FARMINGTON — Snow began falling Tuesday morning just as Yarmouth junior Maddie Marston set off into the woods at Titcomb Mountain, a strip of glitter on each of her cheekbones and a thicker strip of gray duct tape around her right ski boot to keep a broken zipper at bay.

Maddie Marston, left, hugs her Yarmouth High School teammate, Anne Bergeron, after they took the top two spots of the Maine State Championship freestyle race at Titcomb Mountain in Farmington on Tuesday. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Because she was the fastest Class B skier in the classical race on Monday, Marston led the pack of 36 girls in Tuesday’s freestyle pursuit on the final day of the Nordic skiing state championships.

That meant she wasn’t pursuing anybody. So she imagined a skier, someone faster and just around the next bend.

“It’s very tough just being on your own,” Marston said. “It’s a whole mental block. You’re getting chased, and there’s no one to chase. I had to focus on what was ahead of me.”

Marston was one of five skiers who parlayed the head starts they earned Monday into a pursuit victory Tuesday.

Among Class A girls, sophomore Emma Charles led a dominant showing by host Mt. Blue, which defeated runner-up Deering by 28 points.

Emma Charles of Mount Blue High School tucks into the stadium during the Maine State Championship freestyle pursuit race at Titcomb Mountain in Farmington on Tuesday. Charles is the 2020 Maine Class A freestyle, classic and pursuit champion. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Charles put down the fastest time of any girl in any class, with 16:07 for her freestyle loop completing a combined time of 32:49.9 that was nearly a minute and a half faster than runner-up Eva Clement, a Falmouth junior who moved up from third to second.

After a strenuous but successful weekend in New Hampshire qualifying for the junior national team, Charles fell to her knees Tuesday with back spasms.

“I think just from all the stress from 19 and a half kilometers of racing in four days,” said Charles, holding hand warmers to the small of her back. “It hurt the last kilometer, kilometer and a half. Luckily with this course, that’s all pretty much downhill, so I was able to put my elbows on my knees and relax a little bit.”

As a bonus to Marston’s head start, she led a 1-3-6-7 Yarmouth finish that gave the Clippers their third straight Class B Nordic state title.

Freshman Anne Bergeron, junior Mary Psyhogeos and senior Sadie Cowles rounded out the scoring for Yarmouth, which beat runner-up Caribou by 23 points.

“It’s kind of likely that we’re all in the top seven,” Marston said, “because we all train together and we’re all in that same skill level.”

This winter marked the first in which schools from all three classes came together at the same venue. It also marked the first state meet that banned the use of high-fluoro ski waxes. 

In Class C, Fort Kent earned its first girls’ state title since 2010. Runner-up Waynflete was 13 points back. Dolcie Tanguay, a senior from the Maine School of Science and Mathematics in Limestone, won the pursuit race.

Ryan Gray, left, and Joe Rouhana of Falmouth High School react after finishing the Maine State Championship freestyle pursuit race at Titcomb Mountain in Farmington on Tuesday. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

For boys, Falmouth earned its second straight Class A state title by holding off a challenge from Portland, winning by 12 points. Freeport withstood a similar push from Caribou in Class B, and Madawaska successfully defended its crown in Class C.

Individually, Portland senior Liam Niles added the Class A pursuit title to his classical crown by holding off Deering senior William Jordan and Greely junior Leif Harvey for a two-event combined time of 29 minutes, 56.2 seconds.

Harvey moved up from third to finish 20 seconds behind Niles and 20 seconds ahead of Jordan.

“That was a lot of fun,” Niles said of traversing the 5-kilometer course amid what turned into a blizzard. “The snow mixed it up a little, made it more interesting.”

Maranacook senior Carter McPhedran, the two-time classical champ in Class B, added the pursuit title by a margin of more than three minutes in a total time of 29:30.6, fastest of the meet regardless of class. He said he enjoyed the festive atmosphere created by 286 skiers from every county in the state.

Carter McPhedran of Maranacook High School climbs the first big hill during the Maine State Championship freestyle pursuit race at Titcomb Mountain in Farmington on Tuesday. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

“Having all these guys you know cheering, and you can cheer for them, it’s so much fun,” he said. “I love it.”

Freeport senior Caleb Hunter, who was second in classical, finished fourth in pursuit after a spirited tussle with Caribou teammates Malachai Willey and George Ferland.

“We had an epic race,” Hunter said. “They passed me toward the beginning, then I passed one of them at one point, then he passed me back. We had just this awesome battle the whole time. They’re my favorite team, I think, aside from us.”

Sophomore Samuel Robinson and seniors Noah Hight and Thomas Robinson finished 6-7-8 to secure the Freeport victory, by seven points over Caribou.

Fort Kent junior Miguel Sanclemente was the lone come-from-behind pursuit winner. He made up a five-second deficit and lunged his ski across the line just before Class C classical champ Alex Hemingway, a sophomore from team runner-up Mt. Abram. Sanclemente won by four tenths of a second in 31:29.3.

Alex Hemingway of Mt. Abram High School rounds the final corner during the Maine State Championship freestyle pursuit race at Titcomb Mountain in Farmington on Tuesday. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo


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