Maranacook High School teammates Gabe Fein, left, Luke Bartol and Carter Mcphedran react following their first, second and third place finish during Class B State Ski Championship pursuit race at Titcomb Mountain in Farmington on Feb. 19. (Sun Journal photo by Daryn Slover)  

It was as good of an ending as the Maranacook boys Nordic team could have had.

Not only did the Black Bears walk away with the Class B championship Feb. 19 at Titcomb Mountain in Farmington, but it was done in a way that won’t soon be forgotten.

On Day 2 of the championships, junior Carter McPhedran finished first in the classical race, ahead of senior teammates Gabe Fein and Luke Bartol, who went second and third. But, in fact, it was a case of all three walking away winners. Bartol had won the freestyle race the day earlier. Fein finished as the pursuit winner.

“I could not have imagined a better way to end the season, there are no words to describe it,” Bartol said after the race.

“It was magical,” McPhedran added.

Maranacook Nordic coach Steven DeAngelis — who wrapped up his 33rd season leading the program — wouldn’t compare the group with teams of the past. But there was no question that he witnessed the end of a memorable season.

“We’ve had amazing skiers before,” DeAngelis said. “The most amazing part was to have three skiers who are that good — and (finished) that close together. Not only did they finish one, two, three, but they did it within seconds of each other. That’s just crazy… (The finish) I thought was particularly fair and just, because they are so even.”

It was a microcosm of how the outgoing senior class — which includes Tate Mendall and Bryce Trefethen — has set the tone for years, an inner competition within the team to pull out the best results. And it worked, as the group won three Nordic titles in their time at Maranacook.

Carter Mcphedran of Maranacook tucks as he enters the stadium during the Class B Nordic State Ski Championship classical race at Titcomb Mountain in Farmington on Feb. 19. Mcphedran won the race and is the Class B state classical champion. (Sun Journal photo by Daryn Slover)

“I think one of the things that distinguishes them (is) they’re not flashy, they’re not cocky,” DeAngelis said. “They’re really good, but they just have the spirit of loving to ski, and not getting too worked up about if somebody else beats them on their team. They do a great job of making each other better. That, and the fact they’re not showy. They just have fun, they love what they’re doing, they go out and ski and are great sports about it with other people. I could not ask for any more, they’ve been great leaders.”

That was a fact not lost on the Maine Principals’ Association, who gave its Class B boys and girls sportsmanship awards to Maranacook.

It was nearly a happy ending for the Mt. Blue boys and girls Nordic teams at the Class A meet at Stark’s Hill in Fryeburg. Unfortunately for the Cougars, both teams ended up in second place, a mere two points behind champions Portland (girls) and Falmouth (boys). It was particularly heartbreaking for the boys team, which would have had four consecutive Nordic titles had it won.

Still, with days of reflection, Mt. Blue Nordic coach Claire Polfus could not have been prouder of both her teams.

“We had a few snafus the first day,” Polfus said. “The kids really were resilient through (the meet). We were late and there’s some stuff with where we were staying that came up. The second day, the kids came back and skied really strong. Honestly, I was out on the course cheering for them. And I’ve rarely been so proud of any team that I have coached.”

The meet was also highlighted by the emergence of freshman Emma Charles, who came away as the girls freestyle, classical and pursuit champion.

“Emma had an amazing freshman season,” Polfus said. “She’s been skiing really strong and consistently all year, which is really impressive for a freshman. She has a really great (athletic) mindset about races, and about giving it her all without getting too nervous. She was nervous for states, it was a big deal as a freshman to go in with big expectations. But she was really good at focusing on what’s in front of her and performing well in that, whether it’s the next 10 feet of the trail or the next race.”

The results of the meet did nothing to diminish the accomplishments of a strong senior class from both teams, which include Sam Smith, Dominic Giampietro, Mick Gurney and Jesse Dalton on the boys side and Chelsea Seabold on the girls team. It’s the first group Polfus has had for a full four years at Mt. Blue.

“I could talk about each of them in their own way,” Polfus said. “All of those kids, it was a nice (final) day. Tuesday was a beautiful, sunny day. They put their all into a race and then they had fun as a team cheering on their teammates.”

Lewiston Sun Journal reporter Adam Robinson contributed to this report.

Dave Dyer — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Dave_Dyer

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