Local skiers win titles in abundance
If any further evidence was necessary, Forecaster Country skiers proved once and for all last week that no one dominates the slopes and trails like they do.
For the second year in a row, every single school in our coverage area captured a state title.
Here's what occurred last week:
Class A: New class, no problem
Falmouth joined Greely in Class A this year, but even with a new set of opponents, managed to excel yet again.
The boys weren't able to repeat as Alpine champs, finishing nine points behind Mt. Blue, but the Yachtsmen won the Nordic title and came in four points ahead of Mt. Blue to take the combined championship.
Falmouth appeared in good shape after winning the giant slalom, as Alexander Gowen (a two-run combined time of 1 minute, 24.91 seconds) placed second, Joe Lesniak (1:27.03) was fourth, Luke Andrews (1:29.03) came in ninth and Austin Couch (1:31.02) finished 15th, but the slalom nearly turned into disaster for the Yachtsmen.
All six Falmouth skiers fell and two were disqualified in the first run, but the four remaining racers managed remarkable second runs to hold off the Cougars.
The Yachtsmen hadn't lost a meet in two years, but appeared doomed after Gowen clipped a gate and fell, Lesniak and Weston Scott followed suit, Benjamin Hilfrank missed twice and eventually skied off the course, Sam Hamilton finished well, but then No. 6 skier, John Lycan, missed the second-to-last gate of the course, negating his sixth-place time in the first run.
"We make it clear to the kids, you know, 'Don't get cocky, we know we have a 21-point, no need to be heroes,'" Falmouth coach Tip Kimball said. "They don't like to hear that all the time, and apparently it didn't sink in."
The second run was a far different story as Scott (16th, 1:38.43), Lesniak (17th, 1:38.46), Hamilton (22nd, 1:42.81) and Gowen (23rd, 1:44.34) managed to save the day. Gowen's second run of 41.79 seconds was easily the best. Lesniak was second and Scott fourth.
"Those four guys finished, and they finished well enough," Kimball said. "We managed the skiing version of a 'Hail Mary.' After we got the team together and got over our anger, we regrouped and asked, 'OK, what are we going to do about this?' The only way we were going to salvage this was if (Mt. Blue) had a racer or two have the same thing happen to them, and our racers, it wasn't just a 'get down in one piece' kind of run. This was, we needed to get two of them in the top five (of the second run) and two more in the top 10."
The Nordic side had some nervous moments as well for Falmouth, but a 27-42 win over Mt. Blue in the freestyle was enough a cushion to lose the classic by two points to the Cougars and still take top honors, 69-82.
Jay Lesser (12:08.3), Jamie McAtherin (12:30.5) and Tim Follo (12:43.7) went 2-3-4 in the freestyle and Sam Pratico was 18th (13:51.4).
Lesser had finished fourth in the classic (14:59.4), with Follo eighth (15:20.9), McAtherin 11th (15:39.8) and Byron Watson 19th ((16:25.8).
"We're definitely disappointed with the Alpine, but we were able to salvage the overall, which is a good thing," Kimball said. "Our Nordic team did a real good job to make that possible."
Greely was sixth in Alpine, eighth in Nordic and seventh combined.
Shane Delbianco was 12th in the slalom (1:37.19) and 13th in the GS (1:30.96).
Doug Mitiguy was 28th in the freestyle (14:29.7) and 36th in the classic (17:45.4).
Luke Wilcox and Richard Judge were fifth and sixth respectively in the Class A skimeister standings.
The Falmouth girls finished third in Alpine, fourth in Nordic and third combined.
The downhill effort was paced by Leika Scott, who won the slalom (1:36.65) and was second in the GS (1:26.27).
Catherine Hebson (seventh in the freestyle, 16:06.3; 11th in the classic, 19:44.5), Olivia Hoch (14th in the classic, 20:05.6), Sarah Hemphill (15th in the classic, 20:12.5) and Dana Bloch (16th freestyle, 17:24.0) all had top 20 Nordic finishes.
Greely's girls weren't able to repeat as Alpine state champion, finishing second to Mt. Blue.
In the giant slalom, two of the Rangers' top skiers fell and had to hike in the tougher first run. They posted top 10 times in the second run, but they weren't enough to overcome Mt. Blue's first-run advantage.
Elyse Dinan led the way with a third-place finish (1:26.45). Teal Otley (sixth, 1:31.79) was also in the top 10.
"We did the same thing in WMC's," Greely coach Mark Ouellette said. "They blew up on the first run of slalom. We lost a lot of time on that pitch. We lost two years ago by a few points to Mt. Blue after winning the GS that year. We're more of a slalom team, and to do the same thing this year, that was just 'pthhhh.'"
In the slalom, Jill Booth was fifth (1:45.36) and Jordan Ouellette placed seventh (1:49.54).
On the Nordic side, the Rangers were 10th.
Eva Bates was the top finisher (18th in the freestyle, 17:31.0; 34th in the classic, 22:34).
Combined, Greely finished fourth.
Dinan was the skimeister champion.
Class B: It's Yarmouth. Again
After Falmouth's departure, Yarmouth had to like its chances in Class B and once again the Clippers excelled.
Yarmouth's boys were second to Maranacook in the Alpine standings, but won Nordic and took the combined title by a comfortable margin.
The Nordic team was paced by Jack Elder's win in the skate (13 minutes, 38.9 seconds). Braden Becker (14:25.2), Carter Hall (14:41.9) and Sam Alexander (14:47.9) went 2-3-5 to help the Clippers take that race with ease.
