June 23, 2018
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Fort Kent boys capture Class C state ski title; Oxford Hills girls win in Class A

By Justin Pelletier, Sun Journal

The two programs that have combined to win the past 10 Class C boys’ championships and the past eight girls’ titles didn’t disappoint this week in Aroostook County.

The Freeport girls and Fort Kent boys earned their respective Class C crowns Wednesday after the completion of the slalom event at Big Rock Ski Area.

Meanwhile, in the Class A meets in Greenwood, the Oxford Hills girls and the Falmouth boys captured state crowns.

In Class C, The boys’ slalom race proved to be the difference for Fort Kent, which placed four skiers among the top eight to earn 20 points, while Freeport struggled in the demanding race, posting 42 points to fall out of first place.

The Warriors’ margin of victory for the overall title was four points, 153-157.

On the girls’ side, the Falcons’ Nordic team built a large lead in its two events Monday and Tuesday and the slalom skiers coasted to the title Wednesday, despite a third-place finish in the Alpine combined championship.

Mountain Valley’s girls’ squad raced to a second-place finish in the Alpine combined event, while the Falcons’ boys’ squad placed third. The St. Dom’s girls and Telstar boys’ each placed fifth in the Alpine combined competition.

In Class B, after the first day of competition in the state championships at Black Mountain of Maine in Rumford, the Yarmouth Clippers have built slim leads in both the boys’ and girls’ competition.

The Clippers’ 24 points in the boys’ classical race Wednesday were seven better than second-place Maranacook.

Mt. Abram sits in fourth with 79 points, 19 back of third-place Caribou, while Gray-New Gloucester is in fifth.

On the girls’ side, Yarmouth’s lead is eight (25-33) over Caribou.

The Black Bears of Maranacook are in third position, with Cape Elizabeth in fourth, Mt. Abram in fifth and the Gray-New Gloucester Patriots in sixth after one event.

In the Class A meet, the Oxford Hills girls’ ski team pulled out its greatest triumph in 36 years, thanks in part to the efforts of a pair of skiers so determined to finish their runs that they hiked up the mountain.

Colleen Stauder led the Vikings with a seventh-place finish, fellow senior Amanda Hanning placed 15th, and McKayla Ivey and Ellen Bessette gutted out 30th- and 52nd-place finishes respectively as Oxford Hills edged Falmouth by two points to claim the Class A girls’ overall skiing crown at Mt. Abram Ski Resort.

“Did we make it?” Oxford Hills Alpine coach Mike Grace asked after the race. “I know we had a couple of skiers struggle on their second runs, but we all made it.

“The girls skied well all year, really. Those top four girls are really consistent,” he said.

Miranda Murphy and Annika Kahkonen completed the Vikings’ competing six Wednesday.

The Oxford Hills’ Alpine ski team didn’t win its state title, running into a deep and talented Greely squad that placed four skiers in the top 10 of Wednesday’s slalom.

The Vikings’ Nordic squad fared similarly, falling behind a stacked Falmouth team at Black Mountain of Maine on Monday and Tuesday.

But together, there was plenty to celebrate.

The win snaps Mt. Blue’s streak of eight consecutive overall titles. The Cougars had won 19 of the previous 21 overall championships, defeated only by Leavitt in 2003 and Edward Little in 2004.

In most cases, Mt. Blue won the overall title while also earning the Alpine crown. But lacking depth on the girls’ side this season, the Cougars fell out of the top five in Alpine, and placed fifth in the overall.

The Vikings were the picture of consistency all week, getting help from both Nordic and Alpine teams.

“We’ve had a number of years where we’ve had a good cross country team, but not an alpine team, or we’ve had a good alpine team and not so good in cross country,” Oxford Hills Nordic coach Chris Easton said. “And then it all takes a little bit of luck, to have everything all fall into place. This happens to be one of those years.”

The Greely Rangers, meanwhile, were simply dominant at Mt. Abram. After a 32-point performance Tuesday in the giant slalom, they placed four skiers in the top 11 of the slalom race to post 24 points, for a two-race total of 57, well ahead of Edward Little (138) in second.

“If you ski your first run clean, and once we had two down in the second run, we said, ‘Let them fly,'” Greely coach Mark Ouellette said. “We did across the board.”

Elyse Dinan led the way for Greely with a third-place finish. Teal Otley placed fourth and Jill Booth sixth respectively, while Jordan Ouellette completed the scoring for the Rangers in 11th position.

“Last year, we lost only one race all year, and that was the last race of the season,” Ouellette said. “This year, we didn’t lose any. This is a great group of girls, and we really only lose one and there’s more coming in behind them.”

Edward Little’s Allarie Lever — the individual champion in the giant slalom Tuesday — finished off an impressive sweep, earning the Class A slalom title Wednesday in a combined time of 1:29.46, 1.01 seconds better than Marissa Roberts of Gorham.

Lever didn’t lose a single race this season.

“I’m still in shock,” Lever said. “It’s crazy.”

Paced by a blistering pair of Nordic races Monday and Tuesday at Black Mountain, Falmouth, which entered Wednesday’s finale with a slight lead over the Vikings for the overall tile, took home second overall.

In the Alpine combined competition, Oxford Hills, Fryeburg Academy and Falmouth rounded out the top five behind Greely and EL.

Following Oxford Hills and Falmouth in the girls’ overall championship race were Fryeburg, Greely and Mt. Blue.

Kelsey Liljedhal of Fryeburg was the top skimeister in girls’ Class A, edging Jessie Hoffman of Greely by 11 points.

In the Class A girls meet, even with a bobble and a near-missed gate, Falmouth avenged its year-old collapse in grand fashion.

Four Falmouth skiers placed in the top 22 of Wednesday’s slalom race to clinch for the Yachtsmen the 2013 Alpine and overall Class A ski titles.

Following Falmouth and Oxford Hills into the Alpine top five were Edward Little, Marshwood and Mt. Blue.

In the boys’ overall championship, Falmouth and Mt. Blue were joined in the top five by Greely, Leavitt and Fryeburg.

Curtis Paradis was the individual slalom champion, while Doug Mitiguy of Greely was the top Class A skimeister.

“Our main goal is to get the alpine, for sure,” Falmouth Alpine coach Tip Kimball said, “but the Nordic team did very well, too, and congratulations to them. We’ll take the overall, as well.”

One year ago, the Yachtsmen were in a similar position, with a solid lead in the Alpine event after the giant slalom, only to have three of the team’s skiers falter in the slalom runs the following day, and they watched their title hopes crash down the hill.

This year, after another solid giant slalom and two outstanding days on the trails at Black Mountain of Maine in the Nordic skiing competition, Falmouth would not be denied, though one of the Yachtsmen’s top four had a hiccup on his second slalom run.

“A no-finish is unacceptable,” Kimball said. “That was the other strategy. If you do make a mistake, and you miss a gate or fall, you have to hike.”

Alexander Gowen hiked, and hiked quickly.

“It becomes a hiking contest,” Kimball said. “Who can hike the fastest? And then you have to go down the hill fast.”

Oxford Hills’ Alpine team took home second place behind Falmouth in the GS and third n slalom, giving the Vikings second place in the Alpine combined competition.

Perennial contender and many-time champion Mt. Blue remained steady all week, as well, taking second in the Nordic combined and fifth in the Alpine events to hold down a second-place overall finish. The Cougars’ Dylan Roberts led the way in the slalom event Wednesday.

Other top area individuals in the slalom included Oxford Hills’ Ben Brown in sixth place, the Vikings’ Matt Michaud in eighth, EL’s Evan Mancini in 10th and the Eddies’ Tanner Dillingham in 19th.

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