FARMINGTON — For Mt. Blue’s Emma Charles, it was more of the same. For Edward Little’s Ellis Slover, it was a resounding introduction.

Both skiers earned a win Wednesday on Day 1 of the KVAC Nordic ski championships at Titcomb Mountain.Charles and Slover won the girls and boys classical races, respectively, helping put their teams to the front of the pack. The second day of racing, which includes the skate pursuit races that will crown conference champions, will be Day 2 coming next Wednesday at Titcomb.

“It was a awesome day, all in all, for us,” Mt. Blue coach Emmy Held said.

Charles, the defending KVAC and Class A state champion, put on a dominating performance on her home course Wednesday. Her winning time of 16:29 was more than a minute and a half ahead of teammate Brynne Robbins.

“It was good. I think it’s one of the faster times I’ve gotten, at least for classic, over the years. So that’s pretty exciting,” Charles said.

“She’s having an awesome season. She’s looking even faster than last year,” Held said. “So an interesting thing for us to see is the gap between her and … Brynne Robbins is kind of staying the same. But Emma’s faster, which means Brynne is also faster. They’re just continuing to strengthen their gaps with the next folks behind them, which is pretty cool. But they looked awesome out there on the course today.”

Robbins finished 59 seconds ahead of third-place finisher Jaidyn Negley of Leavitt. Mt. Blue’s scorers also took fourth (Moriah Reusch) and sixth (Kamryn Joyce) to give the Cougars a 791-759 advantage over second-place Maranacook after Day 1.

“I’m so proud of our team. I think that we always really traditionally have a pretty strong showing at KVACs. And I’m also happy with my place,” Robbins said. “I tend to try to judge my percent back, like how far was I off Emma, because if you go by place then your race is depending on other people’s races. But if you go off how you felt, and how your wax was, and how hard you pushed, how far you were behind the lead, then for the pursuit race, that’s really kind of how you put yourself up for it. So I’m happy.”

Katherine Garcia of Edward Little crosses the finish line during the KVAC nordic classic ski championship race on Wednesday at Titcomb Mountain in Farmington. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

Delia Colello was ninth and Abbie Cramer was 12th for Mt. Blue, which was missing Bridget Reusch, who Held said is normally their third-fastest skier.

“I’m not sure if any of us really had a strategy, but we had he confidence and we were on our home course, so just kind of went with that confidence and kind of went with it,” Charles said.

Sadie Skinner was fifth to help put Mt. Ararat into third place, while Sophie O’Clair was seventh for Maranacook, just ahead of Edward Little’s Katherine Garcia.

“It felt like the hills kept on going and going forever,” Garcia said. “The downhill stretch towards the end was much needed.”

The tough course only helped the Cougars.

“I think this is just cumulative of everybody has worked so hard to get here, and training on these tough hills every day, I think people are really reaping the rewards for that now,” Robbins said.

The course also didn’t seem to slow down Slover any. The Edward Little freshman clocked in at 14:58, edging out teammate Ben Condit by a little less than nine seconds.

“I was really happy with my time. It was an awesome course, the tracks were fast,” Slover said. “Everything just kind of fell in line, and I felt like I had just about the best race I could.”

Slover said that Wednesday was his first time on the Titcomb course.

“He is a really, really good kid, he’s got a real positive attitude, and he’s just got a boatload of talent,” EL coach Eric Cobb said. “His ability on skis, he looks just so comfortable. Really a natural skier.”

Slover and Condit’s 1-2 finish helped give the Red Eddies a narrow lead (784-777) over Mt. Blue. Leavitt sits in third with 743 points.

Slover said that he and Condit train throughout the year.

“They have been skiing together for a long time, and kind of back and forth all the time, and to see them go 1-2, it’s great to have Edward Little Nordic kind of back where we should be,” Cobb said. “We’ve worked really hard the past four or five years to build the program back up, and to see it come to fruition and have Ben and Ellis pushing each other to be better all the time, it’s fun to watch. It makes my day really special.”

Mt. Blue’s Carson Zundel was third, ahead of Maranacook’s Max Olmstead, followed by EL’s Harrison Bigos-Lowe. Following Brunswick’s Felix Battle in sixth, Leavitt’s Logan Ouellette (seventh) and Eli Bell (ninth) sandwiched themselves in the finishing times around Mt. Blue’s Jack Kearing. Mt. Blue’s Josh Smith rounded out the top 10.

Henry Swift was Oxford Hills’ top finisher, in 16th.

“For Carson, I think that was probably one of his best races of the season, and he was very stoked,” Held said. “Those two Edward Little boys ahead of him, we expected that, but in comparison to others he was doing better than he has all season.”

Held added: “To see some of our other boys showing up, our two next top boys, Jack Kearing and Josh (Smith), they’re both skimeisters, so they’re also on the Alpine team. They don’t get to come to all of our races, so it was a really neat thing to finally have our full boys team together and have them all racing out there. Obviously Josh and Jack had some pretty awesome days, too.”

Charles said she was disappointed that she wasn’t able to cheer the boys on, due to health and safety protocols, but she was happy to have the conference meet at the Cougars’ home course, where parent volunteers provided at least some sort of cheering squad. Which is particularly special since the conference championships conclude the pandemic-altered season.

“This is really kind of a big race that wraps everything up (this year),” Charles said. “I’m not sure if they’re doing podium stuff (next week), but if they do that’ll be the states this year.”

The Time Record reporter Eli Canfield contributed to this story.

Related Headlines


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.