Second-place finisher Oxford Hills’ Liz Dieterich makes her way down the head wall during the KVAC Alpine ski championships at Titcomb Mountain in 2020. Brewster Burns photo

Editor’s note: The Sun Journal previewed Franklin- and Kennebec-county teams as their seasons were starting last month. Now, we are previewing the Androscoggin, Oxford and Cumberland teams from the Sun Journal’s coverage area.

The influx of highly motivated rookies on the boys side and a girls team’s relentless pursuit of excellence might make for an interesting and prosperous season for the Edward Little Alpine teams.

EL coach Jodd Bowles said the boys team’s raw talent could surprise the competition.

“These girls are not satisfied with anything but their best. We will see if it’s enough,” he added. “The (boys’) energy is contagious with the fresh blood (of four newcomers).”

MOUNTAIN VALLEY FALCONS

Like all high school sports team, the Mountain Valley Falcons have faced the challenges of keeping it together during the pandemic.

“Our team has dealt with many challenges and setbacks, as is the same with many other teams,” Mountain Valley coach Todd Papianou said. “We are fortunate to be able to train and ski a couple nights a week. We got to our first race … at Lost Valley (recently).

“We had two nights of slalom training before this race, so kids were a little apprehensive. But, the course was great and the snow has been exceptional. So nice to see all the other teams and coaches. Lots of smiles. Well, with masks being respected, I’m imagining smiles.”

GRAY-NEW GLOUCESTER PATRIOTS

G-NG coach Evan Mancini said that if anything defines his Patriots, it would be their genuine camaraderie.

“The camaraderie they have — it’s a big support group that goes beyond skiing for many,” Mancini said. “This year we have a very promising boys team and an ever-growing girls one. We have spent as much time as possible on snow, and cannot wait to compete.

“Collectively as a team, our strength is the culture we have. It is becoming ever more competitive and the athletes really enjoy the healthy competition.”

But what is just as important is the Patriots’ return to the slopes.

“With that, it’s important to note how thankful we are to the athletic department for helping us get back on the slopes, and most importantly, all the athletes of G-NG who have done the most work …,” Mancini said.

LEAVITT HORNETS

Matt Michaud sees strength in the Hornets’ small numbers.

“Being a small team, the team is very close-knit,” Michaud said. “There is a lot of support for one another while still holding each other accountable. This provides an environment for athletes to really push themselves.

“We have a very small team, but among those individuals I believe there is a lot of talent with a good work ethic. I think there is a possibility of some strong individual performances at KVACs.”

The Hornets’ work ethic continues to impress the Leavitt coach as well. “The athletes are always pushing themselves, asking questions, and always looking for ways to be better,” he added.

OXFORD HILLS VIKINGS

Tim Hutchisen just hopped on board to become the Vikings head coach.

As Hutchisen is quickly becoming acclimated to the job, Oxford Hills athletic director Kevin Ryan discussed the Alpine team. Ryan is grateful the Vikes are back on the slopes with a new coach.

“It is a great opportunity for the team members,” Ryan said. “We weren’t allowed to begin practicing until late January.

“The kids are excited to be back together as a team and back on the slopes. We are looking to compete and improve each practice and race.”

Mario DeVivo of Oxford Hills skids around a turn while competing in the Class A skiing giant slalom championships at Shawnee Peak in 2019. Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald file photo


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