RUMFORD — Nordic skiers trying to find out where they stack up against the state’s best got a pretty good indicator Saturday when many of the state’s teams congregated at Black Mountain in Rumford for the Sassi 5K classical race.

Leavitt’s Roy Varney found out he’s in a pretty good spot. Varney raced the 5-kilometer course in 13:36.2, 13.6 seconds faster than second-place Carter McPhedran of Maranacook.

The course ran fast Saturday. It was packed down and some racers said that thin layers of ice helped speed the times up.

McPhedran finished runner-up Saturday. Maranacook’s Gabe Fein finished in third place with a time of 13:54.8. In fourth was Ethan Livingood of Falmouth with a time of 14:00.

Mt. Blue’s Sam Smith finished fifth, followed by teammates Dom Giampietro in sixth and Jesse Dalton in eighth.

Sam Smith double poles down the first hill at the Sassi Memorial 5K classical race at Black Mountain in Rumford on Saturday. (Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn)

“This is one of our bigger races before KVACs and states, so this is like a testing race, almost, because it’s one of the biggest races of the year size-wise, so it kind of gives you a feel of what states is like, which is good to prepare,” Smith said.

Two girls who know exactly where they stand in the state after Saturday afternoon’s race are Mt. Blue’s Emma Charles and St. Dom’s Emily Gerencer, who finished first and second.

Charles skied to a time of 15:27, which was 3.3 seconds faster than Gerencer. Charles, a freshman, had raced at Black Mountain before in the Jr. Sassi races, but was a bit nervous Saturday due to the number of competitors.

“It definitely gives me a better feel how it is to race against so many people,” Charles said. “We’ve had like 70 people, not 100-something. It’s a little intimidating at first, but it’s all schools we’ve competed against before so it’s nothing too new.”

Charles, despite her lightning-fast time, still thinks she can improve. Though the course was fast, the downhills that Black Mountain brings provided a challenge.

“I’m kind of scared on downhills and I’ve heard they are really key here to getting a good start on the uphills so I really tried to stay on the tracks and tuck the whole way, and I did good,” Charles said.

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