BRIDGTON — On her previous trip down the East Slope of Shawnee Peak, at the SMAA championship meet last week, Annesley Black of Cheverus tumbled out of contention.

So she approached the Class A giant slalom state championship Thursday with a bit of trepidation.

Eli Yeaton of Mt. Blue handles a difficult turn on the headwall while competing in the Class A skiing giant slalom championships Thursday at Shawnee Peak.

“It was a little bit of a mental block,” she said. “I was a little bit nervous, but I just had to keep fighting.”

On a sun-splashed day with tricky conditions following Wednesday’s snowstorm, Black remained perfect on the state championship stage. She won her third straight Class A giant slalom title and fifth individual crown in five attempts, after spending her freshman winter at a ski academy in Vermont.

Brooke Juneau of Fryeburg, who pinned the only loss on Black this season that didn’t involve a fall, put down the fastest second run after overcoming her own stumble in the first and rose to second place from 12th.

“My adrenaline was pumping for the second run,” said Juneau, whose combined time was within a second of Black’s 1 minute, 24.86 second total. “I was just so excited. I didn’t expect to make up that much time, so I’m pretty happy with that.”

Samuel Smith of Mt. Blue competes in the Class A skiing giant slalom championships at Shawnee Peak. Portland Press Herald photo by Derek Davis

In all, 185 skiers from 21 schools took part in the first race of the two-day competition, held for the first time ahead of school vacation week to better align with the needs of ski areas. Defending state champion Falmouth opened a 17-point lead over Mt. Blue among boys teams, with Freeport another 31 points back. For girls, Mt. Blue leads Edward Little by 12 points, with defending champion Fryeburg another 30 points behind.

Sean Maguire of Marshwood won the boys giant slalom by two-tenths of a second over A.J. Noyes of Falmouth, in 1:19.29.

The meet will end Friday with slalom races beginning at 9 a.m.

Maguire and Noyes were the only skiers to break 40 seconds in the morning run, with Maguire’s 38.45 leading by four-tenths. In the second run, with shadows creeping over the course, Maguire’s hip hit the snow around one gate, but he managed to hang on.

“Coming over the pitch, you couldn’t see the ground, and there’s a lot of jumps and just mounds of snow that haven’t been skied off,” he said. “I know it sent me flying. I almost missed a gate. (Noyes) had the same problem. It was enough to get you off your line.”

Colby Van Decker of Oxford Hills fell on his first run but put down the fastest second run. Noyes cut the margin with Maguire in half but settled for second overall to lead a Falmouth team that also placed Gibson Scott fourth, Ben Adey sixth and Andrew Christie ninth. Adey actually attends Waynflete, which has a cooperative arrangement with Falmouth.

“We were up here the other day racing, and on a scale of 1 to 10, it was about a 9.8 in the hardness factor,” Falmouth coach Tip Kimball said of the ice at Shawnee Peak, thanks to a freeze-thaw cycle. “So we knew it was still under there, even with all this snow. The mountain did a great job pushing that new snow off the race course, so we were right down to that hard ice.”

Kimball said his racers prefer the ice to ruts and deep snow. Still, more than 300 runs left the course rather rough by the afternoon.

“You had to have a good set of shock absorbers on this one, and sharp edges and cranked bindings,” Kimball said. “Any flaw in your technique was going to be exaggerated by those conditions. It was tough.”

Jenna Hanrahan of Mt. Blue competes in the Class A skiing giant slalom championships Thursday at Shawnee Peak. Portland Press Herald photo by Derek Davis

The Mt. Blue girls pulled ahead thanks to a 3-4 finish by Jenna Hanrahan and Ellie Pelletier, with Mazie Gordon and Khloe Dean placing 20th and 29th.

“This is pretty much where I expected to be for the girls,” said Mt. Blue coach Mark Cyr. “We’re going into Day 2 and I really think we’re a better slalom team than we are a (giant slalom) team. We train slalom pretty extensively at Titcomb (Mountain, in Farmington) and it’s a great slalom hill. So I think we’re ready to go, and hopefully stay ahead of Edward Little and Fryeburg.”

Conditions for Friday could be even more challenging, with the forecast calling for morning snow and afternoon rain. Black will shoot for a third straight Class A slalom state title.

“It’s going to be an interesting day,” she said.

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or

[email protected]

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH

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