Telstar Middle School Nordic ski team, Osie Hedden, from left, Tess Smith, Reece Pierce, Lillian Smith, Coach Justin Fereshetian, Isla DeCato, and Davon DeGruttola. Submitted photo

BETHEL — Coach Justin Fereshetian, of Sumner, is a program director at Maine West Project Play. He has coached Nordic skiing to all ages. He has also coached track, ultimate frisbee and running.

When the Telstar Middle School Nordic ski team needed someone at the helm partway through this season, Fereshetian stepped into the role.

The boys could only compete individually because they needed to have four skiers within each gender to complete a team and they had just two.

The girls were able to compete as a team of four, with two others that wanted to join but not race.

“My goal isn’t to push kids into racing before they are ready. My goal is just to make it fun. Hopefully, they’ll want to keep going after that because they enjoy it,” said Fereshetian.

The girls finished second overall. Lillian Smith finished first in both of her races and her sister Tess came in  second in the skate race. Titcomb Mountain in Farmington hosted the classic race;  Black Mountain hosted the he skate race. Both races are about three kilometers in length.


“Reece [Pierce] also had an awesome race. He placed eighth overall in the skate race,” said Fereshetian. .

Despite the season being over, Fereshetian, said, “We are still skiing [at practices] because the skiing is so good.”

Telstar Alpine ski team, Front row: Kendal Duchart, from left, Rowan Theriault; and Kaiden Manjourides. Back row: Zach Peterson, from left, Coach Mark Duchart, Lucas Peterson and Carter Inman. Submitted photo

Alpine Team

While they did not have enough athletes to qualify as a team this year, (they needed two more girls), Coach Mark Duchart is hoping to grow the Telstar Middle School Alpine ski team for next year, adding siblings of current skiers and anyone else who wants to come out.

“Racing gates is fun,” he said.

Cindy Brown and Tim Cavanaugh had coached the alpine team before COVID with a roster of 20 young athletes. The team fizzled until last year when Duchart became the coach with help from Brown to get it going again.


He began the season with 10 skiers, but lost three of them to ski injuries (unrelated to racing).

They competed for individual points against,  Saint Dominic Academy, Marancook Community Middle School, Mountain Valley Middle School, Rangeley Alpine Ski Club, and others.

Kendal Duchart finished in third place in the team’s final competition in the giant slalom. Silas Wills had an early  success winning at Saddleback and ending eighth overall. Carter Inman; Kaiden Manjourides; Rowan Theriault; Lucas and Zack Peterson all contributed to the team, too.

Alera Group, Electric Supply and Sport Thoma sponsored the team, securing Sunday River lift time and providing blue jackets for each skier.

Audrey Theriault, mother of Rowan wrote to Duchart, “What started as a sport Rowan was unsure about, turned into something that made him a better skier.”

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