RUMFORD — Slush tested skiers’ balance and standing water drenched their feet, but moisture and a puddle spreading out like one of the Great Lakes didn’t deterred the Mt. Blue girls and boys Nordic ski teams from making a splash at Black Mountain of Maine.

The Cougars’ girls team took five slots the top 10, led by senior Emma Charles’ dazzling first-place finish, in the interval start Classical competition of the Classes A, B and C state championships on an unusually warm Wednesday afternoon.

The state championships continue Thursday with freestyle pursuit competition, beginning at 10 a.m. at Black Mountain.

The effervescent Charles (18 minutes, 40.3 seconds), who said she knew her time would be a slower than usual, and never took a spill on the evaporating course. As day grew warmer, puddles like the one at the beginning, formed and skiers ended up taking a dip.

Charles attributes “mental toughness” for her success on Wednesday.

“I have definitely skied worse (courses),” Charles said. “Thanks to my coaches just for the awesome wax. Today was definitely a hard day, but considering everything, they did pretty well.”


Charles, a senior, won the classical title at each of the three state championships she participated in (due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were no state meets last winter). She also won the freestyle pursuit state titles as a freshman and a sophomore.

The Cougars had the top four finishers in the girls race. Following Charles were Brynne Robbins (19:47.4) in second place, Moriah Reusch (20:22.2) in thrird, Nora McCourt (:20:38.6) in fourth. Cheverus’ Leska Whitmarsh (20:39.6) was fifth, followed by Mt. Blue’s Bridget Reusch (20:43.1) in sixth.

“A lot of my girls (had a great day),” Mt. Blue Nordic coach Emmy Held said. “I had some outstanding performances from some of my other girls today, too. It is really cool to see that. Everybody was collapsing in snowbanks because they were so overheated.

“They did a great job (with the course). It is better than it could be. It could be worse. It is tough, but the wax is working and the kids are giving it everything they’ve got. They are a really gritty group, so it is what you had to have today.”

Edward Little’s Nora Condit finished eighth with her time of :21:08.0.

“They all skied really well today,” Red Eddies coach Eric Cobb said. “I was really, really impressed with the way they went up the hills. The times are going to be really slow today.” 


Edward Little’s Caelan McGuigan (34th, 25:21.3) said it was indeed a sloppy mess out there.

“It was rough,” McGuigan said. “It was interesting for sure. I never skied in conditions like this. It was OK. You had to look further up ahead … because there were puddles that were almost knee-deep, ice and then no snow at all.”

Joey Rouhana (16:37.3) of Falmouth took first place in the boys race, but Mt. Blue occupied several places in the top 10: Carson Zundel (second, 17:32.3), Henri McCourt (third, 17:46.9) and Josh Smith (sixth, 19:03.9) and Grayson Hoeft (10th, 19:30.1). Alex Hardy (19:33.8) took 11th place for the Cougars.

“It is like skiing through a river,” McCourt, a freshman, said. “I felt pretty good. There was a lot more striding than there normally is. This course is a lot of fun.” 

Oxford Hills’ Gray Vanderwood raced to a ninth-place finish with a time of 19:18.5. Teammate Nick Bancroft (20:46.1) finished  27th.

“It went well. I am happy with the way I performed,” Bancroft said, “but it was probably one of the hardest races I have ever been part of. Thirty seconds in, your legs and boots are drenched with water. It feels like you have weights on your feet.”



Leavitt’s Logan Ouellette kept smiling as he spoke about his first-place finish in the Class B boys race with a winning time of 18:08.1.

“I was definitely on my heels, pretty much (on the course),” Ouellette said. “A lot of the kick wax is typically on the front of your skis, so I tried to stay off of them as much as I could.  I literally ran half of this course because it was so difficult”. 

Gray-New Gloucester’s Michael Sweeney finished fifth at 18:58.5 and Maranacook’s Max Olmstead (19:07.0) and Wyatt Stevenson (19:23.0) slid in at seventh and 10th place, respectively.

Yarmouth’s Askel Yeo (18:37.6) and Cornelius Welch (18:54.8) took fourth and fifth place, respectively.

The girls race featured a first-place performance by Caribou’s Kayley Bell (22:13.1). Leavitt’s Jade Haylock (23:18.5) slipped into fourth place.


Maranacook locked up three slots in the top 10, with Elisa Bergdahl (22:37.2), Jenna Badeau (23:52.7) and Olympia Farrell (24:03.9) finishing fourth, seventh and eighth, respectively.


Mt. Abram’s Alex Hemingway steered himself through the mush to finish first in the Class C boys race with time of 17:08.1.

“I had great coaches, great wax, fast skis,” Hemingway, who also won the classical state title as a sophomore in 2020, said. “That’s really all this was. You had to push. It was kind of watery, slushy. It was a good fight. It think it was a good race.”

Hemingway’s teammates Jeff Warnock (19:46.0) and Cameron Walters (19:51.8) took fourth and fifth place, respectively.

Spruce Mountain’s Abrahm Geissinger (18:14.5), the Mountain Valley Conference classical and freestyle pursuit champion, hauled in a second-place state finish Wednesday.

On the girls side, Orono’s Ruth White (21:10.6) won the Class C title. Mt. Abram’s Emily Kidd (22:04.7) and Autumn Pulk (23:38.8) had strong showings, finishing second and seventh place, respectively.

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