The back of the bus is usually premium seating for most high school students.

Nathan Delmar, a junior on the Maranacook boys alpine ski team, always looks for a spot up front as isolated as he can get on the way to each meet. It is a part of his process, said Delmar, an opportunity to listen to music and focus on the upcoming race.

“It’s something I’ve always done,” Delmar said. “I think it’s important going in to get zoned in. Don’t worry about school, don’t worry about your friends, just worry about the race and think about how to be successful.”

It will be no different Saturday morning at Titcomb Mountain for Day 1 of the Kennebec Valley Athletic and Mountain Valley Conference championships, as Delmar knows he will need to be focused to pull off a win against the likes of Mountain Valley’s Nick Newman, Mt. Blue’s Kyle Farrington and Skowhegan’s Mike Miller.

“It will be a good fight,” Delmar said. “You never know, it’s KVACs. I’m really excited. Also, it’s just a more challenging course. I think it will separate the really good skiers from the good skiers.”

Delmar said he, Newman, a junior, Farrington and Miller, both seniors, have gotten to know each other over the past few years through competitions. He expects it to be a good, friendly competition as it was has been all season.

“Mike and I talk a lot, Nick and I talk a lot. Kyle is really focused. I appreciate that about him. He’s zoned in,” Delmar said. “We all got to know each other. We all respect each other. We all know when we have our good days and when we have our bad days, and we talk about how we can improve. It’s really cool.”

When the group last faced off against each other on Jan. 29 at Black Mountain for a giant slalom race, Newman and Farrington finished tied for first with identical times of 1:03.85, while Miller was third in 1:04.64 and Delmar fourth in 1:05.69. Like Delmar, Farrington said he is excited for Saturday’s race despite suffering a fall in Thursday’s KVAC/MVC meet at Mt. Abram.

“The KVACs is one of the best races of the year, in my terms — a lot of tough competition,” Farrington said. “I’m definitely getting excited for the race (Saturday) and on Tuesday.

“…I fell over at Mt. Abram (Thursday) night but I haven’t fallen all year. I’ve had a lot of good finishes so overall it’s been a really, really good year skiing. It’s gone really well for the most part.”

Miller, who along with Farrington trains at Titcomb regularly, said he expects Saturday’s race to be tight once again.

“It’s a pretty closely skilled patch of guys so I think the timing will be pretty close together,” said Miller, who won both the slalom and giant slalom races at last year’s KVAC championships. “I’m just trying to prepare myself, prepare my skis and all that and just hoping for the best. This new snow should provide some good surface for the hills.”

Saturday’s meet was supposed to include the classical pursuit portion of the Nordic competition, but that was moved to Thursday at 2:30 p.m. at Titcomb due to snow conditions. Day 2 of the Alpine, the giant slalom, will be held Tuesday morning at Black Mountain in Rumford along with the freestyle segment of the Nordic in the afternoon.

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley

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