After a year in which he won the Class A Nordic individual skiing championship and helped lead Mt. Blue to the team title, it’s easy to forgive Tucker Barber for not setting much in the way of goals entering his senior season.

“Some people are goal-setters,” Barber said. “I’ve never been a goal-setter, because you unknowingly put a little bit of a boundary on yourself. If you miss that boundary or end up setting your sights too low because of that goal, it can really screw you up.”

Barber’s formula for success worked. He backed up his junior season with another state individual title and a second straight team title. For his efforts, the Cougar senior has been chosen as the Morning Sentinel Boys Nordic Skier of the Year.

Barber, who was the Morning Sentinel Cross Country Runner of the Year in the fall, was also selected as the Morning Sentinel Nordic Skier of the Year last winter.

“Tucker’s a spectacular athlete,” Mt. Blue Nordic coach Claire Polfus said. “He is very gifted in terms of his endurance, but the thing about Tucker is that he’s also gifted in that way of consistently looking to improve. He has very high standards for himself.”

Not unexpectedly, this was a different kind of season for Barber, the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference skier of the year. After a junior season spent tracking down Maranacook standout Luca DeAngelis, Barber saw himself become the hunted for the first time this winter.

Barber responded.

“I know people say you have to do it for yourself, but at the end of the day, you’re racing against another person and you want to beat them,” he said. “I would rather beat a person in a race than lose a certain amount of time (against the clock).”

Barber won the Sassi Memorial at Black Mountain in January and followed that with wins in the KVAC meet and the state meet in February.

He won the Sassi Memorial in a time of 13:38.5 seconds over Freeport’s Yacob Olins. Olins finished nearly a full minute behind Barber — positions 2 through 10 were separated by just 1:16.

“He had a spectacular race at the Sassi. That course really set up for Tucker,” Polfus said. “That was a turnaround in his season.”

For a high school athlete, Barber takes a very pragmatic approach to both his training and his racing.

“I guess the best motivation that works for me is just always being disappointed with what you’ve done currently,” Barber said. “If I’m not ‘disappointed,’ maybe it’s just having a sense that there’s no limit.

“With Nordic, you’ve got to train as hard as you can and every once in a while pick your head up and look at where you are.”

Barber knows how to enjoy the process, particularly during the season. You won’t find any results online or listed in the pages of the newspaper, but he’s quite proud of his Nordic Stunt Team 2017 prowess.

“It’s one of Mt. Blue’s greatest traditions,” Barber said. “It’s what we call ourselves when we’re not racing, when we’re out doing jumps or doing 180s out behind the trails.”

“He gained a lot of maturity this year in his racing and his skiing, but also in his leading the team as a captain,” Polfus said. “He’s just a really fun kid, in an amazing way for an 18-year-old boy. I can’t say enough good things about him.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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