All-Region boys nordic skier of the year Roy Varney. Sun Journal photo by Russ Dillingham

When asked what his goals were entering his senior season, Leavitt senior Roy Varney immediately said, “Redeem all titles.”

Varney was runner-up at the Class A state meet in 2018, coming 14 seconds short of victory to Portland’s Liam Niles.

As a senior, expectations were ramped-up, and it started weighing on him more and more. He knew what was at stake and it was always in the back of his mind. He lived up to those expectations and is the Sun Journal All-Region Boys Nordic Skier of the Year.

“States was the big one,” Varney said. “It was the one I really wanted to keep.”

During the classical race at states, Varney was one of the later skiers to leave the starting line. He was able to see many skiers go out before him and saw how fast they were starting.

“I went out a little after the pack and got to see everyone go by and see how fast they were going and it was kind of messing with my head,” Varney said. “My friend from Mt. Blue, Michael Gurney, saw I was getting paranoid and he said, ‘Bud, you gotta calm down … Gurney was ahead of me and he said, ‘Roy, you’re going to pass me and I’m just going to try to draft you.’ I knew that wasn’t going to happen because he doesn’t really like classic but he calmed me down a little bit.”

While Gurney helped calm the nerves that had built up throughout the season in Varney’s head, the senior still had to battle the course, which proved to be difficult at one point.

“In the classic I fell on the uphill; thank God, and I was able to get time back on the hill,” Varney said. “… The expectations were high. I really wanted to focus, but there were a lot of expectations.”

Leavitt coach Dustin Williamson tried to help calm Varney’s nerves before the race, as well.

“He was a little nervous and asked me how I thought he would do coming into the races, how I felt,” Williamson said. “I thought he was great and strong, and when you’re at that level he was at this season you have to go into the big races and there’s pressure and its how you deal with that pressure.”

Varney ended up beating Falmouth’s Nate Livingood by 19 seconds in the classical race, and on the next day he hung on to finish with a final time of 29:10.8, 4.9 seconds faster than Livingood for the Class A title.

Varney is deciding between skiing at the University of New Hampshire and the University of Maine at Presque Isle, with UNH in the lead.

With the nerves behind Varney and the trophies stacked up, Williamson’s assessment of his star skier before the state championships proved true.

“He will end up being one of the most successful Nordic skiers that we’ve had on this team, no question,” Williamson said. “His passion for the sport is extremely high, he has done really well and has great potential at the collegiate level. He handled the pressure well this year.”

Varney should find out in the coming days whether or not he made the UNH team (the Wildcats have one remaining spot on the team), but for now he will compete for the Leavitt outdoor track team.

“It’s a fun sport because I can train and get fit,” Varney said. “I don’t have high expectations with track, but it is fun.”

All-Region boys Nordic skier of the year Roy Varney. (Sun Journal photo by Russ Dillingham)


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.