Expectations remain high at Mt. Blue and Maranacook, and with good reason. The Cougars and Black Bears are in the hunt for state ski championships each winter.

Since 2000, the Mt. Blue boys have dominated Class A, winning 13 overall titles while the girls have captured 11 championships. Last season, each of the Cougar teams finished first in the Nordic division.

Maranacook has enjoyed success in Class B over that period, with the boys winning five overall championships since 2000 and the girls winning twice.

Mt. Blue Alpine coach Mark Cyr watched his team fall just short of a third consecutive title last year when the Cougars finished second to Edward Little.

“I think we lacked a little confidence in our abilities last year,” Cyr said. “The boys team held back a little on the first day and had too much ground to make up on Day 2. They need to ski aggressively and hold nothing back on the first run.”

Senior Miles Pelletier, who finished 10th in the giant slalom at the state met, returns to anchor the boys team, along with junior Hunter Bolduc and sophomores Sam Smith and James Guillaume.

“The boys lost a couple of valuable racers,” Cyr said, “but the incoming freshmen are more than capable of filling those shoes.”

The Mt. Blue girls Alpine team placed fifth in the states but returns intact.

“The girls team was comprised of five freshmen, all very nervous at the big events,” Cyr said. “Now they know these events aren’t any different than the 12 events before the championship.”

The Mt. Blue Nordic teams each won state titles and should contend again. Tucker Barber, fresh off a state cross country title, returns for the boys team. Last year the senior finished first in the classical race and second in freestyle. Nolan Rogers and Dan Smith are also back.

“We had a very strong boys team with six to eight skiers within one to two minutes of each other in some races last year,” coach Claire Polfus said. “And I expect the same this year.”

Junior Meg Charles finished fourth in the classical race last season and this year will be joined by a healthy Julia Ramsey.

“Julia Ramsey looks strong for her senior year after battling illness during her junior year,” Polfus said.

The Maranacook girls were Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Nordic champs and placed second at the state meet. They return a strong group led by senior Abby Depres, who finished sixth in the classical race, and junior Laura Parent, who was seventh. They’re joined by senior Camille Kavanah and junior Maddie Taylor.

“All four of our top skiers should be in or close to the top 10 at the state meet,” Maranacook coach Steve DeAngelis said.

The boys graduated Luca DeAngelis, who won both the classical and freestyle events at the state meet, but should still be strong led by senior Zach Holman, seventh a year ago in the freestyle race.

“We have a good mix of returning talent and promising younger skiers,” DeAngelis said.

The Maranacook girls Alpine team placed second in the state and returns a strong nucleus led by senior Rachel Tooth, who was third in the giant slalom race, and junior Janika Pakulski, who took third in the slalom. Senior Elizabeth Rice also contributed valuable points for the team.

“With another year (under) the belts, the juniors and sophomore, along with a strong incoming freshman class, should have the girls poised for an attack at the top position,” coach Ronn Gifford said.

Senior Nathan Delmar, who finished second in the GS at the KVAC meet, leads a boys team that finished fourth at the state meet. Dennis Chiappetta and Liam McNamara also scored for the Black Bears.

The Mt. Abram boys Nordic team won the Mountain Valley Conference title and placed fifth at the state meet. Senior Xavier Romanoski finished first in the MVC classical race and second in freestyle while sophomore Brandon Hemingway was eighth in classical. Destiney Thorndike and Rise Marble lead the girls team.

“We hope to improve on last year’s teams at both the MVC and states as well as place several skiers on the U16 and (Eastern High School Championships) state teams,” coach Buzz Bean said.

The Kents Hill boys and girls Alpine teams won their conference championships and the boys went on to finish ninth at the New Englands and the girls 12th. The Huskies have 30 skiers on the slopes but just one senior between the two teams. Sophomore Isaac Bell is the top returner for the boys with a third place finish in the conference meet while junior Kaitlyn McGrail placed fourth for the girls.

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