Maranacook’s Carter McPhedran is the Central Maine Boys Nordic Skier of the Year. Morning Sentinel file photo by Michael G. Seamans

In a time where sports debate is the popular thing, Carter McPhedran’s 2020 ski season left absolutely no room for it.

The Maranacook senior made a clean sweep of the freestyle and classical titles at both the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championships and Class B state championships. He also proved to be the fastest classical skier in the state.

For his efforts, McPhedran is the Central Maine Boys Nordic Skier of the Year.

McPhedran had no trouble at the KVACs, particularly in the classical, where his time of 14:40 was 1:33 faster than second-place finisher Evan Hornbach of Mt. Blue.

But McPhedran took his game to another level at the Class B championships. He took the freestyle title with a time of 15:07.6, winning the event by 1:07. But in the classical, McPhedran blew the competition away, finishing with a time of 14:23. McPhedran not only had the fastest time in Class B (winning by a margin of 1:48). but it was the fastest time of any skier in the event in the entire state. The closest time to McPhedran was Portland’s Liam Niles, who won the Class A title with a time of 15:10.

“I think that was the biggest goal,” McPhedran said. “I knew all three classes were going (to compete) at Titcomb (Mountain), I was super-hyped about that. To make that happen, I was pretty confident within Class B that I could get it, but I knew there were some pretty fast skiers in Class A. I thought I had it (after the race), but it felt so good to come across that (finish) line and hear that.”

Maranacook Nordic coach Steve DeAngelis said part of what makes McPedran a great skier is his ability to work and break down his races.

“He’s a great thinker in practice and can really break down (his effort) after races,” DeAngelis said. “He breaks it down like crazy. But he just loves to ski. When you show him something and go ‘Ok Carter, work on this,’ he doesn’t mind working on it because he’s going to go skiing, anyway. He’s a very good technician in a race, but that’s because he’s a very careful and thoughtful technician outside of the race.”

McPhedran’s dominance on the course is even more impressive with the fact that his training was limited during the offseason. He broke his wrist during the summer, and while playing soccer during the fall, McPhedran was diagnosed with mononucleosis.

“That was really the tough one,” McPhedran said. “The wrist was tough, too. But the mono, that’s still with me now. I was out for two weeks during soccer season, then set back with everything a little bit, in terms of energy, training and all of that.”

While McPhedran was recovering from mono, unable to train the way he wanted to physically, he practiced visualization techniques to get mentally prepared for the season.

“Visualizing is a big thing,” McPhedran said. “Visualizing pushing myself all the time (on the course) so I’m more likely to actually do it during the race.”

McPhedran also made sure that he enjoyed his final ski season.

“I can’t emphasize the having fun part (of racing),” McPhedran said. “I kind of changed my mindset. Instead of ‘I wish I was somewhere else’ physically, I was like, ‘Alright, this is going to be a fun challenge, let’s see what I can do with it.'”

DeAngelis said he’s not only impressed by McPhedran’s ability, but how he’s viewed by fellow skiers.

“The amazing thing about Carter is, he’s crazy good, and when he’s out (on the course) he’s just lasered-in focused on going as fast as he can,” DeAngelis said. “Nothing gets in his way. If he even has a little slip, it doesn’t even stop him. But, when it’s all over, I guarantee you, every skier will tell you he’s the most popular kid in skiing… He’s just a natural leader and just an incredibly good human. All the other skiers from all the other teams love him because he’s just so genuine and kind.”

McPhedran is unsure of his college plans at press time, but did say that 2020 was likely his final season as a competitive skier.

“I don’t want to be on a team where (skiing) is taking up all my time,” McPhedran said. “I think I’m ready to explore some other things in college.”

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