about it.”

– Glenn Jordan

]]> 0 Sat, 21 Mar 2015 21:24:23 +0000
Class A skiing: Mt. Blue boys, Falmouth girls win overall titles Wed, 18 Feb 2015 22:09:11 +0000 GREENWOOD — Gates behind him, turns completed, headwall conquered, Curtis Paradis could only stand at the base of Mt. Abram on Wednesday morning and watch the remaining skiers to see if any could beat his time.

None did.

A senior at Biddeford High, Paradis draped his left arm around the shoulders of his grandfather, Howard Paradis, a 2013 Maine Skiing Hall of Fame inductee following a 35-year coaching career at Madawaska High, as a parade of 86 skiers came skidding to a stop.

In Tuesday’s slalom competition, “I didn’t have the best day,” said Paradis, who had skied off the course, and then missed a gate near the bottom. “But I knew if I stayed positive I’d have a good chance of finishing strong.”

Indeed, one year after a frightening crash at the state meet put him in the hospital overnight with a bruised lung, Paradis capped his high school career with the Class A giant slalom state title to go with slalom state titles he won as a freshman and sophomore.

His combined time in two runs was 1 minute, 26.31 seconds. Runner-up Chris Burns of Oxford Hills was more than a second behind in 1:27.58 and 2014 slalom champion Tom Lesniak of Falmouth was fourth in 1:27.91 after having some troubles in his first run.

Paradis won the individual title and Mt. Blue successfully defended its boys’ Alpine team title. Later on Wednesday afternoon, at Stark’s Hill in Fryeburg, Mt. Blue wrapped up a second straight overall title with a two-day, four-event score of 168 points, less than half the total of runner-up Leavitt (374).

Oxford Hills was third at 449 followed by Greely (457) and Fryeburg Academy (504).

The rest of the afternoon belonged to Falmouth, whose girls claimed three of the top four places in the freestyle race, the Nordic title to go along with the morning’s Alpine crown, and a second straight overall championship with a four-event total (125 points) far beyond the reach of runner-up Oxford Hills (393). Greely was third at 448 followed by Edward Little (471) and Fryeburg Academy (472).

Senior Gabe Mahoney won the 5.4-kilometer freestyle race by half a minute in 13:15 with Falmouth teammates Iain Kurry (sixth), Ethan Cantlin (ninth) and Devin Ventura (10th) rounding out another Nordic team title. (Because it could muster only two Alpine skiers, Falmouth did not contend for the overall crown.)

“If they won and we didn’t,” said Falmouth senior Anna Morin, with an eye toward the long bus ride home, “that would have been so awkward.”

Morin made sure the mood was celebratory by leading a 1-2-4-10 freestyle finish along with Lucy Mahoney, London Bernier and Emily Rioux. Morin’s winning time of 16:59 was nearly half a minute ahead of Mahoney’s 17:25. Deering’s Ewa Varney took third another eight seconds back.

“The kids used the skills and fitness and training they had and really put it together,” said Falmouth first-year Nordic coach Troy Barry. “As you can see on their faces, they’re ecstatic.”

Falmouth’s boys won the Nordic title by a dozen points over Leavitt with Mt. Blue third. Falmouth’s girls ran away with the Nordic title, 40-88 over unner-up Mt. Blue. The other eight schools all scored in triple digits.

Falmouth won the girls’ Alpine title earlier Wednesday by 50 points over runner-up Edward Little despite seeing slalom champion Krysia Lesniak fall at the top of the headwall in the giant slalom, forcing her to hike up the mountain to complete her first run.

“They set it up so the top part was pretty aggressive,” Lesniak said of the GS course. “As soon as it pitched off, it got pretty turny and you had to readjust your line. I just failed to do so and took a little (fall).”

Falmouth teammates Alex Shapiro (fourth), Maggie Coster (seventh), Caroline Keller (10th) and Audrey Morin (26th) picked up the slack. Shapiro, a junior, was still feeling the effects of a Safe Passage volunteer trip to Guatemala that delayed her arrival (with a stomach bug to boot) only hours before Tuesday morning’s slalom competition.

“I hadn’t skied in almost two weeks,” said Shapiro, who wound up third in slalom. “I’m just glad I was able to make it out here in time.”

