When Tucker Barber was a freshman on the Mt. Blue High School Nordic ski team, coach Claire Polfus was impressed with his technique and ability.

“His freshman year I saw him and thought, ‘wow, he’s got so much potential,'” said Polfus, who was an assistant coach that season.

Now a junior, Barber realized that potential this season. Barber won the Class A state title in the classical race and was second in freestyle.

For his efforts, Barber is the Morning Sentinel Boys Nordic Skier of the Year.

“It was a breakout season. He’s one of the top skiers in the state,” Polfus said. “Tucker worked really hard in the summer and you can see that in the results.”

In the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championships, Barber placed second in classical and third in freestyle. Barber said classical is his better discipline, but he was still surprised when he pulled out the state title over Brad Ravenelle of Portland.

“I tend to be stronger in classical, at least this year,” Barber said. “I was just hoping to do well in freestyle and I got second.”

Barber finished second in freestyle to Ravenelle.

Ravenelle and Barber trained together in the summer under the tutelage of James Upham, an assistant Nordic ski coach at Bates College.

“It was small-group training in southern Maine. It was pretty personal training,” Barber said.

Summer training was new to Barber. As a sophomore, Barber placed 13th in the state freestyle race and 12th in classical. To improve, Barber knew he had to change the way he trained in the offseason. He bought a pair of roller skis and got to work.

“Most summer, I’d go to a different place, and I don’t usually train as much,” Barber said. “This summer, I decided to get it together and try some dry-land training. I just got a lot more comfortable skiing.”

The biggest thing Barber gained from summer training was the little things, like subtle changes in form he learned at a ski camp in Fort Kent.

“They pointed out some things I could do better. Fixing my form really helped,” Barber said.

A good fall season with Mt. Blue’s cross country team helped Barber enter Nordic season in better shape.

“He had a good cross country season and came in in really good shape. Technique has always been his strongest suit, ever since I’ve known him. Tucker got into better shape and got stronger,” Polfus said.

Polfus said Barber’s strength is hills, an assessment with which he agrees.

“I do like the hills. It you can embrace the hills, you can get an advantage,” Barber said. “I’m a pretty good endurance athlete, I think.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM


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