The seniors from the 2011 Freeport ski team celebrate their second straight state championship, this time in Rangeley. Photo provided by Spencer Egan

FREEPORT — When you have a group of people who are committed to becoming better at what they do,  some level of success often follows. That’s what happened in 2010 and 2011 with the Freeport High School boys skiing program.

The Falcons parlayed hard work into back to back Class C titles. The Freeport boys won Alpine titles those seasons, and the Nordic squad took home a title in 2010.

The Falcons ended a dominant run for Fort Kent, which won Class C Alpine titles from 2007-2009. 

Freeport featured a group of skiers who were committed to the grind, but 2011 graduate Max Jennings credited a strong bond between teammates with impacting the title runs. 

“We were so tight away from skiing, meaning we were able to work out together and push one another harder,” Jennings said. “We liked being with each other and had a camaraderie, which helped us enjoy the ride we had even more.”  

In both seasons, the Falcons had to travel to north to win title, including Fort Kent (2010) and Rangeley (2011), which Jennings said helped the team grow closer.

Bennett Wade, also a 2011 Freeport graduate, says he won’t ever forget the trip to Fort Kent for the 2010 state meet.

“The trip to Fort Kent was awesome, we stayed in a hunting lodge and were able to just ski out from the lodge to the trails,” Wade said. 

Wade added that he remembered the Winter Olympics were going on at the time, and the team was able to watch some ski races at the lodge.

While the 2010 trip was fun for the team, it did come with some controversy, according to Spencer Egan, a member of the ski team who graduated in 2011. 

“I’m not not quite sure what happened that day, I just know that it was the closest meet that I have been a part of,” he said.

Fort Kent was going for its fourth straight state title, while Freeport came in looking to spoil the party. The race came down to an exciting finish, with the Falcons squeaking out the win via a tiebreaker, the fifth-placed racer on each team.

The Falcons placed ahead of Fort Kent, securing the victory, although some spectators wondered aloud if the meet should’ve ended in a tie.  

The 2010 Freeport boys Nordic Ski team celebrates its state title in Fort Kent. Photo provided by Spencer Egan

“It was a dramatic finish, I think they were just unaware of the tiebreaker rule at the time,” Egan said. 

After the 2010 title, the Falcons turned the corner, and realized that their work in the offseason had paid off. They continued to work in the offseason going into the 2011 season, something that Egan said was a crucial factor for a repeat run.

“We were dedicated to getting better and working hard, I guess you could say it paid off,” Egan said.

A group of skiers led by Egan and Wade would roller skate in the summer, and ran cross country for the Falcons in the fall. A handful also skied for Maine Coast Nordic, which was a community based ski program in southern Maine. 

In 2011, Rangeley hosted the state championship races. The Falcons placed 2nd overall in Nordic, but came away with the combined state title.

“One of the parents brought a type of structure for the team to stay in while we were up in Rangeley,” Wade said. “It was just another long weekend that we all enjoyed together as a team far away from home.”

Jay Thomas, a former Freeport assistant coach for both the boys and girls teams, said those teams helped change the ski culture in Freeport.

“We had the right combination of coaches and skiers coming up through the program at the right time who loved the grind and enjoyed each others’ company,” Thomas said. “I look back and think of it as all the stars aligning for us at once.” 

Egan said the team was carrying on the winning mentality at the school, after the girls team took home the 2008 and 2009 Class C state titles.

“It meant a lot for us to continue the tradition of Freeport being a winning ski town,” Egan said. 

Freeport had last won a boys state title in skiing in 2006 before the 2010 victory.

 

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