Greely freshman Nettie Cunningham blew away the giant slalom field of 80 with a winning margin of more than five seconds. Her two-run time of 1:38.12 easily outdistanced that of runner-up Brooke Lever of Edward Little (1:43.52).

Cunningham had the fastest first run in Tuesday’s slalom before straddling a gate late in her second run. She said she nearly tumbled in Wednesday’s first run but managed to hang on at a particularly challenging gate.

“A teammate’s father was right there and he called it a Bode save,” she said. “I was sliding and then my edges caught and I popped back up.”

After Tuesday’s disappointment, Cunningham basked in the glow of what was only her second victory of the season.

“Obviously, Krysia’s fall impacted that,” she said. “She’s very good. But this feels pretty great.”

Mt. Blue’s two-day Alpine total was 80 points to 158 for runner-up Edward Little. The Eddies began the day behind both Greely and Scarborough, but the Rangers (204) dropped to fourth and Scarborough (201) to third.

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at:

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH

]]> 0, ME - FEBRUARY 18: Biddeford's Curtis Paradis makes his way down the slalom course at Mt. Abram during the Class A skiing state championships Wednesday, February 18, 2015.(Photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer)Fri, 20 Feb 2015 09:04:22 +0000
State skiing championships: Yarmouth girls take ninth straight title Wed, 18 Feb 2015 03:06:53 +0000 The Yarmouth girls and Maranacook boys repeated as overall champions in Class B skiing. Fort Kent did likewise in Class C.

In Alpine competition condensed into one day because of Monday’s postponed races, the Cape Elizabeth girls successfully defended their Class B title Tuesday at Bigrock Ski Area in Mars Hill.

“It was a good ending to four long days,” said Capers Alpine Coach Jeff Davis. “It wasn’t looking too good after we came up Saturday to beat the storm and had two days to kill in Presque Isle.”

Emma Landes was second in giant slalom and third in slalom for the Capers. Emma Dvorozniak was second in slalom and third in giant slalom.

Margaret Elder of Yarmouth (giant slalom) and Erin Guilmet of Maranacook (slalom) won individual Class B Alpine titles. Among Class B boys, Bryce Smith (giant slalom) and Nathan Delmar of Maranacook (slalom) won. Alexa Pelletier of Fort Kent and Nick Newman of Mountain Valley swept the Class C races.

In 5K freestyle at Presque Isle’s Nordic Heritage Center, Kaelyn Woods of Gray-New Gloucester defended her Class B title and Yarmouth’s John Lane won for boys. Merriconeag earned its fifth straight Nordic girls’ title and third straight for boys. Forrest McCurdy and Tucker Pierce went 1-2, followed by Zach Neveu in fifth and Nick Neveu in seventh. Fiona Ahearne won the girls’ race ahead of teammates Samantha Pierce (third), Olivia Skillings (fourth) and Louise Ahearne (10th).

Yarmouth’s girls won the Class B Nordic crown, with Freeport in second. Emma Torres led the Clippers with a third-place finish, Grace Cowles was fifth and Lucy Alexander placed sixth. Elizabeth Martin and Lily Johnston finished 2-4 for Freeport.

The overall girls’ title is Yarmouth’s ninth in a row.

Maranacook’s boys won both Alpine and Nordic titles, with Freeport second in both as well as in the overall standings.


The Class A meet opened with slalom races at Mt. Abram and classical races at Stark’s Hill in Fryeburg.

Falmouth claimed all four individual titles. Siblings Tom and Krysia Lesniak won the slalom – Tom by close to three seconds, and Krysia by more than six.

In the 5-kilometer classical race, Gabe Mahoney dusted a field of 55 by more than a minute in 14:48, and London Bernier finished 27 seconds ahead of her nearest pursuer in a field of 59.

Through two of four events, Falmouth’s girls hold a commanding lead in the overall standings with 62 points. Fryeburg is in second (225), followed by Oxford Hills (226), Edward Little (251) and Greely (266).

Mt. Blue leads the boys’ standings with 82 points, followed by Leavitt (159), Greely (201), Oxford Hills (233) and Fryeburg (238). Falmouth is out of the running because it has only two Alpine skiers.

