Dustin Staples was struggling early in the high school ski season and decided to change his strategy. Staples started pushing harder up hills and skied more comfortably in the flats.

“I started off really slow this season, I had some really bad races,” Staples said. “My race strategy was not that good, I was going out to fast and not skiing the course.”

The strategic change, as well as improved technique, paid dividends for the Mt. Blue sophomore. Staples skied his best at the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championships, winning the classical and freestyle titles.

“I dropped the hammer,” Staples, who earned KVAC first team honors, said. “When we got to the KVAC races, I came around and skied my race.”

For his outstanding season, Staples has been named the Morning Sentinel Boys Nordic Skier of the Year. Teammate Zach Veayo and Mt. Abram’s Trent Rosenberg were also considered.

“Our boys team had some key losses this year and the response was that everybody stepped up,” Mt. Blue Nordic coach David Nordstrom said. “Dustin was not assured a spot as front-runner on the team because everyone was pushing forward. About midway through the season, however, he developed some perspective.”

Staples continued his strong run at the Class A state championships. He finished second in the classical and eighth in the freestyle in what he feels was one of his best races of the season.

“I came within a minute of Silas Eastman (Class A state champion) in the freestyle,” Staples said. “I was absolutely happy to be that close to him, he is the best Nordic skier in the state.”

“He is only a sophomore, after all, and taking the long view helped him relax and focus on his skiing,” Nordstrom said. “By championship time, he was ready for anything.”

Staples showed signs as a freshman of being able to compete at the championship level. As a sophomore, his maturity and experience pushed him to the top.

“I am really happy with my results at the end of the season,” he said. “I am definitely psyched for another good year.”


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