Coming off a very close Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Nordic skiing championship last week, the Mt. Blue and Marancook teams are confident heading into the state championships.
“I think the team’s skiing very well,” Mt. Blue coach David Nordstrom said.
“We’re in the toughest division, I think,” Maranacook coach Steve DeAngelis said. “We have our work cut out for us.”
The state Nordic championships begin Wednesday with classical races. Freestyle races will be on Thursday. Class A competes at the Rangeley Trails Center. Class B races at the Sugarloaf Outdoor Center in Carrabassett Valley, while Class C is at Black Mountain in Rumford. The Alpine championships will be Feb. 27 through March 1.
For Mt. Blue, the course at Rangeley is a familiar one, and Nordstrom called it deceptively tough. While the course does not have a signature hill, like Black Mountain, it has a two long, steady climbs.
“It will wear away at people slowly,” Nordstrom said.
At Sugarloaf, skiers will race on a challenging course.
“You have to be a good skier to ski it,” DeAngelis said.
Mt. Blue should contend in Class A, along with Falmouth. The Mt. Blue girls are led by senior Sarah Wade, who was state champ last season in the freestyle and second in the classical. Wade is coming off conference titles in the classical and pursuit.
“(Wade) hopes she can put together two really good races. She’ll be tough to beat,” Nordstrom said.
Freshman Julia Ramsey finished second to Wade in both events at the KVAC meet. On the boys side, Mt. Blue’s Ike Doiron, Dustin Staples and Dan Lesko should contend. Falmouth and Leavitt will challenge Mt. Blue for the team title.
At the Class B meet, Maranacook will battle Yarmouth for the top spot. Caribou could also be strong, DeAngelis said.
The Maranacook boys have a strong one-two combination in Ethan Harriman and Luca DeAngelis. Harriman placed second in the KVAC classical race. DeAngelis is recovering from illness and injury.
“He’s skiing and feeling much better,” DeAngelis said.
The Maranacook girls are led by Hannah Despres, who was the top Class B finisher at the KVAC classical meet. Abby Despres and Taylor Cray are also top skiers for the Black Bears.
In Class C, Monmouth’s Becki Bryant and Dylan Thombs are among the favorites.