Falmouth, Merriconeag, Yarmouth sweep Nordic ski titles
Another year, another abundance of hardware for local skiers.
And they're not done yet.
This winter, the Maine Principals' Association split the Nordic and Alpine championships into separate weeks and three local schools dominated on the cross country side last week.
Falmouth swept the Class A titles, Yarmouth did the same in Class B and Merriconeag took both genders in Class C.
Alpine crowns will be decided this coming weekend.
Here's a recap:
Falmouth's Nordic teams both had no peer in Class A, but the girls had an easier time obtaining the title than the boys.
The Yachtsmen had a healthy lead over Mt. Blue in both the classical and freestyle races to finish first with 45 points, 51 better than the Cougars. Greely wound up ninth with 337.
In the classical competition, Gabrielle Farrell (21 minutes, 40.1 seconds), London Bernier (21:58.1), Lucy Mahoney (22:21.2) and Anna Morin (22:24.1) chalked up a 3-4-6-7 sequence for Falmouth.
That foursome continued to impress in the freestyle, clinching the title by all placing in the top 10. Morin (18:23.5) — who holds a large lead in the skimeister standings, as well — Farrell (18:40.5) and Bernier (18:51.2) finished 4-5-6, while Mahoney finished 10th (19:38.4).
"All three coaches are brand new," Falmouth coach Jen Harris said. "We inherited a great team, and we knew we inherited a lot of great skiers."
Greely's top finisher was Emily Follett, 26th in the freestyle (21:02.4) and 31st in the classical (26:08.4).
On the boys' side, Falmouth tallied 72 points, which was 20 better than Leavitt. The Yachtsmen trailed the Hornets by two points after the classical race, but took care of business in the freestyle. Greely came in eighth with 317 points.
In the classic race, Falmouth's top skier was Gabe Mahoney (17:53.5), who placed third. Iain Kurry was sixth (18:32.1), Noah Beliveau 13th (19:38.1) and Devin Ventura 18th (19:58.6).
In the freestyle, Mahoney finished second (14:38.3) to lead the Yachtsmen to another championship. Kurry was eighth (15:39.6), Ethan Cantlin 10th (15:57.6) and Ventura 12th (16:04.4).
"They love to skate," Falmouth coach Karin Kurry said. "They did the same thing at the conference meet. They love to turn it on when it's time to skate. We just had to remind them of that. Some of them were a little sore with their finishes yesterday and we had to tell them, 'Let it go, today is a new day, you love to skate, just enjoy it.'"
Greely was paced by Tim Adams, who was 20th in the classical (20:05.4) and 29th in the skate (17:12.2), and Ryan Morrison, who came in 26th in the skate (16:57.9) and 32nd in the classical (20:53.4).
Yarmouth has been synonymous with ski excellence for decades, so it was no surprise to see the Clippers add more hardware, although new-to-Class B Freeport didn't make it easy.
In the girls' competition, Yarmouth had 49 points, which was 40 better than the Falcons.
In the classical, the Clippers were paced by Ellie Teare, who was third in 19:31.9. Also scoring were Emma Torres (fifth, 19:47.0), Sarah Myers (ninth, 20:24.3) and Lucy Alexander (10th, 20:34.5).
The Falcons were sparked by Lily Johnston, who was runner-up in 19:08.9. Elizabeth Martin (seventh, 20:14.6), Lily LaMarre (16th, 21:41.2) and Jasmine Olins (21st, 22:34.2) also scored.
The freestyle saw Torres move up to third for Yarmouth (with a time of 16:12.8). Also scoring were Alexander (fourth, 16:21.9), Teare (sixth, 16:35.9) and Caitlin Teare (ninth, 17:14.4).
"It was quite a challenge with warm windy weather and five different snow conditions on the course," said longtime Clippers coach Bob Morse. "The girls overcame some early nerves testing the wax and settled down and raced a great state meet." The next day, the girls came to race with the snow conditions another challenge with snow and rain. We placed all six skiers in the top 15."
Martin had a runner-up showing for Freeport (16:06.9). Johnston was fifth (16:24.7), Olins 17th (17:52.7) and Emma Egan 19th (18:21.2).
On the boys' side, Yarmouth tallied 34 points to win the crown. Maranacook (63) was second and Freeport (128) third.
The Clippers were led by standout Braden Becker, who won the classical race in 15:28.9, and Carter Hall, champion of the skate in 13:29.3. Becker was also third in the freestyle (13:58.5), while Hall came in third in the classical (16:34.8).
Also scoring for Yarmouth were Sam Alexander, runner-up in the skate (13:57.5) and sixth in the classical (17:07.4), and Jasper Houston, eighth in the classical (17:29.4) and 10th in the freestyle (14:41.2).
"The temperature dropped six degrees for the boys' race and waxing was not an issue," Morse said.
"The championships were very exciting with the Freeport girls and Maranacook boys in a very close second place behind us."
Freeport featured classical runner-up Elijah McCurdy (16:13.1). McCurdy was also sixth in the skate (14:13.6). Other scorers included Bennett Hight (11th in the skate, 14:49.6, 21st in the classical, 18:33.9), Wilson Moore (18th in the classical, 18:15.9, 18th in the skate, 15:29.4) and Nick Nelsonwood (26th in the classical, 19:09.2, 26th in the freestyle, 16:01.4).
Merriconeag's boys and girls had no trouble winning the Class C titles.
The boys had 39 points, easily outdistancing runner-up Fort Kent. North Yarmouth Academy came in eighth with 312 points.
In the classical, Merriconeag got points from Graham Roeber (third, 15:16.80), Tucker Pierce (fourth, 15:25.30), Forrest McCurdy (fifth, 15:34.80) and John Burgess (sixth, 15:35.30).
McCurdy had the top freestyle finish, coming in third (13:34.10). Pierce was fifth (13:50.80), Roeber sixth (14:04.50) and Burgess seventh (14:29.20).
NYA was paced by Haley Cunningham, who came in ninth in both the classical (16:47.90) and the skate (14:57.10). Patrick Mallett was 24th in both disciplines, posting a time of 18:11.30 in the classical and 16:07.80 in the freestyle.
Merriconeag's girls finished with 35 points, 67 better than Fort Kent.
Samantha Pierce won the classical race in 17:14.50 and was runner-up in the skate in 15:51.10. Fiona Ahearne placed third in the freestyle (16:51.30) and was fourth in the classical (18:07.50). Carlin Tindall came in fifth in the skate (17:32.80) and sixth in the classical (18:20.60). Lily Tupper placed seventh in the classical (18:54.70) and was also seventh in the freestyle (17:35.20).
NYA didn't score as a team, but Abby Hinchman had the 44th-best classical time (25:01.40) and the 54th-fastest time in the skate (25:59.10).
Alpine fun begins
The Class A Alpine championships will be held Thursday and Saturday at Shawnee Peak. The Class B races will be Friday and Saturday at Mt. Abram. Class C competition is Thursday and Friday at Sunday River.
We'll recap everything Alpine-related in next week's edition.
Sun Journal sports editor Justin Pelletier and staff writer Kalle Oakes contributed to this story.