RUMFORD — With the consolidation of alpine skiing in 2015-16, the reigning boys’ Class C state champions Mountain Valley Falcons will be moving to Class B this season after the lower class was eliminated.

And while the shift is new, coach Mark Thibodeau wouldn’t necessarily call it is “new challenge.”

“I wouldn’t say it’s a new challenge,”  Thibodeau said. “We ski a KVAC/MVC schedule all year. Typically, we will race against Mt. Blue, we will race against Edward Little, we will race against Maranacook. We are right there with them. It’s nice to ski up against the bigger schools like that.”

The Falcons return four skiers who finished in the top ten in both the Class C slalom and giant slalom races a year ago. Nick Newman, who finished first in both events, Nate Legere, Jacob Beauchesne and Andrew Arsenault. They are all juniors.

They are excited to face conference opponents when the state championships roll around.

“It’s going to make competition stronger,” Newman said. “I mean, it’s only going to make us push harder, ski faster every race. It’s a good thing.”

Advertisement

“What’s cool is, a lot of the people on other teams, we have raced since middle school,” Arsenault said. “Skiing in our region in general, we are all pretty good friends. We all know each other pretty well. We push each other further and that just drives us.”

As a coach, Thibodeau isn’t necessarily worried about winning.

“As we approach it as a team and how I approach it as a coach, we don’t talk about winning,” Thibodeau said. “It’s not about winning, it’s about performance goals, and meeting those performance goals. Every day they are coming out, they are trying to get better. If I do my job right, and they do their job right, at the end of the season, things take care of themselves.”

The competition isn’t just limited to their opponents, but is fierce within the team. Legere, Beauchesne and Arsenault all finished within a second of each other in the slalom competition at the state championships to finish third through fifth. Legere skied a 44.30, while Beauchesne finished with a run of 45.02 and Arsenault ended up with a 45.22.

Newman’s winning time was 40.83.

In the giant slalom competition, the three were again close as Arsenault finished third with a time of 46.08 seconds while Legere was right behind him with a time of 47.17. Beauchesne came in seventh with a time of 47.88.

Advertisement

Newman’s  championship time was 44.79.

“It’s really good in the sense it makes us all better,” Arsenault said. “When it comes time for selection who’s racing, it can get a little more competitive. We are pretty tight knit group and we are all rooting for each other. If one of the guys that get picked over the other, they aren’t going to hang their head.”

The top four know the rest of the roster is capable of taking their spots.

“You go further back, you have Curtis Gauvin, who’s a (sophomore) this year, he was at the top ten in the states last year,” Thibodeau said. “You’ve got a few other kids like Johnny Pepin. We go eight, nine deep. After my sixth (skier), I am sure there are ski teams in the state that would like to have my seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth guy. Which is the strength of the team.”

They will battle each other during practice.

“The intrasquad competition is just tremendous,” Thibodeau said. “I am fortunate enough where I run the race department at Black Mountain, so I have access to timing equipment and whatever I need at the hill. So when we get closer to the bigger meets, we will put the clock on them and it really helps out their game.”

Advertisement

While they compete against each other, it doesn’t get in the way of their friendship.

“We are all really close,” Newman said. “When it comes to winter, we are together at least six days a week. The amount of time we put into it, Saturday and Sunday, we are at the mountain at 7, 8 o’clock, skiing the second the chair lift starts to spin until 1 o’clock practicing.”

“They are my great friends, I don’t mind seeing them six out of the seven days a week,” Beauchesne said. “It’s awesome, we all motivate each other, try to get everybody better.”

2015-16 Winter Preview

Who to watch in high school sports this season:

Nordic Skiing: Ashley Pratt, Emily Thibodeau look to lead Leavitt

Girls’ Basketball: Winthrop returns to varsity schedule

Boy’s Hockey: Edward Little looking to make a name for itself

Swimming: Lewiston’s Matt Charest gets a lift

Indoor Track: Soracco’s back in track for Lewiston High School

Wrestling: Dirigo aims to be class act, again

 Girls’ Hockey: Lewiston sets out on a different path


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.