GREENWOOD — Telling dozens of teenagers to get a grip and live on the edge might seem like contradictory advice, but it was the only way to go at Monday’s Leavitt Invitational giant slalom race at Mt. Abram.

Skiers struggled to stay upright on the icy, appropriately-named Boris Badenov slope, but those who did certainly enjoyed a big boost to their early-season confidence.

Lydia Morin of Camden Hills and Maranacook’s Alec Daigle turned in the fastest times among the girls and boys, respectively. Morin led the Windjammers to the top girls’ team score, followed by Edward Little and Spruce Mountain, and Daigle led the Black Bears to the winning boys’ score, with Mt. Blue and Edward Little placing second and third.

Morin compiled a winning time of 1:48.51 in her two runs.

“There are patches of ice and some bumps, too,” Morin said. “My edges weren’t that sharp so I was slipping a little bit.”

“I definitely did better on my first run and I was a little bit more cautious on my second run because of the ice,” she said. “(First run) I was just thinking of being really aggressive.”

Evelyn Thompson of Hampden (1:49.81), Ella Simon of Camden Hills (1:51.94), Annika Kahkonen of Oxford Hills (1:54.85) and Jillian Galloway of Watershed School (1:55.29) rounded out the top five.

Like many of the racers, Kahkonen was just glad to end the race on two skis.

“I’ve only made it down in one race and I finished in last because I had to hike. This is my first race that I’ve actually been able to get down with some decent times,” Kahknonen said.

“It’s basically all ice covered  with man-made snow, which easily scrapes off so there’s, like, no snow left You’ve just got to grip it with your edges,” said Kahkonen, a junior.

Two days removed from winning the Maranacook Slalom, Daigle dominated the big hill with a winning cumulative time of 1:34.55, more than four seconds ahead of co-runners-up Reilly Bolduc (1:38.69) of Lewiston and  Jake Davee of Camden Hills. Maranacook’s Toby Smith (1:40.63) and Edward Little’s Evan Mancini (1:41.00) rounded out the top five.

Bolduc trailed Daigle by nearly three seconds after the first run. The Lewiston senior hoped to close the gap the second time down (race officials decided not to conduct a course inspection or reset between runs), but ultimately decided to play it safe.

“I was trying to approach the second run more aggressive, but with the conditions, it was pretty hard to do that,” Bolduc said. “So after a little bit of sliding I thought smarter and was more cautious.”

“You really had to approach it with a lot of strength,” he said. “If you didn’t have a good edge, you were going to be sliding all over. You’ve really got to be on your toes and be looking ahead.”

Led by the 8-9-10 trio of Kyle Farrington (1:42.87), Dylan Roberts (1:43.94) and Felix Bonnevie (1:44.82) and 13th-place finisher Anthony Franchetti (1:49.11), Mt. Blue nearly overcame Maranacook.  

“We were just trying to get a finish for the team,” Farrington said. “I straddled the last race, so we were just trying to get a finish in.  I’m pretty pleased, (but) I could have been better second run.”

Other local top-10 finishers were, 7th-10th girls, Samantha Herrick of Edward Little, Samantha Ladd of St. Dom’s, Leavitt’s Abbie Gaudet and Mt. Blue’s Mallory Parker, and Tanner Dillingham of Edward Little (boys seventh).

With the state meet still five weeks away, racers are hoping for conditions to improve. But Monday’s meet was a good reminder that they should be prepared in the event that they don’t.

“The conditions aren’t very good, but you know it isn’t going to be perfect for every race,” Kahkonen said. “You’ve just got to get used to it.”


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