February 17, 2013

HIGH SCHOOL SKIING STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS: Maranacook, Mt. Abram ride wave into states

BY DAVE DYER Staff Writer

Maranacook Alpine coach Ronn Gifford is happy. But he knows the season isn't done yet.

Though the Maranacook boys ski team is coming off an overall Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference title, it's not the top goal.

That comes this week with the start of the state championship ski meets. Maranacook is a favorite in the Class B meet.

The Black Bears took the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference boys overall and Alpine titles last week, led by Alec Daigle, who won the slalom title, and Matt Delmar, who won the giant slalom title.

"The kids always do a nice job of realizing what the KVACs are," Gifford said. "Whatever happens there, it's done, it's over and it's time to move on. The state meet is a different beast. We're in Class B, most of our competition is in Class A.

It's like 'Ok, good job, wipe the slate clean' and we rebuild and tackle the state meet."

One of the teams that will challenge Maranacook is Mt. Abram.

The Roadrunners swept the Mountain Valley Conference championships, winning both the boys and girls overall titles. Mt. Abram also won the MVC Nordic championship.

Mt. Abram was led by Thomas Faraday, who won the classical and freestyle titles. Elise Luce won the giant slalom title, and Emma Houston won the freestyle title.

Roadrunners Alpine coach Bob Luce has let the team stay loose this week entering the state championships.

"I just told the kids to free ski and have fun," Luce said. "We had a couple good days of practice at the end of the week."

Yarmouth enters the meet the defending Class B champion, both in boys and girls skiing. Cape Elizabeth will also be a team to watch. Luce said it's tough to know which teams will challenge because they race in different conferences.

"It's interesting when you get to states, because you don't see a lot of the teams that race in the southern Maine or western conferences," Luce said.

The Black Bears are led by a strong boys Alpine squad. Aside from Daigle and Delmar, Toby Smith, Alex Tooth and Kelby Mace add depth. The group, who have skied together for years, are all juniors. Gifford said the group challenges each other.

"(In previous years) they were almost dueling it out with themselves a bit," Gifford said. "Friendly, but true competition. I think this year, other than the previous two years, they've really come together as a group. They're still competing, but much more supportive of each other and helping each other out with little things, talking out strategy together."

Maranacook also saw success on the girls side last week, as Caroline Colan won the KVAC classical title and Maddy Chiappetta won the KVAC skimeister title. The girls Alpine team finished third at the KVACs.

Mt. Blue made its presence known as well, winning the KVAC boys Nordic championship. Sarah Wade picked up the lone individual title for the Cougars, winning the KVAC freestyle title.

Until a different team takes over, the Mt. Blue girls team is still a favorite in Class A. History is still on the side of the Cougars, as they enter as the eight-time defending Class A champion. Mt. Blue has only missed out on a Class A girls title twice since 1992. Falmouth enters the Class A meet as the defending boys champion. Scarborough, however, could challenge both. The Red Storm won the boys and girls Southeastern Maine Activities Association (SMAA) Alpine titles.

Merriconeag won the boys and girls Western Maine Conference Nordic titles last week and could be a favorite in Class C. Fort Kent won last year's boys title, while Freeport won the girls championship.

Winthrop could be a surprise team. The Ramblers made a splash last week, winning the MVC girls Nordic title. Individually, Monmouth's Becki Bryant won the MVC skimeister championship.

The week will start with Class A Nordic, which will run its classical race today at 1:30 p.m. and freestyle on Tuesday at Black Mountain Ski Resort in Rumford. Class A Alpine will start Tuesday at Mt. Abram with giant slalom, while the slalom race will take place Wednesday.

Class B Nordic takes place on Wednesday (classical) and Thursday (freestyle) at Black Mountain, while Class B Nordic takes place on Thursday (giant slalom) and Friday (slalom), which will also take place at Black Mountain.

Class C Nordic begins today at 1:30 p.m. (classical) at the Nordic Heritage Ski Center in Presque Isle and continues Tuesday (freestyle). Class C Alpine will take place Tuesday (giant slalom) and Wednesday (slalom) at the Big Rock Ski Area in Mars Hill.

Dave Dyer -- 621-5639

ddyer@centralmaine.com

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