Alec Daigle remembers all too well the fall he took at the Class B Alpine ski championships last season at Black Mountain.
“I wasn’t skiing the slalom all too well,” the Maranacook senior said. “I had a few bad practices and my head wasn’t on right. I just didn’t do well. I wanted to put that behind me.”
Daigle did so in a big way Saturday, winning the individual Class B slalom title at Mt. Abram. Daigle led a strong showing for the Black Bears, who easily won the Alpine and overall combined state championships.
Maranacook had five of the first six finishers in the slalom on Sunday, more than enough to subdue its closest pursuer, Freeport. The victory helped erase the disappointment of a runner-up finish last season.
“I would say the slalom was probably the best day we’ve ever had in the event,” Daigle said. “I expected a good turnout. We hoped to get a lot in the top 10. But to get five in the first six? That’s pretty awesome. It was a good way to cap our season.”
Kelby Mace, Matt Delmar, Alex Tooth and freshman Nathan Delmar finished third through sixth, respectively, for Maranacook, which had about a 20-point lead over Freeport heading into slalom.
“We had a good lead so that changed our outlooks,” Daigle said. “We just said, âlet’s go out and have a good day.'”
The Black Bears certainly did that, scoring 103 points to easily beat Freeport (225).
In Class A, the Mt. Blue boys team finally got to relive a tradition after winning a state championship.
The Cougars won the two-day Alpine title as well as the combined Class A Nordic and Alpine team championship.
The team received a police escort upon its arrival to Farmington.
“We do the typical tradition in that we do get a police escort into the center of Farmington,” Mt. Blue Alpine coach Mark Cyr said. “But then we do something different. Right down at the corner of Broadway and Main in Farmington, we block the street with the bus and the kids get out and run a lap around the bus for every year in a row we’ve won a title.
“It’s been three years since we last won one, so it was just one lap. But it was great. We usually have a good crowd and there’s always people screaming, yelling and flashing their lights. It was a lot of fun.”
Added Mt. Blue junior Felix Bonnevie, who finished ninth overall: “Running around the bus, it was really fun. Everything paid off in that moment. The parents were outside, cheering us on. It was great.”
The celebration capped an emotional day for the Cougars, who overcame some adverse conditions at Shawnee Peak in Bridgton to win the championship.
Mt. Blue entered the day chasing Oxford Hills for the championship while trying to fend off Falmouth and Edward Little.
There were two slalom runs Saturday, and Cyr acknowledged he didn’t know where the team stood after the first.
“It was tough,” he said. “You didn’t have all the results, and there are always some disqualifications. You just didn’t know. We knew we were in the mix.”
Cyr watched the action from the middle of the run. He stayed in constant communication with assistant Dustin Duschense, who was at the top of the mountain.
Cyr also had people at the bottom of the mountain checking in via radio after every completed run.
The communication helped the Cougars learn more about course conditions, which changed as the day progressed.
“We were in contact the whole day,” Cyr said. “We were constantly talking back and forth, discussing course conditions. I would radio up to the start to share any concerns. There is a lot of communication. It’s kind of complicated because there is a lot going on. There are a lot people of talking.
“My station was in the middle of the course. While watching the runs, it seemed like every other athlete was falling. I had to make sure that our kids at the top understood that they didn’t need to be going for it. We tried to get that info to the top as quick as we could.”