Falmouth leads Leavitt by five points in Nordic, with Iain Kurry (seventh), Devin Ventura (10th) and Ethan Cantlin (11th) backing up Mahoney.


]]> 0 Tue, 17 Feb 2015 22:12:23 +0000
Class B/C skiing: Yarmouth, Merriconeag lead way in state meets Tue, 17 Feb 2015 00:43:54 +0000 A bit later than planned, the Class B and C skiing state championships got under way Monday afternoon in Presque Isle.

Kaelyn Woods of Gray-New Gloucester and Samantha Pierce of Merriconeag defended their classical individual titles in B and C, respectively.

“I think it was the coldest weather I’ve raced in all year,” said Woods, who completed the 5-kilometer course at the Nordic Heritage Center in 17 minutes, 43 seconds – more than a minute faster than any of 119 other girls in both classes. “In the woods it wasn’t too bad, but in a few of the more exposed parts the wind had blown so much that there wasn’t really a track anymore.”

Pierce led the 58 Class C skiers with a time of 18:29.

For boys, Ethan Harriman of Maranacook and Forrest McCurdy of Merriconeag each won his first individual state title. Harriman won Class B in 15:29 to top a field of 59. McCurdy won Class C in 15:50 in a field of 66.

In team competition, Yarmouth’s girls and Maranacook’s boys lead in Class B, while Merriconeag is dominant in Class C.

With McCurdy and Tucker Pierce going 1-2, Merriconeag’s boys hold a 28-point lead on Fort Kent (17-45), with Orono third at 59.

Samantha Pierce and Fiona Ahearne also went 1-2 for Merriconeag’s girls, who hold a 15-54 lead over Orono. Waynflete is third at 62, Telstar fourth at 71 and Fort Kent fifth at 81.

Five Yarmouth girls finished in the top 10, led by Grace Cowles (fourth) and Emma Torres (fifth), and the Clippers have a 24-37 advantage over Freeport. Maranacook and Caribou are tied for third at 70. Kents Hill is fifth at 72.

Maranacook’s boys lead Freeport 29-39. Caribou (40) is third, followed by Yarmouth (61), Presque Isle (76) and Cape Elizabeth (110).

High winds and bitterly cold temperatures forced the postponement of the morning’s Alpine schedule of slalom races at Bigrock Ski Area in nearby Mars Hill. Now, instead of two runs each in slalom Monday and two in giant slalom Tuesday, skiers are allowed one run of giant slalom Tuesday morning and one run of slalom early Tuesday afternoon. That pushes the concluding Nordic freestyle race back an hour, to a 5:30 p.m. start for the girls. The sun sets in Presque Isle at 5.

“We’re racing under the lights,” Woods said. “That’ll be different.”

]]> 0 Mon, 16 Feb 2015 21:11:33 +0000
High school skiing preview: State championship format undergoes another makeover Fri, 26 Dec 2014 09:00:00 +0000 Last winter’s experiment of stretching out the high school skiing state championships over a two-week period proved less than successful.

This winter, the operative word is compact.

Instead of two Alpine and two Nordic events held over a three-day period, the state championships will be two-day affairs, with Alpine in the morning and Nordic in the afternoon.

What’s more, the Class B and C schools will run their championships concurrently, with skiers sorted by classification after the competition.

Ted Hall, the Yarmouth principal who serves as chair of the Maine Principals’ Association skiing committee, said the reasons for the changes are two-fold.

“The feedback from schools is that they, for the most part, would rather do these during February break rather than getting (kids) pulled out of school,” Hall said.

February school vacation, of course, is when a lot of downhill ski areas enjoy a surge of popularity. Few are willing to hand over a lodge and a slope for racing during that week.

“We only had one mountain (in Western Maine) willing to host the Alpine (state meet) during February vacation week,” Hall said.

That’s why the MPA tried pushing the Alpine state meets back a week last February. This winter, Mt. Abram will host Class A Alpine on the Tuesday and Wednesday of vacation week, while the other two classes run gates at Big Rock in Mars Hill on Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 16-17.

Nordic competition in Class A is scheduled for Stark’s Hill in Fryeburg. Classes B and C will race at the Nordic Heritage Center in Presque Isle.

Athletes planning to compete in all four disciplines for the skimeister title will be busier than ever, particularly with an hour’s transport between Class A venues.