In the classic, Elder (16:46.6), Hall (16:56.5) and Alexander (17:04.9) went 2-3-4 and Jasper Huston rounded out the scoring with a seventh-place finish (18:10.7).
On the Alpine side, Matt Highland finished fourth in the giant slalom (a two-run combined time of 1 minute, 18.98 seconds). Drew Grout was right behind in fifth place (1:19.23). Luke Lockwood (14th, 1:22.79) and Samuel Keegan (20th, 1:26.41) also scored.
In the slalom, Grout moved up to fourth (1:19.64). Highland finished sixth (1:20.59). Ethan Masse was 13th (1:26.93) and Rhys Eddy placed 14th (1:26.96).
The Clippers girls also won the Nordic and combined championships, while placing second to Camden Hills in Alpine.
Tara Humphries was runner-up to Maranacook's Abby Mace in both Nordic races, completing the skate in 16:07.0 and the classic in 20:21.0.
Caitlin Crawford (16:32.2) and Sarah Becker (16:40.9) went 3-4 in the skate. Ellie Teare (ninth, 17:35.6) also scored.
In the classic, Teare moved up to fifth (22:30.2), Becker placed seventh (22:40.6) and Alex Lucas finished 17th (26:07.7).
On the Alpine side, Claudia Lockwood was third in the GS (1:23.57). Taylor Hornney placed sixth (1:25.01). Julia Primeau came in eighth (1:26.72) and Erin Chandler finished 15th (1:30.28).
In the slalom, Lockwood was fifth (1:37.36), Primeau 11th (1:41.17), Hornney 12th (1:41.94) and Chandler 14th (1:44.17).
Class C: Three schools, three titles
Freeport's girls' Alpine and Nordic teams turned plenty of heads in Class C.
The Falcons won both Alpine events to hold off Fort Kent for the title.
Elly Bengtsson had no peer in winning the giant slalom (1:37.15) and the slalom (1:14.03).
In the GS, Freeport also got points from Taylor Enrico (fifth, 1:43.04), Sarah Pier (eighth, 1:47.06) and Wynne Cushing (1:48.40).
Bengtsson was aided in the slalom by Enrico (third, 1:21.85), Pier (10th, 1:31.20) and Cushing (11th, 1:31.43).
"We enjoyed the venue at Mt. Abram very much," said Freeport coach Eric Wallace. "The staff and the course set were great. Our Alpine girls' skiers were focused to repeat and did just that."
Freeport was third to Merriconeag and Fort Kent on the Nordic side, but its combined score of 153 points was eight better than Fort Kent to take the championship.
In the classic, Elizabeth Martin came in fourth (17:25.6), Lily LaMarre was 12th (18:39.4), Emily Martin 15th (18:59.5) and Abby Mahoney 18th (19:39.8).
Elizabeth Martin was ninth in the freestyle (15:23.0). Emily Martin was right behind in 1oth place (15:33.14). Bethanie Knighton came in 18th (16;42.6) and Emma Egan was 19th (16:43.5).
The Freeport boys' downhill skiers were third behind Fort Kent and Mountain Valley.
Ryder Bennell was the runner-up in the slalom (1:19.12) and Blake Enrico was third in the GS (1:34.62) and sixth in the slalom (1:28.39).
"The boys' team was made up of more freshman than upperclassmen and will continue to be competitive in the years to come," said Wallace.
On the Nordic side, the Falcons were fifth.
Alex Sturtevant finished 17th in the classic (15:37.7). Quinn Dowling was the top finisher in the freestyle (25th, 13:55.0).
Overall, Freeport finished second to Fort Kent.
Merriconeag and North Yarmouth Academy only compete in Nordic skiing, but it's safe to say that both do it very, very well.
The Panthers boys repeated as Class C champions, relegating Merriconeag to second place.
Once again, Ian Moore and Cam Regan put on a show.
In the classic, Moore came in first (12:58.6), while Regan was third (13:40.9). Jake Susla (sixth, 14:19.4) and Evan Kendall (eighth, 14:30.4) also scored.
In the freestyle, Regan took top honors with a time of 11:22.7. Moore was a close second (11:25.0). Kendall (fourth, 12:03.8) and Susla (eighth, 12:37.8) were the other scorers.
For Merriconeag, Jack Pierce was fifth in the freestyle (12:19.7) and Eli McCurdy was sixth (12:32.7). In the classic, Pierce came in fifth (14:12.7) and McCurdy finished seventh (14:25.6).
On the girls' side, Merriconeag was first, while NYA came in seventh.
Merriconeag's Zoe Chace-Donahue (16:05.2) and Emeli Chace-Donahue (17:01.1) went 1-2 in the classic. Samantha Pierce (seventh, 17:36.2) and Teagan Wu (ninth, 18:02.0) were the other scorers.
In the freestyle, the Chace-Donahue tandem finished in the top two spots again as Zoe had a time of 14:05.4, Emeli a time of 14:22.0. Pierce moved up to third (14:31.1) and Wu was seventh (15:16.6).
NYA's Isabella Munro was 22nd in the classic (22:02.8). Melanie Regan finished 30th in the freestyle (17:50.2).
In the skimeister competition, Freeport's Chris Collins was runner-up on the boys' side.
Sun Journal staff writer Justin Pelletier contributed to this story