VASSALBORO — The Erskine golf team took another step forward in its quest to defend its Class B state championship with a strong showing Tuesday in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference qualifier. Undefeated Nokomis took another step forward in its quest to contend for a crown as well.

The Eagles finished with a 327 team score to finish atop KVAC B, while Gardiner and Nokomis tied for second at 335 and also qualified for the state team championships on Oct. 3 in Rockland.

Waterville finished fourth (366) to claim the final berth at states.

“That’s all we care about at this point, it’s just kind of a survive and move on,” Erskine coach Mark Bailey said. “The four qualifiers today will play in a week down in Rockland in the KVAC championship, so that’s next on our radar.”

The Warriors qualified for the team state championships for the first time since 1999.

“It’s just a fantastic thing for our team,” Nokomis coach Matt Brown said. “Last year we had a little bit of success and they seemed to like that a lot. It’s really carried over to this year. They all came back from last year, and I just can’t say enough. It’s been an awesome season.”


The top four teams in KVAC B and the top five in KVAC A qualified for the state championships.

The top 14 boys in KVAC A and the top 12 in KVAC B also qualified for the individual state championships on Oct. 14.

Girls who shot 110 or below in either qualifier also advanced.

Cody Pellerin of Waterville and Sam Smestad of Nokomis each shot a 75 to share the top spot in KVAC B.

“He (Smestad) just has a way to grind it out,” Brown said. “He doesn’t hit it perfect all the time, but he just finds a way if he misses a shot to get up and down, or give himself a chance to par. And his putting’s impeccable, just a fantastic putter. And when you have nice greens out here like Natanis has, he takes full advantage of that. It’s been awesome, his short game is great, and that’s why he’s our No. 1.”

Three Erskine golfers followed, including Connor Paine (76), Justin Browne (78) and Aaron Pion (79).


“It just shows you the amount of time they put in practicing on the range,” Bailey said of his top three. “Because the moment isn’t too big for them; they just go out and play golf. They’ve done what they’ve practiced, and they’ve been great leaders. They’re always helping their teammates, and it’s been great because our goal is to get everybody under 100. Our two newcomers finished with a 94 and a 95. That’s big for us. If we can get them under 90, then we can be breathing down some people’s necks in a couple of weeks.”

Also qualifying for the individual state championships: Charles Stevens of Gardiner (79); Zach Hartsgrove of Nokomis (79); Cam Bourassa of Gardiner (82); Avery Gosselin of Maine Central Institute; and Andrew Kelly of Gardiner (86).

In KVAC A, Messalonskee finished tied for third with Edward Little to qualify for states. Mt. Ararat finished first in KVAC A with a 328 team score.

Caleb Manuel of Mt. Ararat was the top finisher in KVAC A with a 68. Colby Esty of Skowhegan was third (78) while Jake Whitley of Cony (80) and Blake Marden of Messalonskee (80) followed. Jacob Bernatchez of Messalonskee also qualified for the Class A state championships, shooting an 84 to finish tied for 13th.

On the girls side, Anna Smith of MCI and Lindsey Cote of Nokomis each shot a 94 to qualify for states.

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