Meghan Charles’ goals for the 2017-18 Nordic season were to finish high in the standings at the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championships and the Class A championships.

She can consider those goals achieved, and then some.

The Mt. Blue senior finished with top-five performances in all of the major races. She was third at the Maranacook Waves. She was fourth at the Sassi Memorial.

But she saved her best performances for the postseason. She swept both the classical and freestyle races at the KVAC championships. She followed that by finishing third in both events at states.

For her performance throughout the season, Charles is the Morning Sentinel Girls Nordic Skier of the Year. This is the second time Charles has earned the honor, also winning the award after the 2015-2016 season.

Though she wanted to finish higher at the state meet, Charles was pleased with her performance. It was the second straight year she finished third at states.

“I was pretty happy about it,” Charles said. “It was challenging conditions. I think overall everybody, not just me, really pulled through, with the conditioning and just staying in a good mental state.”

Charles attributed her success throughout the season on her mental toughness, having the ability to focus squarely on the job she needed to do on the course.

“Even when things aren’t going how I want them to go, I just try to stay as positive as I can,” Charles said. “Really just try to push myself — whether it’s a workout or a race — just try to keep myself going no matter what’s happening around me. Just stay focused on what’s happening and try not to let anything that happens on the course or on the trail get into my head. Just keep pushing through no matter what.”

That mental toughness was key for the Cougars, who finished as the top Class A program at KVACs and third at states despite battling through illness and injury throughout the season.

“She was really a leader for our team,” Mt. Blue coach Claire Polfus said. “She was consistent and she was there and she was dedicated and that was really important, I think, for the rest of the team to follow her in that.”

Charles’ success this season came as no surprise to Polfus.

“The thing with Meg, I think, is she has higher expectations for herself than any of us have for her,” Polfus said. “She’s really self motivated, she works really hard on her weaknesses in skiing, which is really cool. There were points in the season where I looked at my assistant coach and just said, ‘Where did that (performance) come from?'”

Charles’ skiing career began in fifth grade. She grew her love of the sport by skiing with the Farmington Area Ski Team (F.A.S.T) at Titcomb Mountain.

“I love, with racing, just going so smooth and going so fast,” Charles said. “Just feeling smooth with my technique…..There’s always something to look forward to with skiing. It’s always been relaxing for me, mostly I think because of how rhythmic it is. I’ve always been able to really clear my head that way, and I’ve always loved that.”

Charles will attend St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York in the fall. She hopes to make the ski team there, but if she doesn’t she’ll continue to enjoy the sport recreationally.

“Skiing will always be something I enjoy,” Charles said.

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