Large groups of skiers and spectators showed up to the Roy Varney Hornet Classic at Leavitt Area High School on Saturday to support and honor the late Roy Varney. 

Roy Varney, who skied at Leavitt and was the 2019 Class A state champion and the Sun Journal All-Region Nordic Skier of the Year, died this past summer while working at his family’s farm

Both the girls and boys races featured giant start lists, with 114 and 145 finishers, respectively, who skied in front of dozens of spectators who lined the course and the start and finish lines.

“It went very well,” Leavitt coach Dustin Williamson said. “It is awesome and touching to see everybody come together. The sport of Nordic skiing has such a great, large, extended community and this was named after Roy, for Roy, and I think we showed what Roy meant to us.”

Emma Charles of Mt. Blue pulled away from the pack to win the girls race, and Carter McPhedran of Maranacook won the boys race. 

The conditions were slow due to the warm weather Saturday morning. The sun beat down on the open field where most of the meet took place, causing some problems for skiers of all skill levels.

“It felt slow,” Charles said. “I’m not sure if it actually was slow, but at the finish I had a hard time double-poling and I couldn’t stride very well.”

Charles finished with a time of 17:45. Leavitt’s Jaidyn Negley came in second at 18:40. Despite the large lead, Charles hit some speed bumps along the way. 

“I fell twice within probably 100 meters,” Charles said. “The first was when I spat and it went off to the side and I tried to wipe it and completely lost my balance. The second one, I tried to balance and my stick went right between my skis. Those kind of messed me up, but I had to keep on going.”

Negley said starting two spots in front of Charles and a spot behind fourth-place finisher Eva Clement of Falmouth helped her find a pace. 

“I knew Emma was going to pass me, so I decided to go as hard as I could and I managed to stay inside of her the whole race, which was a big accomplishment for me,” Negley said.

Leavitt skiers donned red arm bands in honor of Varney, and many skiers pointed their sticks to the ski as they crossed the finish line, in front of which “FOR ROY” was spray-painted. Negley said Varney was on her mind as she raced.

“He was like a big brother to me and he always had a lot of confidence in me, so I just wanted to race as hard as I could for him today and really honor him in that,” Negley said. “Classic was his thing, and I love it, too, so I just felt like if I raced for him, that’s what I wanted to do today.”

In the boys race, McPhedran (16:16.6) beat Caden Cote of Central Maine Ski Club by 0.8 seconds. The girls race was first, and the wear on the course made it much more difficult for the boys to traverse.

“In the woods, it stayed pretty consistent and it’s not too shabby, but out here, as soon as you get out on the field, you go as fast as you can go, tempo-wise, just to battle that slow snow,” McPhedran said. “It felt good being the first finisher, which is always the goal, especially when you start at (eighth).”

Spectators cheer as Everet Varney races at the Roy Varney Hornet Classic at Leavitt Area High School in Turner on Saturday. Everet Varney is Roy Varney’s brother. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Everet Varney of Leavitt, Roy’s brother, finished 20th with a time of 18:13.7. 

The amount of people that showed up to the meet on Saturday meant a lot to him.

“There aren’t that many ski races that are this big, maybe Sassi and states, so to see — 170 is the number I heard for boys — is nice, especially when they’re honoring my brother,” Varney said. “It’s nice.”

Portland won the girls team title with 759 points, three more than runner-up Mt. Blue. The boys team title went to Falmouth, which scored 749. 

The Mt. Blue finished fourth in the boys team standings, and Edward Little, led by 13th-place Ben Condit, finished fifth. 

Leavitt’s girls team placed sixth.

The conditions today were warm, but we made the best of it and we tried to think of what Roy probably would have done,” Williamson said.


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.