BETHEL — On Saturday Telstar High School hosted its annual cross country relays. The event lasted three hours.

The high school relays first started in 1981, when then head coach of the cross country team Bob Remington decided to organize it.

“The sport needed a shot of excitement for both the skier and the fan,” Remington said.

Within a couple years over 20 schools and 300 skiers were coming to the relays. Now over 30 schools and 400 skiers join in on the fun.

“From just doing events here at school it’s the largest event sponsored here at school all year. Athlete wise, there’s no other event that brings in that many athletes and parents,” Telstar Athletic Director Gail Wight said. “It’s more of a fun event as opposed to, I mean yes it’s competition, but it’s also fun. They come and they race in teams because they don’t get a chance any other time during the season. It’s something different.”

Wight said some of the schools who raced did not have much snow to practice on.

The event has only been cancelled a few times, with one cancellation occurring last year when it was too cold.

The relay consisted of mixed four-person teams. The race was divided into three waves. Wave A was for schools who could fill the boy, girl, boy, girl format. Wave B was any combination of boy or girls and Wave C was for individuals who were not on a relay team. Teams did not have to be made up of students entirely from one school.

To make sure the relay was completed correctly, skiers had to use hand-to-body contact before the next skier could begin. Any skier who didn’t was called back.

The trail is 3 kilometers long.

Portland, Deering and Cheverus (PDC) took home first in Wave A with a time of 33:16.0. Edward Little finished first in Wave B posting a 34:37.1 end time. Individuals for men and women saw students from Yarmouth and Fryeburg finish with 10:08.4 and 11:23.1 respectively.

Wight said some of the schools who raced had little to no snow to practice on.

She said that the Telstar relays are the only races done to this “extent.” Other schools in the area host similar races.

Wight said a lot goes into putting the event on.

“Well, first of all we need snow,” she said.

Members of the Bethel Outing Club helped fill in holes and trimmed branches that could interfere with the trail. Many people contributed by grooming the trails. They attached grooming equipment behind a snowmobile to help make sure the trail sets up properly.

Wight said everyone was pleased with the conditions of the trail this year.

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