Sadie McDonough of Mt. Blue competes during a giant slalom run at the KVAC girls championships last season at Black Mountain in Rumford. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

In many ways, the biggest victories central Maine ski teams made last season weren’t on the slopes.

“The biggest thing last year was how amazing the kids dealt with COVID-19,” Maranacook alpine coach Ronn Gifford said.

Masks joined skis and helmets as essential equipment, and remaining “six feet apart” was as important a number for skiers compared to any times they clocked on the slopes or trails. Gifford said his skiers handled the obstacles with considerable grace, noting “how thankful they were for anybody trying to enforce the protocols, because they wanted to race and they were just awesome from that standpoint.”

Despite the obstacles, skiing in Maine last winter resembled as close to a normal season as possible. While the Maine Principals’ Association declined to offer state championships, the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference and Mountain Valley Conference crowned regional champs.

The MPA is set to resume state title meets this season, which suits Mt. Blue alpine coach Mark Cyr just fine. While the Cougar boys and girls swept the MVAC alpine titles last winter, Cyr is chomping at the bit to see what the rest of the state has to offer.

“It’s always good to see schools from other parts of the state, which we don’t normally see during the regular season,” Cyr said. “Most of our races are basically KVAC and MVC teams. I like the chance to see more schools like Marshwood, Cheverus and Falmouth. It’s always good to see them at the end of the year and see how we stack up against other schools.” 


Cyr returns his entire girls squad, highlighted by seniors Sadie McDonough (fifth in slalom and giant slalom at last season’s KVAC meet) and Khloe Dean and sophomores Katie Yeaton (third in slalom) and Abbey Goodspeed. Junior Vivian Cormier, who missed most of last season, also returns.

Anna Erb of Maranacook competes during a giant slalom run at the KVAC girls championships last season at Black Mountain in Rumford. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

“She’s a strong athlete and a strong skier,” Cyr said.

The Mt. Blue boys will have to find a way to repeat at KVAC champs minus the graduated Jack Kearing, who swept the slalom and GS titles. Senior Josh Smith, who finished less than a second behind Kearing in the GS, leads the returnees, who include classmates Ashton Beaudoin and Sam Goodspeed; junior Dylan Farmer; and sophomores Jackson Hardy and Trent Beaudoin.

The Maranacook girls, who finished second at the KVAC championships, bring back senior Anna Erb, who took second in the GS, as part of a deep crop of seniors that includes Ella Delisle, Ella Trefethan, Meghan Mahoney, Emily Harper and Mimi Knight.

“The girls have a good number of returning skiers and newcomers,” Gifford said. “I think they’ll certainly be very, very competitive.”

The Black Bear boys had only seven skiers last season, but return seniors Sam McKee and Dylan McGarr, whom Gifford said should be “two of the top skiers in the region.” McKee was third in the GS and McGarr was third in the slalom and fifth in the GS at the KVACs. Senior Alex Clark and junior Aiden Guimond return after sitting out last season.


Sam McKee of Maranacook skis the giant slalom course during the KVAC Alpine ski championships last season at Black Mountain in Rumford. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

“I think the boys team will hopefully be a surprise for some people,” Gifford said.

The Skowhegan boys, who placed fifth at last season’s KVACs, also hope to turn some heads. Junior Jakub Prokop, who leads a group of six returnees, “should be finishing in the top 10 on a regular basis,” coach Bill Finley said.

Teammates Oliver Barden, Connor Files and Asa Stroman should also be on the radar, and freshman Drake Tracy is a product of the Farmington Area Ski Team at Titcomb Mountain. Zoe Lambke, Carly McCabe and Nyah Gunst return for the girls, and freshman Lucia Siren is another FAST graduate.

On the Nordic side, Mt. Blue won the KVAC girls title last season, highlighted by Emma Charles’ three-peat in the classical and freestyle events. Classmate Brynne Robbins was second to Charles in both events, while Kamryn Joyce, now a junior, was third in freestyle and sixth in classical. The Mt. Blue boys were second, with then-sophomore Carson Zundel placing third in the classical and sixth in the freestyle.

The Maranacook boys return a solid top three in Max Olmstead, Silas Bartol and Wyatt Stevenson; Olmstead was third in the classical, fourth in freestyle at the KVACs as the Black Bears placed fifth as a team.

“Our overall team performance will depend on those three and which of the other boys rises to the challenge of being our fourth, fifth and sixth skiers,” coach Steve DeAngelis said.

The Black Bear girls return a deep group from last season’s KVAC runners-up, led by Sally Stokes (13th in freestyle) and fellow seniors Jenna Badeau and Claire Holman. “The key question to be answered for them is which of the skiers can ski at a consistently high level,” Deangelis said. “The girls’ team intends to have a lot of fun skiing this winter.”

Winthrop will field a girls team this winter and will train with Maranacook, DeAngelis said. At least four skiers have signed up, with more possible to follow.

Comments are not available on this story.