RUMFORD — A year ago, Mountain Valley’s Nick Woods knew he could have done better.

He felt it. He looked around at the times other skiers posted in the race for the Class B skimeister crown, and knew he could keep up.

“I can’t even remember what I got, but it was probably mid-pack,” Woods said. “Last year was not my year. I kind of slacked on training a little last year, but this year, I kind of pushed it a little harder.”

That harder push was well worth it.

Woods followed up his MVC skimeister crown with the big one, earning the 2011 Class B skimeister title Thursday on the final day of the Class B skiing championships at Black Mountain of Maine.

“It’s nice to finish up on top again, after MVCs,” Woods said. “It was nice to win that, but winning states was even better.”

Racing in alpine and Nordic events takes its toll. Woods barely practiced, he was racing so often.

“Midseason, I was practicing maybe one a week on both teams,” Woods said. “Because I had a race every day, and it takes up a lot of time. And you have to keep up on your school work, because if you don’t, you aren’t racing at all. It’s a lot of work, takes a lot of dedication.”

After a 17th-place finish in the giant slalom and a 19th in the Nordic freestyle on Tuesday, Woods maintained a sizable margin over his nearest competitor, Sean Daigle of Maranacook, with a top-10 in the slalom event Wednesday at Mt. Abram. Daigle finished fifth, but fell in the previous day’s GS, giving Woods a good cushion.

“On slalom, I’m a little conservative anyway,” Woods said. “And I knew one of my top competitors, Sean Daigle (of Maranacook) went down, so I knew I had to make sure I stood. I knew there was a likely chance if I stood up, I’d take the overall skimeister.

“It’s kind of a bummer, though, because I like competing,” Woods added. “You never like to see anybody go down.”

Woods’ total score of 75 points, after a 29th-place finish Thursday, over four events was 15 better than Daigle, who finished 18th in the classical race.

DeAngelis doubles up

His plan nearly backfired.

But staring at the sky from the flat of his back after crossing the finish line, Maranacook’s Tyler DeAngelis heard all he needed to hear: that he’d finished with the morning’s best time.

“I was dying hard at the end,” DeAngelis said. “But I said to myself, ‘You’ve only got 1K left in your high school career, let’s make it worth something.’ So I pushed really hard at the end.”

That final, exhausted push earned for DeAngelis a second gold medal in two races this week.

“The Yarmouth No. 1 went out wicked fast, so at the first split I was behind him by 11 seconds,” DeAngelis said. “So I turned it on at that point in the race, which I didn’t think I was going to have to do. So then I got to the second split, and I heard that I was up 10 seconds on him, that he was dying hard. I realized I had gone out a little too hard. So I definitely died off at the end. All in all, I won’t complain.”

The course the skiers raced Thursday differed enough from Tuesday’s freestyle course to make a difference in strategy, too.

“The last 2k is like, straight up hill,” DeAngelis said. “On the course we ran in freestyle, there’s a downhill before we get to high school hill, so you have a little bit of rest. Today, you came out of the woods, and it’s just straight up hill. That’s killer.”

With DeAngelis’ finish, along with two other skiers in the top 10, Maranacook rebounded from a mediocre Tuesday showing in the freestyle to post 37 points. The Black Bears placed fourth in the overall Nordic competition and third in the overall Class B race behind Falmouth and Yarmouth.

Caribou claimed the boys’ Class B Nordic crown with 58 points, while Falmouth skied off with the overall Class B boys’ title by 91 points over Yarmouth.

Mace rebounds, James third again

With Falmouth’s Sarah Abramson out first Thursday, Maranacook’s Abby Mace felt comfortable.

“I definitely think I had the advantage,” Mace said.

When Mace first saw her coaches, she was 20 seconds behind Abramson’s split time. The next time she heard anything, she’d made up the deficit and then some. Then, she said, she knew she had a chance.

“I was really surprised, like, maybe I can actually do this,” Mace said.

After Abramson torched the field by a minute in Tuesday’s freestyle Nordic event, all Mace wanted to do was cut into that time Thursday in the classical race. Instead, she won it.

Mace finished in a time of 16:37.9, 17.9 seconds better than Abramson, who earned silver.

“Classic has usually been my stronger discipline, but there was such a big gap in the skate race that I didn’t really think I would do it. I was just going to try and get closer to her. I did not expect to win at all.”

And there was no missing Mt. Abram sophomore Sadie James Thursday, either. With Broomhall Stadium awash in sunshine, James’ sequined headband — much like her face once she heard her time — sparkled.

“I’m known as headband-girl,” the bubbly James said.

She’s also known as a really good skier.

James, the third-best skier Tuesday, held onto her position in Thursday’s classical race, finishing in 17:02.8.

“I like classic better, but last year I placed better in the skate,” James said. “I’m not sure, I think I’m even this year. I was pretty excited about (Thursday).”

Rebecca Bell of Yarmouth claimed the Class C girls’ skimeister title, and the Clippers won every discipline contested this week to earn the alpine, Nordic and overall Class C ski titles.

Falmouth finished second in the overall race, with Mt. Abram in third.


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