RUMFORD — Don’t count Owen Redfield among those lamenting the precipitous temperature plunge from Wednesday’s spring-like warmth to Thursday’s bundle-up-again cold.

A junior at Yarmouth High, Redfield slogged through a slushy cross-country skiing course at Black Mountain in Wednesday’s classical portion of the two-day Nordic state championship meet.

“It was not good for skiing whatsoever,” he said. “There were puddles. There was ice. There was lots of herringboning.”

Even worse, Redfield had drawn bib No. 2, which meant 46 skiers started behind him at 30-second intervals and only one in front. Self-pacing has never been his strong suit.

“I really need people to be with me to help push me,” he said. “Going off second was hard, trying to lead the pack.”

In Thursday’s concluding freestyle pursuit, Redfield switched from hunted to hunter and the results were startling. Eleven skiers with faster classical times started ahead of him Thursday, and he passed six of them to lift Yarmouth from runner-up status to the Class B Nordic championship.


Yarmouth was the only team among the six Nordic champions to overcome a positional deficit from the classical standings. Under a format adopted by the Maine Principals’ Association a few years ago, freestyle skiers start according to their classical results – fastest goes first – and only pursuit placements count toward the overall team score.

Mt. Blue swept the boys’ and girls’ Class A titles by decisive margins, with Portland’s boys second by 20 points and the girls of Cheverus and Deering tying for second, 53 points back.

Seniors Emma Charles of Mt. Blue and Joey Rouhana of Falmouth turned in the fastest freestyle times, extending cushions they built up from Wednesday’s classical races.

“These are more the conditions I like racing in – fast,” said Charles, whose time of 12:56 was more than a minute faster than any other girl, regardless of class. “There’s still a little bit of softness in the snow, but it wasn’t slowing me down.

Rouhana (11:34) was one of only three skiers Thursday to break 12 minutes. The others were Falmouth teammate Ryan Gray (11:46) and Luke Streinz (11:59) of Southern Aroostook.

“My time was one of the fastest 5Ks I’ve ever skied just because it was such fast snow,” Rouhana said. “I had no one to push me, so people behind me had a little bit of an advantage. But I really enjoy skate racing and I had a lot of people cheering me on.”


In Class B, the Maranacook girls held off Leavitt by seven points, and Freeport fell three points shy of Yarmouth for the boys’ title.

In Class C, Fort Kent repeated as the girls’ champion, with Waynflete finishing second by 12 points. Mt. Abram’s boys saw their cushion shrink to four points but triumphed over Fort Kent.

The Yarmouth boys entered the day trailing 2020 champion Freeport by five places. Redfield covered the 5-kilometer course in 12 minutes, 2.6 seconds – faster than anyone in Class B.

Classmates Aksel Yeo (third) and Stuart Baybutt (15th) maintained their positions and Cornelius Welsh dropped slightly from fourth to seventh as Yarmouth earned its first Nordic state title since 2014.

“He had a bit of a rough race (Wednesday),” first-year Yarmouth Coach Chris Whalen said of Redfield. “We used that as fuel (Thursday). ‘You’ve got some guys right in front of you, go get ’em. Chase them down and get the places, get the points.’ He did that.”

Leavitt junior Logan Ouellette added the Class B pursuit title to his classical victory, holding off Freeport’s Sam Robinson by slightly more than one second. They sprinted to the finish until Robinson lost his balance a few yards from the line.

“I caught one of his poles,” said Robinson, who later embraced Ouellette in a congratulatory hug.

Kayley Bell of Caribou (Class B) and Ruth White of Orono (Class C) each swept the classical, freestyle and pursuit titles. Emma Haims of Maine Coast Waldorf was the runner-up in Class B.

Among Class C boys, Alex Hemingway of Mt. Abram took advantage of his minute-plus classical cushion to hold off Abrahm Geissinger of Spruce Mountain by 40 seconds, with Streinz another five back.

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