Mt. Blue, the defending girls and boys overall champions, are the favorites to win the high school state titles again this season.

Class A will hold its entire racing schedule at Black Mountain in Rumford. The races begin Wednesday with a classical race followed Thursday with giant slalom and freestyl. Friday closes out the week with slalom competition.

Depth and experience will be key factors for Mt. Blue in both the boys and girls races. The Cougars come into the championships with the knowledge of how to ski as a team, finishing runs and scoring at the top to make them the favorites.

The Cougar girls have won the overall title six years in a row while the boys have captured four straight.

Heather Farrington, Mallory Parker, Katerina Bessey and Abbey Ellis have had top 10 finishes in the last week while the boys will look to powerful Lucas Bonnevie, two-time Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference champion this season, and North Kay to carry the load.

“There are several teams that will be tough this year, but I think we will be all right,” Mt. Blue Alpine coach Mark Cyr said. “Overall, the girls and boys are skiing pretty well right now and are peaking at the right time.”

Falmouth has moved to Class A, bringing a strong team into a competitive field that includes Greely, Edward Little and Oxford Hills.

Excitement surrounds the girls Alpine races, where a handful of exceptional talent will be battling for individual honors. Greely’s Elyse Dinan, Edward Little’s Allaire Lever and Phoebe Chamberlain, Mt. Blue’s Farrington and Belfast’s Jane Ouillette all have the ability to claim the top spot.

Lever and Dinan have been consistently finishing at the top this winter, Farrington has peaked in recent races, winning the KVAC slalom, while Chamberlain and Ouillette are on the edge of claiming a win.

Dustin Staples paces a solid Mt. Blue boys Nordic team after winning the KVAC classical and freestyle titles while the girls Nordic will follow the lead of Sarah Wade.

Skowhegan, the defending Class A boys Alpine champions, are in the rebuilding mode, but have managed to pull together a significant young group of skiers in both boys and girls. Abbie Richardson and Shelby Watson have been the pacesetters for the girls while Benjamin Burke and Tory Leo have shown strength for the boys.

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In Class B, an exceptional field of teams will compete for honors. Defending boys champion Falmouth has moved to Class A while defending girls champs Yarmouth suffered several key graduation losses, opening the field to solid teams from Maranacook, Mt. Abram, Camden Hills and Spruce Mountain, along with several quality independent skiers.

Racing in Class B begins Tuesday at Big Rock, in Mars Hill, where the giant slalom will go off in the morning and at The Heritage Center, in Presque Isle, for the Nordic freestyle race. Wednesday, it will be slalom at Big Rock and will conclude Thursday with classical competition in Presque Isle.

The Mt. Abram girls appear to be one of the favorites with high quality in both Alpine and Nordic. Elise Luce is the defending giant slalom champion while sister Erin is the holder in the slalom. Sadie James powers the Nordic team with third’s in classical and freestyle last year.

“If they ski with the ability they have, we could do very well,” Mt. Abram Alpine coach Bob Luce said. “All of our girls have to have strong finishes.”

Maranacook boys are a serious threat in Alpine with just one senior Louis Chiappetta and a majority of sophomores that can put together top 10 finishes. Toby Smith, Alex Tooth, Kelby Mace, Matt Delmar, Alec Daigle and freshman Kai Pakulski have proven they are contenders this season for the Black Bears.

“Our boys are young and committed,” Maranacook Alpine coach Ronn Gifford said. “It is not often that you find a group of athletes so young and yet so committed to a sport as you find with the Maranacook boys that are competing at states.”

Maranacook’s Maddy Chiappetta will be making a bid for the Skimeister title after a number of excellent races this season in both disciplines.

“Maddy has really worked hard on her Alpine skiing this year and the results speak for themselves as she has moved up into the top 20-25 in the conference,” Gifford said. “Her focus all year has been to increase her level of aggressiveness and she has succeeded in doing just that which helped her win the conference Skimeister competition in a tight duel with Julie Beauchesne of Camden Hills.”

Maranacook’s Abby Mace, the defending champion in the classical race along with a second in freestyle, will be joined by Adrian Huntington near the head of the Nordic pack.

On the independent side, Maine Central Institute’s Gary Kersbergen has shown he has the ability to fly down the hill but needs to find a pace that will allow him to put together a pair of consistent runs. Kersbergen has the skill to mount a podium finish on the Alpine slopes. Kersbergen trains with Maranacook.

“Gary Kersbergen turned into one of the top GS skiers in all of the KVCA, if not all the state,” Gifford said. “He is super strong, runs a tight aggressive line and explodes out of each turn propelling him down the course.”

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Monmouth and Winthrop will send young Nordic teams into the Class C ski championships this week against the largest field of teams in any of the classifications. Twenty-six teams will be competing for individual and team titles at Black Mountain in Rumford and at Mt. Abram in Greenwood over a three-day stretch.

Monday, Nordic classical racing will kick start the week; Tuesday will be giant slalom races and Nordic freestyle; championship races conclude Wednesday with the slalom event. All Nordic competition will be at Black Mountain, all Alpine races at Mt. Abram.

In its first year of racing competition, Monmouth will feature a pair of Nordic skiers who will be shooting for top 10 finishes. Dylan Thombs and Becki Bryant had quality efforts in the recent Mountain Valley Conference championships and will be looking to continue their success at the Class C level.

“Dylan has been very determined and has worked hard to increase his strength since last year, and I hope to see it pay off with top 10 finishes in both the classic and freestyle Nordic races,” Monmouth coach Chris Bryant said. “On the girls side, I am hoping for some solid performances from freshman Becki Bryant in both the Alpine and Nordic events to help her in the Skimeister competition, which she won at MVCs. The Skiemeister competition was dominated at states last year by three Fort Kent skiers that are also returning this year, but hopefully Becki can add some more competition into the mix. Becki has had some outstanding Nordic races recently and I hope she can carry this momentum into the state meet.”

Winthrop’s Rachel Ingram and Aaron St. Pierre are also considered strong contenders for top 10 finishes in the Nordic races.

Neither the Ramblers or Mustangs scored as a team in the MVC Alpine races but do send several solid racers into the competition. Winthrop’s Olivia Tsouprake and Bryant have shots in the girls races while J.J. Jansen will be ready in the boys races.

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