Before each of his two races at the upcoming Class B Nordic ski championships, DeAngelis should stay up all night. Maybe sample some junk food. Play outside for an hour or two without wearing a jacket, hat or gloves.

Yes, it seems counterintuitive, not to mention silly and dangerous. But throughout this relatively mild, snow-rationed winter, DeAngelis seems to ski his best when he’s just a little bit under the weather.

Three weeks after pushing through a head cold to win the Hornet Classic, DeAngelis fought off another something-or-other — probably performance anxiety, he acknowledged — to win the Sassi Memorial 5-kilometer boys’ race going away on Saturday afternoon at Black Mountain of Maine.

DeAngelis completed the journey in 14 minutes, 29.8 seconds, significantly ahead of runner-up Tucker Barber (14:52.3) from Mt. Blue.

“I was a little stomach-sick this morning,” DeAngelis said. “I don’t know. I was a little nervous before the race, but it turned out pretty good.”

To say the least. DeAngelis sped into Broomhall Stadium hot on the trail of Liam Welch of Mt. Blue and Caleb Niles of Deering, two accomplished skiers who hit the course more than 90 seconds before the eventual winner in the staggered start.


DeAngelis gained ground with every whoosh of the skis, every sweep of the poles, before slicing across the finish line and crashing to his knees in exhaustion.

Red-faced, occasionally reaching for a stitch in his right side, DeAngelis regained his voice sufficiently enough to exhort and enlighten teammates who hadn’t yet passed through the starting gate, even as he occasionally fought for fresh air.

He told them it was the hardest he’d ever skied in his life, in part because of a message from his coach and father, Steve, at the halfway mark.

“My dad was giving me split times at the halfway point,” DeAngelis said. “I was behind at the 2K, so I had to make that up. I probably did that between the 3K and 4K.”

Fiona Ahearne of Maine Coast Waldorf School in Freeport won the girls’ portion of the Sassi, a showcase event for the Chisholm Ski Club whose silver anniversary was canceled due to extreme cold and wind a year ago.

The event honors Jon Sassi, a former Rumford and Mountain Valley skier who died in an auto accident a month before his high school graduation in 1990, and his father, Joe, a longtime school librarian who succumbed to colon cancer in 2009.


Three hundred twenty-one skiers, almost evenly split between male and female competitors, tackled the event through terrain and temperatures more reflective of early March.

“It’s almost like the all-class state meet,” DeAngelis said.

DeAngelis was runner-up in one of the Class B finals a year ago and continued to serve notice that he will be a clear favorite during school vacation week.

Up in Class A, Barber, who led the Mt. Blue boys to a narrow team triumph over Freeport, continues to celebrate a breakout season.

Barber smiled broadly, breathing easily, as he breezed into the finish area with a time that topped Brad Ravenelle of Portland by four-tenths of a second.

“There is an Eastern (regional event) going on, so we missed a couple of people that I would like to see how I stacked up against, but this is the biggest skiing event of the year,” Barber said. “It’s nice to see how you do against everybody. I’m looking forward to states. I like how the races have been going so far, and I’m hoping to get better.”


Speed was a key to the John Roderick Trail System course, modified due to the season’s uncooperative snow pack.

The infamous “High School Hill” near the end of the traditional journey was eliminated. After leaving the start and passing under the foot bridge at the exit to the stadium, skiers made two loops on a section of the 3K course before making their triumphant or labored return.

“I liked (the course). They canceled the Easterns a little while ago, so I wondered if it was going to be a little sketchy, but it was good overall. There are some soft spots, but it was a good race, I think, and the course held up,” Barber said. “We got out of High School Hill, so in that respect I think it was a little easier, but you also had to pace yourself.”

John Lane of Yarmouth, defending Class B freestyle state champion, finished fourth in the boys’ race, followed by Bennett Hight of Freeport. Jarod Farrar of Leavitt took seventh and missed cracking the 16-minute barrier by two-tenths of a second.

Welch finished 10th, Nolan Rogers 14th and Sam Smith 19th to complement Barber’s run for the Cougars.

Ahearne, who won the gold medal in the Class C girls’ freestyle race a year ago, aced the Sassi test in 17:16.3, just ahead of Hornet Classic winner Lily Johnston of Freeport (17:19.5).

Yarmouth dominated the girls’ team event by sweeping the next three spots with Lucy Alexander third, Sophia Laukli fourth and Grace Cowles fifth. Hannah Corey chalked up seventh for the Clippers.

Top local girls were Aimee Sala of Kents Hill (ninth, 18:55.1) and Meg Charles of Mt. Blue (10th, 18:58.1).

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