RUMFORD — Nordic skiers trying to find out where they stack up against the state’s best got a pretty good indicator Saturday when many of Maine’s high school teams congregated at Black Mountain for the Sassi Memorial 5K classical race.

Leavitt’s Roy Varney is in a pretty good spot. Varney finished the 5-kilometer course in 13 minutes, 36.2 seconds – winning the boys’ race by 13.6 seconds over Carter McPhedran of Maranacook.

“I feel fast and I think I did pretty good,” Varney said before the final results were announced. “This race is kind of an identification race; I want to see where everybody else is at, and want to see where I am classic-wise, so I can know how to go forward.”

On this course, times were fast. It was packed down, and some racers said thin layers of ice helped make the times quicker than usual.

McPhedran was happy with his race. He was the 57th boys’ skier to start and got helpful information from Maranacook’s coaches along the course.

“We had some coaches out there giving us splits, so that was really useful to keep your head in the game in a race like this with such a big field,” said McPhedran.

“The snow was pretty fast and there was some give and take of skiing in the track and skiing out of the track, just in terms of which side was faster.

“I always say this is the biggest race of the year because the field is so big that there’s only a couple other races that rival it.”

Maranacook’s Gabe Fein finished third place with a time of 13:54.8, and Ethan Livingood of Falmouth was fourth in 14:00. Livingood attributed his fast finish in part to the conditions.

“The track was really good and there was a thin layer of ice over the top, which made it really fast,” Livingood said. “The track stayed firm, which was really nice, so the kick wasn’t a real issue.”

Mt. Blue’s Sam Smith finished fifth, followed by teammates Dom Giampietro in sixth and Jesse Dalton in eighth.

“This is one of our bigger races before KVACs and states, so this is like a testing race, almost, because it’s one of the biggest races of the year sizewise, so it kind of gives you a feel of what states is like, which is good to prepare,” Smith said.

Two girls who know exactly where they stand in the state after Saturday race are Emma Charles of Mt. Blue and Emily Gerencer of St. Dom’s, who finished first and second.

Charles skied to a time of 15:27, 3.3 seconds faster than Gerencer. Charles, a freshman, was a bit nervous because of the number of competitors.

“It definitely gives me a better feel how it is to race against so many people,” Charles said. “We’ve had like 70 people, not 100-something. It’s a little intimidating at first, but it’s all schools we’ve competed against before, so it’s nothing too new.”

Gerencer, a senior, was 58 seconds faster than third-place Lily Horne of Freeport. Lilo Bean of Gould Academy and Grace Tumavicus of Portland rounded out the top five.

Falmouth’s Eva Clement was the first skier for the girls and finished eighth in 16:45.9. Although starting early presented a challenge, Clement was happy with how she handled the race.

“I started first, and so I wanted to keep that and not let anyone pass me,” Clement said. “I think the conditions are pretty steady, so I don’t think it made a difference. It may have made a difference mentally.

“It feels pretty good, (and) I felt good, so I think with more and more practice I’ll be good.”

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