FARMINGTON — Snow began falling Tuesday morning just as Yarmouth junior Maddie Marston set off into the woods at Titcomb Mountain, a strip of glitter on each of her cheekbones and a thicker strip of gray duct tape around her right ski boot to keep a broken zipper at bay.

Because she was the fastest Class B skier in the classical race on Monday, Marston led the pack of 36 girls in Tuesday’s freestyle pursuit on the final day of the Nordic skiing state championships.

Emma Charles of Mount Blue High School tucks into the stadium during the Maine State Championship freestyle pursuit race at Titcomb Mountain in Farmington on Tuesday. Charles is the 2020 Maine Class A freestyle, classic and pursuit champion. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

That meant she wasn’t pursuing anybody. So she imagined a skier, someone faster and just around the next bend.

“It’s very tough just being on your own,” Marston said. “It’s a whole mental block. You’re getting chased, and there’s no one to chase. I had to focus on what was ahead of me.”

Marston was one of five skiers who parlayed the head starts they earned Monday into a pursuit victory Tuesday. As a bonus, she also led a 1-3-6-7 Yarmouth finish to give the Clippers their third straight Class B Nordic state title.

Freshman Anne Bergeron, junior Mary Psyhogeos and senior Sadie Cowles rounded out the Yarmouth scoring, which outdistanced runner-up Caribou by 23 points.

“It’s kind of likely that we’re all in the top seven,” Marston said, “because we all train together and we’re all in that same skill level.”

This winter marked the first in which schools from all three size classifications came together at the same venue. It also marked the first state meet that banned the use of high-fluoro ski waxes.

Among Class A girls, sophomore Emma Charles led a dominant showing by host Mt. Blue, which pulled away from runner-up Deering by 28 points.

In Class C, Fort Kent earned its first girls’ state title since 2010. Runner-up Waynflete was 13 points back. Dolcie Tanguay, a senior from the Maine School of Science and Mathematics in Limestone, won the pursuit race.

For boys,  Falmouth won its second straight Class A state title by holding off a challenge from Portland to win by 12. Freeport withstood a similar push from Caribou in Class B and Madawaska successfully defended its crown in Class C.

Individually, Portland senior Liam Niles added the Class A pursuit title to his classical crown by holding off Deering senior William Jordan and Greely of Cumberland junior Leif Harvey for a two-event combined time of 29 minutes, 56.2 seconds.

Harvey moved up from third to finish 20 seconds behind Niles and 20 ahead of Jordan.

Carter McPhedran of Maranacook High School climbs the first big hill during the Maine State Championship freestyle pursuit race at Titcomb Mountain in Farmington on Tuesday. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

“That was a lot of fun,” Niles said of traversing the 5-kilometer course amid what turned into a blizzard. “The snow mixed it up a little, made it more interesting.”

In Class A girls, Charles put down the fastest time of any girl in any class, with 16:07 for her freestyle loop completing a combined 32:49.9 pursuit that was nearly a minute and a half faster than runner-up Eva Clement, a Falmouth junior who moved up from third to second.

After a strenuous but ultimately successful weekend in New Hampshire qualifying for the Junior National team, Charles fell to her knees Tuesday with back spasms.

“I think just from all the stress from 19 and a half kilometers of racing in four days,” said Charles, holding hand warmers to the small of her back. “It hurt the last kilometer, kilometer and a half. Luckily with this course, that’s all pretty much downhill so I was able to put my elbows on my knees and relax a little bit.”

Maranacook senior Carter McPhedran, the two-time classical champ in Class B, added the pursuit title by a margin of more than three minutes in 29:30.6, fastest of the meet regardless of class. He said he enjoyed the festive atmosphere created by 286 individual skiers from every county in the state.

“Having all these guys you know cheering, and you can cheer for them, it’s so much fun,” he said. “I love it.”

Freeport senior Caleb Hunter, who was second in classical, finished fourth in pursuit after a spirited tussle throughout the course with Caribou teammates Malachai Willey and George Ferland.

“We had an epic race,” Hunter said. “They passed me towards the beginning, then I passed one of them at one point, then he passed me back. We had just this awesome battle the whole time. They’re my favorite team, I think, aside from us.”

Sophomore Samuel Robinson and seniors Noah Hight and Thomas Robinson finished 6-7-8 to secure the Freeport victory, by seven points over the Vikings.

In Class C, Fort Kent junior Miguel Sanclemente was the lone come-from-behind pursuit winner. He made up five-second deficit and lunged his ski across the line just before that of classical champ Alex Hemingway, a sophomore from team runner-up Mt. Abram, to win by four tenths of a second in 31:29.3.

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