“But the longer these (meets) go on, the more expensive it is,” Hall said. “Given the small number of kids who do skimeister, the feeling is that we should pay attention to the bigger question of finances.”

Last winter, 16 boys and 17 girls entered all four events, with 10 girls in Class B the largest skimeister field and two boys in Class A the smallest.

“It’s a nice tradition we’ve had in Maine but it’s been hard to maintain,” Hall said. “Now you need separate skis for slalom and giant slalom, and of course separate skis for classic and freestyle. That’s a huge investment. It’s hard to be good in all four disciplines.”

As for safety concerns about a wobbly-legged skier running gates down a precipitous incline, Hall said ski coaches felt that holding Alpine before Nordic was the smart way to go.

“We think we’re going to be able to pull it off,” Hall said. “We’re putting the slalom and classic on the first day and the giant slalom and freestyle on the second day.”

In recent years, skimeisters only doubled up on the middle day of a three-day meet.

“Now it’ll be two busy days instead of one,” said Yarmouth Nordic Coach Bob Morse, in his 33rd winter of leading the program. “Having the Alpine in the morning reduces a tremendous amount of stress. Nordic is more relaxing.”

Longer daylight hours in February will help, and the Nordic Heritage Center has lights on some of its trails, should those Nordic races take longer given the combined classes.

“It’s going to be a long day,” Morse said. “But it’s going to be exciting.”

John Weston, the Fryeburg Nordic coach, said he believes 1984 was the last year Stark’s Hill hosted a state meet. Black Mountain in Rumford will concentrate on its downhill clientele during February vacation.

“We’re very excited to take that on,” Weston said before tipping his cap to the army of red-jacketed volunteers at Black Mountain. “They’ve supported us for so long. It’s good to mix it up.”

Another change being discussed is to follow the more spectator-friendly format in Nordic of making freestyle a pursuit race based on the finishing times in classical.

Two conferences – Kennebec Valley and Mountain Valley – already use the pursuit format. The Western Maine Conference will do so with a classic race Feb. 4 in at Libby Hill in Gray followed by a pursuit skate race at Stark’s Hill on Feb. 7.

“The MPA wanted us all to try it at our conference championships,” Weston said. “If all goes well, we’ll adopt it at the state level.”

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH

]]> 0, ME - DECEMBER 4: Yarmouth High School cross country skiers Sammy Potter, left, Henry Jones, center, and Ethan Humphries, right, during practice at Yarmouth High School on Thursday, December 4, 2014. (Photo by Whitney Hayward/Staff Photographer)Wed, 18 Feb 2015 10:31:55 +0000
Skiers to watch Fri, 26 Dec 2014 09:00:00 +0000 GIRLS

Lily Johnston, Freeport junior: Class B runner-up in classical who was fifth in freestyle, leading Freeport to runner-up Nordic finish.

Krysia Lesniak, Falmouth junior: Class B runner-up in slalom and third in giant slalom. Top Mainer in slalom (13th place) at Eastern high school championships.

Lizzy Martin, Freeport senior: Runner-up in Class B freestyle and seventh in classical.

Keaton McEvoy, Gray-New Gloucester junior: Defending Class B skimeister, finished between 13th and 18th in all four events.

Anna Morin, Falmouth senior: Defending Class A skimeister, placed fourth in freestyle and seventh in classic.

Lydia Morin, Camden Hills senior: Class B runner-up in both slalom and giant slalom as a sophomore, fourth in slalom and sixth in GS last winter.

Samantha Pierce, Merriconeag senior: Defending Class C classical champion who was runner-up in freestyle.

Alex Shapiro, Falmouth junior: Class A runner-up in giant slalom and third in slalom, helping Falmouth win overall state title.

Emma Torres, Yarmouth senior: Third in Class B freestyle and fifth in classical to help Clippers win Nordic and overall state titles.

Kaelyn Woods, Gray-New Gloucester junior: Defending Class B freestyle and classical champ. Won Class B skimeister as a freshman.


Caleb Abbott, Freeport senior: Fourth in Class B giant slalom, helping Falcons finish second in both Alpine and overall.

