Brooke Lever of Edward Little and Ryland VanDecker of Oxford Hills provided plenty of thrills for the several hundred fans who watched the opening day of Alpine ski championships. Lever and VanDecker were on top of their skis right from the start gate to finish first in the girls’ and boys’ KVAC races, respectively.

“I just decided to go as hard as I could,” VanDecker said. “There was plenty of speed at the top, I had to look up early because the bottom gates were coming up quickly.”

VanDecker turned in a stunning two-run combined time of one minute, 18.15 seconds to edge Skowhegan’s Mike Miller (1:18.60) for the boys’ KVAC slalom title. Sam Smith, of Mt. Blue, finished third in 1:21.56.

Smith and Hunter Bolduc (5th) helped Mt. Blue take a 29-31 lead over Edward Little in the boys’ Alpine team competition. Max Bell (4th) and Kyle Mooney (6th) paced the Red Eddies.

Mountain Valley’s Nick Newman won the boys’ MVC title in 1:19.15, nailing down the third fastest time of the day and leaving the Falcons with a healthy, 15-40 lead,  over Telstar in the boys’ Alpine events.

“Nick has a lot of natural ability, especially when it comes to finding the fall line,” Mountain Valley coach Mark Thibodeau said. “When his skis hit the hill, he can’t go fast enough.”

Becki Bryant of Monmouth was the top MVC girls’ skier, finishing in 1:34.36. She was among only eight total girls’ skiers from the conference.

Lever was exceptionally brilliant on the flush just before the finish line, sliding through the gates with minimal effort for a two-run slalom combined time of 1:26.18, edging Spruce Mountain’s Allison Acritelli, who finished in 1:27.64.

“I felt really solid and clean on both runs,” Lever said. “The top of the course was where I really had to focus.”

Acritelli has shown tremendous improvement this season, steadily moving up in the standings. Saturday’s slalom race could be a key factor in her development this season.

“I was looking to make two good runs to finish in the top five,” Acritelli said. “I really wanted to do well, so I slipped the course twice, once with the team and once by myself. I wanted to be under control on the tight gates at the end.”

Camden Hills finished with a narrow one-point, 45-46 lead over Edward Little in the girls’ slalom race. Camden Hills’ Audrey Hertz-Smith led the team with a third place finish.

“We have a really strong team, especially in the giant slalom,” Lever said. “We hope that is going to pull us through to the championship.”

Red Eddies Samantha Herrick, Victoria Beliveau and Sarah Lachance joined Lever in scoring for the team.

Mt. Abram fielded the only scoring team in the MVC girls’ slalom race. Jocelyn Stevens topped the Roadrunners effort on Satuday.

KVAC/MVC ski championships will resume Tuesday at Black Mountain. Alpine skiers hit the giant slalom gates at 9:30 a.m. Alpine competition will consist of two runs, girls first followed by the boys, with one course reset.

Nordic freestyle will begin with the girls starting at 2:30 p.m., leaving in 15 second intervals with the boys hitting the 5K course out of Broomhall Stadium at 3:30 p.m.

Both conference championships are scheduled to conclude, on Thursday at Titcomb Mountain, in Farmington. Girls’ classical pursuit will begin at 2:30 p.m. followed by the boys’ at 3:30 p.m.

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