Class A Nordic: Mt. Blue boys, Fryeburg girls take state titles

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Zoe Maguire of Fryeburg Academy tucks on a downhill during the Class A Nordic ski championship 5K freestyle pursuit race at Black Mountain in Rumford on Friday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

RUMFORD — The Fryeburg Academy and Deering girls’ teams were separated by just three points beginning Friday’s second and final day at the Class A Nordic ski championships.

The closest of the two team races, both teams knew it would come down to a couple of places.

Fryeburg’s top four skiers finish in the top 25, while Deering had its top four in the top 15. However, Fryeburg’s Emily Carty finished first in Friday’s freestyle race with a time of 16:18.2 and steered the Raiders to a one-point victory, 38-39.

Carty’s teammates Irina Norkin, (fifth) and Zoe Maguire (seventh) sandwiched Deering’s first finisher, Sierra Aponte-Clark, who placed sixth. Those two finishes ahead of Aponte-Clark made the difference.

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In the overall individual pursuit, Morse’s Jennifer Wilbraham started Sunday’s pursuit with a 29.4 second lead over Grace Tumavicus of Deering. For Wilbraham, it was all about leaving everything on the track.

“My plan was to take every hill as hard as I could to ensure that I could maximize every point of the course and kind of keep that lead,” Wilbraham said. “I guess I was just going to make this my race because there was no one to push me so I just had to go.”

Wilbraham finished fourth Friday, but held her lead overall to win by more than 40 seconds.

“This one was a little harder because I’m pretty sore and tired,” Wilbraham said. “In general, this season has been a lot of that, so it was something that I really had to dig into. I usually can’t touch some other gear and that’s what I did today and it blew my mind. I can’t even put into words how grateful I am to be able to do what I wanted to do all season and finally end on a good note.”

Mt. Blue’s Meghan Charles, who won the Oxford Hills relays earlier in the season, finished fourth overall, while Leavitt’s Tamra Benson finished 10th overall.

Cougars roll

On the boys’ side, Mt. Blue rolled into the second day of the Class A meet with a 28-point lead over both Leavitt and Falmouth. Led by Sam Smith, who finished sixth on Thursday in the 5k classical race, Mt. Blue dominated Friday, also, led by Smith’s eighth-place finish, to defeat Falmouth by 17 points, 40-57.

In the individual race, it was all about Leavitt’s Roy Varney, who finished first in Thursday’s classical race, and Liam Niles of Portland, just 1.4 seconds behind.

In Friday’s pursuit race, Varney and Niles went off at virtually the same time.

“For the first lap I just planned on sitting behind Roy and see what he was doing, then if I get good then go ahead of him in the last bit maybe,” Niles said. “Coming down the first lap there’s a big down hill and then after that I thought maybe I’d be able to push the pace a little bit. Then, with knowing it’s the same lap twice, I knew I had that down hill to rejuvenate and then push it in the last bit.”

Niles took over the race early and defeated Varney by 15 seconds to win the Class A Nordic overall pusuit. For Varney, the battle with Niles was expected all season.

“I was hoping he would take the lead so I could draft him and then possibly take off to lead but I didn’t expect him to be that good at skate,” Varney said. “It was a little different. The whole season it’s been ‘you gotta watch him, you gotta watch him.’ When I looked up and saw that he was going to be behind me I knew it was going to be a pretty big battle.”

Varney’s classical race went a lot smoother for him than Friday’s freestyle.

“I feel really good about getting second,” Varney said. “I definitely liked my classical better than my skate. Getting second overall was pretty nice but now I know I have to work on my skate a little bit more.”

Oxford Hills’ Cameron Bancroft finished seventh overall.

Michael Gurney, left, and Dominic Giampietro of Mt. Blue High School catch their breath after finishing the 5K freestyle pursuit race at Black Mountain in Rumford on Friday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Mt. Blue High School Nordic ski coaches Claire Polfus and Jeremy Read gather with their boy’s team prior to the start of their 5K freestyle pursuit race at Black Mountain in Rumford on Friday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Tamra Benson of Leavitt Area High School catches her breath at the finish line of the 5K freestyle Class A state championship pursuit race at Black Mountain in Rumford on Friday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Meghan Charles of Mt. Blue High School crosses the finish line during the Class A Nordic ski championship 5K freestyle pursuit race at Black Mountain in Rumford on Friday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Meghan Cantlin of Falmouth High School gives her teammate Vance Boyd a hug after Boyd finished his 5K freestyle pursuit race at Black Mountain in Rumford on Friday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Jennifer Wilbraham of Morse High School skis to her overall win in the 5K freestyle pursuit race at Black Mountain in Rumford on Friday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

The Mt. Blue High School girl’s Nordic ski team warm up before the start of Friday’s state championship freestyle race at Black Mountain. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Gretchen Huish, left, and Meghan Charles of Mt. Blue High School hug at the finish area of the 5K freestyle pursuit race at Black Mountain in Rumford on Friday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Cam Langlois of Edward Little High School finishes the 5K freestyle pursuit race at Black Mountain in Rumford on Friday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Casey Burhoe, left, of Edward Little High School shakes hands with Ian Orsmond of Camden Hills after the two finished the 5K freestyle pursuit race at Black Mountain in Rumford on Friday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Leavitt Area High School Nordic ski coach Dustin Williamson gives Ally Ryan a high five after she and her teammates finished their 5K freestyle pursuit race at Black Mountain in Rumford on Friday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Evan Hornbach of Mt. Blue High School powers his way up the first climb during the the 5K freestyle pursuit race at Black Mountain in Rumford on Friday.  (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Sisters Zoe Huish, left, and Gretchen Huish of Mt. Blue High School hug as their teammate Kayla White, right, catches her breath at the finish area of the 5K freestyle pursuit race at Black Mountain in Rumford on Friday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

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