They compete in separate classes but the Mt. Blue and Maranacook Nordic teams consider each other rivals.

They’ll meet throughout the season culminating with the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championships. After that, they’ll jet off to their respective classes — Mt. Blue in Class A, Maranacook in Class B — for state-wide competition.

Last season, the boys and girls teams from the two schools shared KVAC titles in a weather-shortened meet before moving on to win state championships in their respective classes. Expect all four teams to contend again this winter.

“They’re going to be really good,” said Mt. Blue coach Claire Polfus, who returns six girls from last year’s team. “The six girls are incredibly strong.”

Among the returnees are senior Meg Charles, sophomore Gretchen Huish and junior Chelsea Sebold, who finished third, fourth and fifth, respectively, in the classical race at the state meet. The Marancook girls, likewise, return a strong lineup, led by senior Laura Parent, who won the classical race and placed second in freestyle.

“We return a strong girls team with four skiers who skied in the state meet and a number of other solid, experienced skiers who will be pushing to get into the top group,” Maranacook coach Steve DeAngelis said.

The Maranacook boys team returns five skiers who competed in the state meet, led by Mark McLaughlin and Luke Bartol.

“We will be very competitive,” DeAngelis said.

So will the Mt. Blue boys, who graduated state champ Tucker Barber but return a strong group of juniors led by Sam Smith.

“I think they’re going to be competitive with some of the better teams in the state,” Polfus said.

The Mt. Abram boys return six skiers who helped the Roadrunners place third in the Class B state meet, led by sophomore Levi Bouchard.

“I’m thinking we’ll have a real good season,” coach Buzz Bean said.

Bean and his wife, Sally, who have coached for 31 seasons, are still working on getting a full complement for the girls team.

“The top two are good,” Bean said. “But it’s getting tougher to get kids involved in sports.”

Monmouth is experiencing the same problem and will not have enough girls or boys to score team points.

“We’ll just try to keep it fun and we’ll have a lot of opportunities to work on individual issues,” coach Chris Bryant said.

ALPINE

The Kents Hill boys return five of six skiers who won the MAISAD title last season, led by Isaac Bell and Chris Erb.

“They’re all very experienced,” coach Steve Bell said.

The girls team isn’t as deep but could surprise opponents with the addition of senior Libby Diaz, who missed last year due to injury, and Spanish exchange student Carla Maristany.

The Maranacook boys graduated eight seniors from a team that finished third at the state meet last season while the girls, who also placed third, return five of their top eight, led by senior Janika Pakulski and junior Lily Welch.

The Mt. Blue boys faltered at the state meet last year and finished fifth but the team returns a competitive group led by Smith.

“I think we’re going to do very well this year,” coach Mark Cyr said.

The girls bring back four skiers from a team that placed sixth.

Skowhegan and Mt. Abram are dealing with lack of participants. Skowhegan coach Bill Finley said he has four girls and two boys on his teams while first-year Mt. Abram coach Larry Dunphy has a full girls team but just two boys.

“My goal this year is to make it fun for a lot of them, create some energy and increase numbers next year,” Dunphy said.