Nora McCourt of Mt. Blue High School competes during a Nordic ski race last season at Black Mountain. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

As it seems to be on a yearly basis for central Maine Nordic ski teams, a new season is not one comprised of rebuilds, but of a recharges.

In Class A, Mt. Blue swept the boys and girls state titles last season. For the girls, it was their fourth team title in the last six years. The boys won their third title dating to 2016. While the Cougars graduated top talent, large numbers and raw talent return once again to push Mt. Blue on another run.

“It’s a really exciting group of kids, there’s a lot of energy,” Mt. Blue head coach Emmy Held said. “There’s a lot of talent. It’s kind of a special class for me, because this is my fourth-year coaching, it’s the first group (of seniors) I’ve had for all four years. We also have a lot of talented, hardworking young students.”

The Mt. Blue girls graduated its top two skiers in Emma Charles, who is now competing for the University of New Hampshire, as well as Brynne Robbins. However, the Cougars return Nora McCourt and Bridget Reusch, who each turned in top-five finishes last winter at the Class A championships.

“I lost quite a few seniors on the girls side, but there’s so many (returners),” Held said. “I always say the worst part of the job is picking what the top eight (skiers) for states is going to be. I’ve been so lucky to have that issue. But I have a lot of fast, hardworking, deserving kids on both the boys and girls that wouldn’t have made the top eight (at Mt. Blue) but would’ve been top 15 in the state.”

The Mt. Blue boys return two of its top skiers in Henri McCourt and Carson Zundel. McCourt finished second in the pursuit at the Class A meet last year, and he finished third in the freestyle. Zundel had top-five finishes in both events.


In Class B, Maranacook won the girls state championship last year and has the talent in place to make yet another run for the title in the 2022-2023 season.

“The girls have three of the top four (skiers) coming back from last year’s team that won the state championship, that’s good,” Maranacook head coach Steve DeAngelis said. “We really are going to need to develop a No. 4 skier that’s strong. That’ll be interesting to see where that comes from.”

Maranacook teammates Wyatt Stevenson, left, and Silas Bartol compete during the Mini Roy Varney Hornet Classic ski race last seasonat the Maine Outdoor Wellness Center in Turner. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

The Black Bears return top skier Elsa Bergdahl, who had top-three performances at the Class B meet last year. She’s followed by Olympia Farrell, who had top-10 finishes at states. Lina Martinez Nocito rounds out the group. Mary Hatt and Ruby Nelson are viewed as early contenders for the fourth spot.

“We have a bit of a smaller team, but we just completed our first week of practice and like the vibe of the team,’ DeAngelis said.

It’s a similar situation for the Maranacook boys, who return two of its top skiers in Wyatt Stevenson and Silas Bartol. Stevenson had a top-10 performance at the Class B meet last year.

“(Bartol and Stevenson) will both be up there again,” DeAngelis said. “The question now is what do we get out of three and four?”


Ben Adams and Eric Nelson are early candidates to complete the top four of the boys lineup for the Black Bears.

Olympia Farrell of Maranacook competes during the Nordic state championship pursuit race last season at Black Mountain in Rumford. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

There is a shakeup at Mt. Abram, but not with its lineup. After 39 years, Merit “Buzz” Bean and his wife, Sally Bean, are no longer running the Nordic program. Lucas Millikin, a former standout and three-year captain at Bates College, is the new head coach.

“Lucas is going to do a great job, I’m really excited to have Lucas taking over there,” said Buzz Bean, who is still the head Nordic coach at the University of Maine at Farmington. “He’s young, he’s enthusiastic, he’s teaching at the high school. We were over the other day, handing over wax boxes, and the kids were having a ball…

“We’ve had just an incredible run,” Bean continued. “We’re on our second generation of athletes, like, ‘Yup, I (coached) your mom and dad.’ It’s been great to get to know the kids, and we stay in touch quite regularly with a lot of the alumni over the years.”

Mt. Abram is the defending Class C boys champion. The Roadrunners graduated their top skier in Alex Hemingway, but will return Jeff Warnock, who had top 10 finishes in both events at the Class C meet last year.


Dave Dyer – 621-5640

Twitter: @Dave_Dyer

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