RUMFORD — Slush tested skiers’ balance and standing water drenched their feet, but moisture and a puddle spreading out like one of the Great Lakes didn’t deter the Mt. Blue girls’ and boys’ Nordic ski teams from making a splash Wednesday at Black Mountain of Maine.

The Mt. Blue girls took five of the top 10 places Wednesday, led by senior Emma Charles’ dazzling first-place finish, in the interval start classical race at the state championships on an unusually warm afternoon.

The meet, which includes Class A, B and C teams, concludes Thursday with a freestyle pursuit, beginning at 10 a.m.

The effervescent Charles said she knew her time would be slower than usual. As the day grew warmer, puddles like the one at the start formed, and skiers ended up taking a dip.

Charles finished in 18 minutes, 40.3 seconds. She attributed her success to “mental toughness.”

“I have definitely skied worse (courses),” Charles said. “Thanks to my coaches just for the awesome wax. Today was definitely a hard day, but considering everything, they did pretty well.”


Charles, a senior, swept the Class A classical and freestyle races as a freshman and sophomore. There were no state championships last year because of the pandemic.

The Cougars had the top four finishers in the girls’ race. Following Charles were Brynne Robbins (19:47.4), Moriah Reusch (20:22.2) and Nora McCourt (20:38.6). Leska Whitmarsh (20:39.6) of Cheverus was fifth, followed by Mt. Blue’s Bridget Reusch (20:43.1).

“A lot of my girls (had a great day),” Mt. Blue Nordic Coach Emmy Held said. “I had some outstanding performances from some of my other girls today, too. It is really cool to see that. Everybody was collapsing in snowbanks because they were so overheated.

“They did a great job (with the course). It is better than it could be. It could be worse. It is tough, but the wax is working and the kids are giving it everything they’ve got. They are a really gritty group, so it is what you had to have today.”

Edward Little’s Nora Condit finished eighth in 21:08.0.

“They all skied really well today,” Red Eddies Coach Eric Cobb said. “I was really, really impressed with the way they went up the hills. The times are going to be really slow today.” 


Edward Little’s Caelan McGuigan (34th, 25:21.3) said it was indeed a sloppy mess out there.

“It was rough,” McGuigan said. “It was interesting for sure. I never skied in conditions like this. It was OK. You had to look further up ahead … because there were puddles that were almost knee-deep, ice and then no snow at all.”

Joey Rouhana (16:37.3) of Falmouth won the Class A boys’ race, but Mt. Blue had five in the top 11: Carson Zundel (second, 17:32.3), Henri McCourt (third, 17:46.9), Josh Smith (sixth, 19:03.9), Grayson Hoeft (10th, 19:30.1) and Alex Hardy (11th, 19:33.8).

“It is like skiing through a river,” said McCourt, a freshman. “I felt pretty good. There was a lot more striding than there normally is. This course is a lot of fun.” 

Oxford Hills’ Gray Vanderwood raced to a ninth-place finish with a time of 19:18.5. Teammate Nick Bancroft (20:46.1) finished  27th.

“It went well. I am happy with the way I performed,” Bancroft said, “but it was probably one of the hardest races I have ever been part of. Thirty seconds in, your legs and boots are drenched with water. It feels like you have weights on your feet.”



Leavitt’s Logan Ouellette kept on smiling as he spoke about his first-place finish in the Class B boys’ race with a time of 18:08.1.

“I was definitely on my heels pretty much (on the course), Ouellette said. “A lot of the kick wax is typically on the front of your skies, so I tried to stay off of them as much as I could.  I literally ran half of this course because it was so difficult.”

Sam Robinson (18:10.7) of Freeport was the runner-up, followed by Yarmouth’s Askel Yeo (18:37.6) and Cornelius Welsh (18:54.8). Gray-New Gloucester’s Michael Sweeney placed fifth at 18:58.5.

The Class B girls’ race was won by Caribou’s Kaley Bell (22:13.1) – 16 seconds faster than Emma Haims of Maine Coast Waldorf. Maranacook’s Elisa Bergdahl (22:37.2), Leavitt’s Jade Haylock (23:18.5) and Freeport’s Jillian Wight (23:24.2) rounded out the top five.


Mt. Abram’s Alex Hemingway steered himself through the mush to finish first in the Class C boys’ race with time of 17:08.1, beating Spruce Mountain’s Abrahm Geissinger (18:14.5) by more than a full minute.

“I had great coaches, great wax, fast skis,” Hemingway said. “That’s really all this was. You had to push. It was kind of watery, slushy. It was a good fight. It think it was a good race.”

Orono sophomore Ruth White (21:10.6), the New England cross country champion in the fall, grabbed first place among Class C girls, nearly a minute faster than runner-up Emily Kidd (22:04.7) of Mt. Abram.

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