Alex Hemingway of Mt. Abram rounds the final corner during the Maine Class C state championship freestyle pursuit race at Titcomb Mountain in Farmington in February. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Mt. Abram’s Alex Hemingway followed a mantra of his coach, Buzz Bean.

“As our coach would say, races are won in the summer, and he’s right,” Hemingway said. “Just running, running and running, just trying to build up that stamina. I also ran cross country (in the fall).”

Hemingway’s offseason efforts paid off in the form of a successful sophomore season that has earned him the title of the Sun Journal All-Region Boys Nordic Skier of the Year.

Bean said that running cross country helped Hemingway build his aerobics, which he was lacking his freshman season.

Hemingway won the Class C classical state championship race (finishing in 15 minutes, 53.2 seconds) and placed second in the freestyle race (15:36.7). He finished second in the Class C pursuit (classical and freestyle combined) with a time 31:29.7, just four-tenths of a second behind Miquel Sanclemente of Fort Kent, who won the Freestyle race.

Bean said Hemingway made his move on Sanclemente too late in the freestyle race, and that if had Hemingway had another 10 meters he likely would have caught Sanclemente.

“(Hemingway) blew me away right from the beginning of the year, in the first race of the year,” Bean said. “It was like, ‘Oh, this looks pretty good,’ and he kept getting better and better. He got sick right before the (New England Nordic Ski Association) U16s, he actually got, sick a little bit around the state meet. … He managed to win the classical race.

“He really skied consistently all year long, every race, he was there, he was one of the guys to beat.”

The U16s are held soon after the high school season ends. This year they were at the Mountain Top Inn and Resort in Chittenden, Vermont. Hemingway finished 11th overall, with a seventh-place finish in the classical race and a 15th-place finish in the freestyle.

Hemingway swept the MVC championships, and his pursuit time of 28:58.1 was two minutes faster than the second-place finisher, his Mt. Abram teammate Cam Walters.

The Roadrunners claimed four of the top of the five spots in the pursuit. The other top-five finishers were Chandler Rollins (fourth) and Jeff Warnock (fifth). Hemingway said that having teammates who are strong competitors aided in his success.

“It was us pushing each other in practice, and for races it was us trying to beat each other to see how big of a gap we could get,” Hemingway said. “It’s good to have team that likes to ski.”

Despite only being a sophomore, Hemingway was someone the team looked up to this season.

“Alex stepped up this year to be the leader,” Bean said. “Cam (Walters) has risen to the challenge, and they are going to push each other. They are really good friends, so that’s really good. The other kids, they get caught up in that enthusiasm, but it always takes someone out there on the snow every day, the first one and the last one, that pulls everyone else along. You need that leader to lead from the front.”

Bean said he hasn’t seen a high school skier as serious as Hemingway is about skiing in the past 15-20 years.

Hemingway also performed well at some of the biggest regular season races, which featured racers from all three classes. He placed sixth at the Roy Varney Hornet Classic, seventh at the Maranacook Wave and 12th at the Sassi Memorial.

“It was a good opportunity to see where I placed out of everyone, and not just my class or my conference,” Hemingway said.


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