LEWISTON — After finishing 22nd in the Class A state championships in both the classic and freestyle races last season, Roy Varney of Leavitt found a new favorite sport.

“I never narrowed down my focus to skiing before and thought I would love this sport more,” Varney said. “But after sophomore year, I really wanted to narrow it down and become the best I can. I love it.”

Varney worked with his coach, Dustin Williamson, during the offseason doing countless endurance, strength, and speed workouts to improve on Varney’s sophomore campaign.

“In the summer we focused on establishing an endurance base, which I didn’t really have before, so I got a good one this year,” Varney said. “ We also worked on technique… I work with my coach, watch videos, then go to practice and work on technique. I started running up hills and it worked really well.”

This season, Varney won the KVAC championship by 32 seconds over Maranacook’s Mark Mclaughlin. At states, Varney won the classic race over Portland’s Liam Niles after starting the race from behind — a strategy that Varney feels helped him.

“Our coach starts us in the way back because I like to hunt people down,” Varney said. “A lot of people were telling me, ‘Why are you doing that? It’s not going to work.’ It felt kind of weird, seeing my competition go out. I saw them go out and I wanted to catch them and so it helped.”

In the pursuit the next day, Varney lost his lead to Niles after a strong race, but was able to hold on to second place overall. Varney sees more to come in his final year.

“This season I wanted to win states really bad,” Varney said. “Next year I’d like to take two minutes off my time and become a lot faster.”

For his efforts, Varney is the 2017-18 Sun Journal All-Region Boys’ Nordic Skier of the Year.

Roy Varney