June 20, 2018
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Luce’s giant slalom win vaults Mt. Abram girls into first place at state meet

By Randy Whitehouse, Sun Journal

RUMFORD, Maine — The name Luce has been a constant at the top of the Class B girls’ Alpine standings for nearly a decade.

Erica, Emily and Erin have been a dynasty under the same roof for Mt. Abram and their coach/father, Bob. But none has been at the top of the mountain in the giant slalom more than Elise.

Elise Luce, a junior, won her third state giant slalom title in three years Thursday at Black Mountain. Combined with sister Emily’s back-to-back championships in 2009-10, the Luce family has brought home gold in the event for five years in a row.

Despite the winning tradition, Elise Luce wasn’t taking anything for granted.

“I was really nervous today because I didn’t know a lot of the people that would be here and how good they were and how I would do against them,” she said.

Luce couldn’t have done much better in the cold, blustery conditions, finishing first on each run for a combined 1:34.51. Lydia Morin of Camden Hills was second in 1:35.93. Yarmouth’s Chapin Dorsett was third (1:39.59).

“I just wanted to ski well,” Luce said. “I didn’t have much of a strategy coming in.”

“My Dad said my line on top was really good. That was a surprise to me because I’ve struggled with that the last few years,” she added.

Kaelyn Woods of Gray-New Gloucester finished ninth, Casidee Couture of Spruce Mountain 10th.

Luce’s teammates, Emily Listowich, Anna Pelegay and Bailey Debiase placed 11th, 12th and 16th respectively, to vault the Roadrunners into first place in the Alpine standings with 40 points.

“We didn’t really talk about it coming in,” Luce said. “As a whole, we just wanted everyone to ski well.”

Yarmouth was second with 46. Camden Hills and Gray-New Gloucester tied for third with 80 points each, followed by Spruce Mountain with 86 points.

Alec Daigle of Maranacook won the boys’ race with top times on his two runs for a combined 1:29.93, ahead of Gray-New Gloucester’s Noah Lobozzo (1:31.16). Robert Sarka of Cape Elizabeth was third (1:32.62).

Yarmouth leads the overall Alpine standings heading into Friday’s slalom finale with 39 points, followed by Maranacook (48), Spruce Mountain (59), Camden Hills (66) and Cape Elizabeth (66).

Yarmouth swept the overall Nordic title for the second year in a row. The girls captured their third consecutive championship after dominating Thursday’s skate with four of the top nine finishers. Caribou was second, 17 points back. Maranacook, Cape Elizabeth and Mt. Abram rounded out the top five.

The Yarmouth boys were even more dominant, accumulating just 24 points Thursday to wrap up their second consecutive title with 38 total points over the two days, 42 points ahead of runner-up Maranacook. Caribou, Gray-New Gloucester and Mt. Abram rounded out the top five.

The Clippers’ performance was especially stunning considering they lost a number of top skiers not only to graduation, but to private skiing academies. But junior Braden Becker led the wave of new talent by winning both the classical and skate titles.

Becker credited long-time coach Bob Morse with getting the Clippers back to the top despite having considerably less depth this season.

“It’s all in the coaching,” he said. “We had a really small team this year. We just banded together and really attacked it. We lost our three best skiers and it was looking very dark at the beginning of the season, but we pulled it together.”

Becker battled the bitter cold and wind to win in 12:20.1.

“Compared to [Wednesday], it was completely different conditions, so it took a little time getting used to that,” Becker said. “But the coaches talked us through the race strategy, how to attack the wind, and it worked really well. It was a little tough in the stadium with the wind, but once you in the woods it wasn’t bad.”

For the second day in a row, Mt. Abram’s Thomas Faraday was runner-up (12:24.1), but the junior had other goals in mind.

“I’m really happy,” Faraday said. “I came just looking to ski well for my team and I think we came out and had a great team finish. I was looking to see how I stacked up against everyone else in my class, especially going into the Eastern High School Championship qualifier in a couple of weeks back at home at Sugarloaf.”

Yarmouth’s Sam Alexander was third. Eric Wilcox of Gray-New Gloucester finished seventh and Jay Chenard of Mt. Abram was 10th.

Wilcox and Woods lead in the boys’ and girls’ skimeister standings.

Yarmouth’s Alpine team will have a good chance to make it back-to-back overall boys’ skiing titles on Friday. The Clippers (77) lead Maranacook (128) by 51 points. Caribou (243) is third.

Like Becker, Maranacook’s Caroline Colan followed her classical title with a skate championship on Thursday, besting Cape Elizabeth’s Dana Hatton by 13 seconds with a time of 15:04.20.

“My goal was to win the classic race, and after [winning it], it was the first time I thought maybe I could win the skate race, too,” Colan said. “My goal for today was pretty much making top three. First would be a plus.”

Yarmouth’s girls are on the verge of their seventh consecutive overall skiing title, heading into Thursday’s fourth and final event with 98 points, followed by Maranacook (211), Mt. Abram (225) and Cape Elizabeth (246).

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