Girls Nordic skier of the year Emma Charles of Mt. Blue. Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn

Entering her first Nordic ski season at Mt. Blue, freshman Emma Charles wanted to place inside the top 15 at the Class A state meet.

Her expectations weren’t high, in part because of the unknown surrounding high school ski competition.

She shattered her goal at the state meet, winning the state championship by 102 seconds. That, combined with her many wins throughout the season, make her the Sun Journal All-Region Girls Nordic Skier of the Year.

Charles dominated from the start, starting with a win in her first race of the year.

“The first race I did I just thought that I happened to win it because the other schools hadn’t had snow at the time,” Charles said. “The entire season as I got better technique and got stronger I gained more confidence.”

After the Sassi Memorial, a race with 139 finishers of which Charles was again the fastest, the freshman started to realize that she stacked up pretty favorably against the state’s best skiers.

“It’s bigger than the state meet, and so if I was able to do well at such a big race then states should be fine,” Charles said.

However, after Sassi, Charles said she was “kind of scared on downhills.” The fear was totally overcame during states.

“I felt more confident because during practice I would push myself to tuck a little further down that hill or double pole a little bit further, try to get out of my comfort zone a little bit,” Charles said. “At the state meet there was one hill that if you’re going fast you jump on it, and I actually did it.

“It was scary but it also felt so cool because I was like, ‘Yeah, if it was earlier in the season I’d be freaking out, but now I’m like, oh my God, I won’t die.’ Instead of thinking, ‘Ah, that was really scary,’ I was thinking, ‘That was really cool, I just jumped in the state meet.’”

Even after cruising through the season, Charles still wasn’t getting ahead of herself. Her “intense goal” was to finish top-three at the state championships.

“Some people can have not-so-good races on flat courses, but on more uphill and downhill races they’re better,” Charles said. “I wasn’t sure if an athlete was going to all of a sudden have an amazing race. I didn’t want to focus too much on place, anyway, but it was in the back of my mind.”

Charles was 2:28 faster than third place, and with three years left as a Mt. Blue skier, she’ll likely be seeing a lot more of the podium.

Girls Nordic skier of the year, Emma Charles of Mt. Blue. Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn


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