WATERVILLE — A late change of venue for the Leavitt Hornet Classic wasn’t going to throw off Nordic skiers who spent much of the early winter scrambling to find snow.

Nevertheless, skiers did have to adjust to Leavitt High School’s stand-in at Quarry Road Trails on Saturday. They needed three laps to complete the roughly 4.5-kilometer race and had to negotiate a few slick spots along the way. Those who did, though, were rewarded with fast times. Even those who didn’t, and the race’s organizers, were grateful to have a place to ski competitively in the midst of a less-than-ideal winter for Nordic skiing.

Maranacook’s Luca DeAngelis won the boys race, Freeport’s Lily Johnston won her second girls race in a row. Freeport took home the boys team title and Gould Academy won the girls team championship.

DeAngelis, the runner-up in last year’s Class B classical championship, overcame a head cold to finish in 12:38, 8.1 seconds ahead of runner-up Caleb Clarke of Gould.

“I went out there with no expectations because sometimes you race really well when you’re just a little bit sick,” he said. “There were definitely some spots, but I had really great skis. And it was fast, so that was fun.”

The lack of snow has limited Maranacook’s time on skis, so the Black Bears did a lot of running in preparation for the season. DeAngelis has been even more limited.

“I’ve had an injury, so I’ve just been roller skiing up until we got snow,” he said. “Even in the last two weeks, it’s been pretty rough at the school. But we have been able to ski on, like, a kilometer, so that’s good. At least we have snow so close by.”

DeAngelis said he made the shorter loop and extra lap from a typical 5k work to his advantage.

“Three laps isn’t usual for our courses, but I actually kind of like that because I picked it up each lap. That was my goal,” he said. “Plus I got to do that downhill so many times during warm-up that it felt really good and fast during the race.”

Tucker Pierce of Maine Coast (formerly Merriconeag) Waldorf School of Freeport was third, Brad Ravenelle of Portland fourth. Mt. Blue’s Tucker Barber and Liam Welch were fifth and sixth, respectively.

“I felt pretty good about it,” Barber said. “This is a different venue and three laps… I had some questions about it. But it worked out for the good and I felt like I had a pretty solid race.”

Johnston won last year’s girls race — which also was moved due to lack of snow to Starks Hill in Fryeburg — by 14 seconds. She won Saturday’s meet by nearly a full minute, crossing the finish line in 15:14.0. Runner-up Olivia Skillings of Maine Coast Waldorf crossed in 16:12.1.

Kents Hill had two racers repeat strong performances from last year’s race and finish in the top five. Anne McKee was third, Aimee Sala was fifth. They were sixth and fourth last year, respectively.

“It was definitely pretty tricky. Some of the tracks were pretty washed out,” McKee said. “It’s all about just keeping a positive attitude and just attacking as much as I can.”

“The course was really fun to start the season off with, not too hard, just one really big climb,” Sala said. “It was mostly just the snow conditions that were tricky, but the girls were pretty lucky going out first. I love early races, so I’m pretty happy with how I did.”

Gould edged Maranacook for the team title, 59-63. Four skiers in the top 20 led the Black Bears — Taylor Cray (13th), Laura Parent (16th), Jaycee Greeley (18th) and Abby Despres (20th). Mt. Blue (69), Kents Hill (94), and Maine Coast Waldorf (104) rounded out the top five.

Other top local performers among 131 finishers were Mt. Blue’s Meg Charles (11th), Chelsea Seabold (15th), Julia Ramsey (21st), Miriam Cohen (25th), Zoe Huish (26th) and Grace Andrews (28th). Monmouth’s Becki Bryant was 14th.

Freeport placed five skiers in the top 18 to win the boys title with 45 points, followed by Gould (51), Mt. Blue (56), Leavitt (79) and Maranacook (89). Mt. Blue’s Thomas Wing was 16th and Sam Smith was 30th out of 126 finishers. Mark McLaughlin of Maranacook was 23rd.

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

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Twitter: @RAWmaterial33