FARMINGTON — Sure, the trophies and medals are nice. But at Mt. Blue High School, nothing beats the two gold vests the school’s Nordic skiers pass around to each other for various accomplishments, whether tremendous or trivial.

So it’s probably no surprise that after Mt. Blue swept the Class A boys’ and girls’ Nordic state championships Tuesday at Titcomb Mountain, the Cougars made sure those gold vests shared space in the team photo with the title trophies, medals and the “Mt. Blue Nordic Pride” banner during the postrace ceremony at the high school.

The Mt. Blue girls won their fourth straight title, scoring 790 points to beat out Falmouth (738) and Cheverus (734). The boys raced to their third straight title and eighth out of nine seasons with 786 points. Portland (762) and Brunswick (760) followed in second and third.

Break out the awards … and the vests.

“We know that our teams do well out here, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously,” fifth-year coach Emmy Held said. “It was just kind of a fun thing to remind ourselves that it does not need to be the most serious thing. As coaches, we’re here to support them and make sure it’s fun. It’s a little reminder out there. The kids love it.”

Freeport won the Class B boys’ title, while Greely took the Class B girls’ crown. Fort Kent swept Class C honors.


The Cougars’ accolades spilled over to individuals, too. Mt. Blue’s Nora McCourt captured the Class A girls’ pursuit title with a combined time of 31:39.3 – adding results from Monday’s classical race and Tuesday’s freestyle race. Teammate Maya Kelley (33:16.4) was second, while Natalie McCarthy (fourth, 34:18.1), Lucinda Carroll (seventh, 33:33.4) and Abby Dorr (10th, 39:24.4) also placed in the top 10 for the Cougars.

Henri McCourt, Nora’s twin brother, repeated as boys’ pursuit champion with a combined time of 27:20.6, beating out Portland’s Henry Morrison (28:19.1) and George Ayer (28:23.3). Mt. Blue’s Elias Bartlett (fourth, 28:27.5), Damian Wynn (fifth, 29:32.2) and Luke Doscinski (10th, 30:40.7) also turned in top-10 finishes.

The twins also swept the classical races Monday and won the KVAC individual titles earlier this month.

So what’s the secret of Mt. Blue’s constant success? Practice? Video study? Analytics? 

“We just have a blast out there,” Held said with a grin. “I think it’s the love of skiing that keeps it fun. If it was all about winning, it wouldn’t be that fun. For us, we love skiing, we love to be fast, we love to be challenged. I push them, we all have new goals each year and different things I want to work on with them, different things they want to work on, and we just find that middle ground.”

Nora McCourt, who earned the right to start the 5-kilometer freestyle race first by virtue of her first-place finish Monday, raced to the finish line in 14 minutes, 6.3 seconds, while other skiers were still starting.


“It feels really good. Today was sort of a really fun race,” the junior said, continuing her team’s theme of balancing fun and work. “The track was beautiful, the grooming was phenomenal and the snow was really fast out there, which made the uphills and downhills really exciting.”

The skiers generally had nothing put praise for the conditions under chilly but sunny skies.

“I felt like I was able to push hard and ski really well in the descents,” Henri McCourt said. “I’m quite happy with it. Really fun conditions, really fast snow. Some of the descents were getting a little skied-off and icy, but it was still super fun. It’s a little different than our usual course, but it’s honestly cool. It’s a fun variation.”

In Class B, Freeport’s Teo Steverlynck-Horne took individual pursuit honors in 26:57.7, beating Maranacook’s Wyatt Stevenson (28:26.2) and Freeport’s Owen Dawson (28:41.8).

Steverlynck-Horne said he received an extra boost from cheers and cowbells as he burst out of the woods ahead of the other skiers. 

“At the end of the race, I’m usually like, dead, but the crowd really wakes you right up,” said Steverlynck-Horne, who cheerfully high-fived his fellow top-10 finishers during the awards ceremony. “Especially going up the hills, when you’re in the woods, you can sort of fall asleep in between crowds, but when you hear the energy, it fills you.


“It was a fast course, a little icy, the corners were a little sketchy, but it was definitely a good course.” 

Greely’s Sylvia Harvey won the Class B girls’ title in 34:33.8, nosing out Maranacook’s Elsa Bergdahl (34:59.2) and Greely’s Rowan Barry (35:06.6). 

Fort Kent grabbed the top five spots in Class C boys, led by Alden Reardon’s 27:56.0. Fletcher Marquis, Quinn Michaud, Rafael Sanclemente and Mitchell Harvey rounded out the top five.

Orono’s Clara White took Class C girls’ honors in 32:43.3, followed by Fort Kent’s Rowan Tanguay (34:40.5) and Maine Coast Waldorf’s Soren Stark-Chessa (34:58.3).

White, a sophomore, dethroned a familiar name – her older sister, Ruth, winner of three New England cross country titles and last year’s pursuit champ. 

Clara White said the competition with her sister is a healthy one. 

“It’s really fun,” the younger White said. “We train together, we ski together a lot of the time, which is really fun, so I like it.”

Nora McCourt and Steverlynck-Horne received the Tom Sayward Memorial Cup, awarded to the fastest skiers.


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