Ryder Bennell, Freeport senior: Won Class C giant slalom as a sophomore, and last winter placed eighth in Class B slalom.

Blake Enrico, Freeport senior: Ninth in Class B slalom and 10th in giant slalom to help Falcons placed second in state.

Tom Lesniak, Falmouth junior: Class A giant slalom runner-up who placed third in slalom to help Falmouth place second overall.

Gabe Mahoney, Falmouth senior: Class A runner-up in freestyle who placed third in classical to help Falmouth win Nordic state title.

Forrest McCurdy, Merriconeag junior: Third in Class C freestyle and fifth in classical to lead Merriconeag to Nordic title defense.

Andrew Mills, Scarborough junior: SMAA runner-up in both slalom and giant slalom.

Curtis Paradis, Biddeford senior: Class A slalom champion as a sophomore and SMAA slalom champ as a junior. Led Class A giant slalom through one run before crashing.

Graham Roeber, Merriconeag senior: Third in Class C classical and sixth in freestyle.

Eric Wilcox, Gray-New Gloucester junior: Two-time defending Class B skimeister who placed seventh in giant slalom, ninth in freestyle, 11th in classic and 13th in slalom.

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Ski teams to watch Fri, 26 Dec 2014 09:00:00 +0000 GIRLS

1 Yarmouth: The eight-time defending state champions show no sign of loosening their grip on the Class B title. Seniors Caitlin Teare, Sarah Myers and Emma Torres and junior Lucy Alexander lead a strong Nordic contingent. Junior Anna Bouton and sophomore Hannah Van Alstine do likewise for a young Alpine squad.

2 Falmouth: Senior Anna Morin (Class A skimeister), junior London Bernier and sophomore Lucy Mahoney each had a pair of top-10 Nordic finishes at states. Senior Maggie Coster, juniors Krysia Lesniak and Alex Shapiro and sophomore Audrey Morin scored in Alpine.

3 Freeport: After winning consecutive Class C titles, the Falcons moved up to Class B last winter and placed third overall. Senior Wynne Cushing leads the Alpine squad, and classmate Lizzy Martin and junior Lily Johnston spearhead the Nordic contingent.

4 Cape Elizabeth: Senior Emma Landes, junior Emma Dvorozniak and sophomores Kinnon McGrath and Caroline Paclat return from the defending Class B Alpine state champion. An improved Nordic squad, led by seniors Amelia Morrissey and Rhoen Fiutak, could lift the Capers into overall contention.

5 Merriconeag: Senior Samantha Pierce leads the four-time defending Class C Nordic champion along with junior Fiona Ahearne (not to be confused with senior Fiona Chace-Donahue or sophomore Fiona Libby, making Merriconeag far and away the Fiona-est team in Maine).


1 Yarmouth: Seeking a third overall Class B title in four years, the Clippers are coming off a Nordic state title but need four new scorers. Veterans Tim Pietropaoli, Henry Becker and Henry Jones lead the way. Senior Jake Inger heads an Alpine contingent that includes junior Jack Diggins and sophomore George Jutras.

2 Falmouth: Runners-up to Mt. Blue in Class A in the overall competition, Falmouth is well-positioned to defend its Nordic title with returning seniors Gabe Mahoney, Iain Kurry, Scott Lambert and Ethan Cantlin. Junior Tom Lesniak leads an Alpine team that lacks depth.

3 Freeport: Runners-up in Class B after doing likewise in Class C two years in a row, the Falcons surged ahead of Yarmouth in the final slalom event and once more will challenge. Seniors Blake Enrico, Ryder Bennell and Caleb Abbott lead in Alpine, and sophomore Bennett Hight heads a young Nordic squad.

4 Gray-New Gloucester: Fourth in Class B the past two winters, the Patriots return a small but solid group led by two-time skimeister Eric Wilcox, a senior, and junior Ben Rogers, a Nordic specialist.

5 Merriconeag: The two-time defending Class C Nordic champion is looking to make it three in a row with seniors Graham Roeber, Zach Neveu and Lars Gundersen, junior Forrest McCurdy and sophomore Tucker Pierce pushing the pace.

This story was updated at 8:15 a.m. on December 26th to correct the name of Cape Elizabeth’s Emma Landes. A previous version had misidentified her as Emma Torres.

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