Mt. Blue’s Henri McCourt begins the first climb of the Sassi Memorial 5K classical race at Black Mountain in Rumford in January. The sophomore won Class A state titles in the classical and freestyle races in February and has been selected as the Sun Journal All-Region Boys Nordic Skier of the Year. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Mt. Blue sophomore Henri McCourt couldn’t shake the feeling that he was being stalked by a worthy opponent at the Nordic state championships in February.

Due to a large storm in the forecast, the format for the second day of the state championships was changed so that Class A, B and C raced at the same time. That meant McCourt, who won the Class A classical title the day before, would be racing at the same time as the Class B classical champion, senior Logan Ouellette of Leavitt.

McCourt used Ouellette’s presence to his advantage. He entered the freestyle race with a 33-second lead over his nearest Class A competitor, but a neck-and-neck battle with Ouellette helped McCourt race even harder.

“I had Logan hunting me down on the second day, and that was a good motivator,” McCourt said. “I often feel like it is a little easier to be the one chasing people instead of the one being chased. (I really) used Logan as motivation and thought about just, like, ‘I have to ski the fastest race I can.’”

The two area skiers again won the state titles in their respective classes, and the first-place showings on both days made each of them the pursuit champions as well.

Ouellette (14:28.6) finished the freestyle nearly five seconds faster than McCourt (14:33.3), but his presence helped McCourt’s lead in the Class A pursuit grow to 1 minute, 40 seconds faster than runner-up Tait Harvey of Greely.


McCourt’s time of 16:03 in the Class A classical stage of the state championships gave him a two-day combined time of 30:36.3, which was faster than any boys skier in any classifications at this winter’s Nordic state championships.

Mt. Blue’s Henri McCourt begins the first climb of the Sassi Memorial 5K classical race at Black Mountain in Rumford in January. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

McCourt also paced Mt. Blue to its second consecutive state championship.

McCourt’s grit during the Class A Nordic championships make him the Sun Journal All-Region Boys Nordic Skier of the Year.

McCourt said Ouellette, last year’s Sun Journal Nordic Skier of the Year, pushed him at competitions throughout the season.

At the KVAC championships, which were held at Black and Titcomb mountains, Ouellette was the front runner on Day 1 in the 5K freestyle mass, gliding in at 12:37.2, with McCourt right behind at 12:41.6. The pair flip-flopped in the classical race, McCourt (15:14.7) taking first and Ouellette (15:50.9) playing second fiddle.

They shared KVAC Boys Nordic Skier of the Year honor and were both named to the KVAC All-Conference first team.


“The first day I was a little tired and Logan brutally outsmarted me here …” McCourt said. “He was conserving energy and made a really great move on High School Hill, and I couldn’t hang with him in the skate race. Then I had a fantastic race in the classic that day and was able to pass (Logan) again. That was another situation where (Logan) was, like, really great motivation.”

McCourt one-upped Ouellette in the Sassi Memorial at Black Mountain. The Mt. Blue skier (14:49.3) finished seventh, while Ouellette (14:53.2) snatched ninth place.

“I felt like I skied well, skied transitions well. I was maybe a little tired because I had been racing in New Hampshire that weekend (at Easterns), prior,” he said. “I feel like I was able to, like, ski really well technically despite that.”

McCourt said his offseason effort paid dividends this season.

“There were certainly results that were really exciting that I didn’t expect,” McCourt said. “I made a big improvement over last year, but since, like, middle school, I stepped up my training in the summer and fall this year and I feel like I’ve been pretty good about, like, consistently improving on a linear projector …”

McCourt, who recently competed in Junior Nationals in Alaska, was introduced to skiing during family outings in the winter and began ski racing with a Farmington area ski team in the fourth grade.



Mt. Blue coach Emmy Held said McCourt’s success is the result of hard work that comes from his discipline at practice and competition.

“(McCourt) is into every little detail of the sport, but he also just loves it so much and the team so much,” Held said. “He’s the one that checks in with everybody else on the team every day.

“I would say here is he super analytical about every part of his technique. That’s also me, and I love getting into the nitty gritty and the five points of technique. He trains so strategically at heart. He is thinking year-round what he can do for skiing, what he can do for other sports.”

Held said when McCourt is not around because of racing at Easterns or some other venue, his absence is felt by the entire team.

“He just has a larger-than-life, positive influence on the team, and he gets to know everybody on our team, on other teams and he is a really a likable, lovable guy,” Held said. “He cares about his own training; he cares about others. It really feels collaborative coaching him. He takes a lot of ownership of his training. He never loses sight of his goals.


“It is really refreshing as a coach to see someone that not only — I mean, I am there to solve problems for them, but he is also coming up with his own solutions and just asking for support as he needs it. … He was doing states two days after he had just qualified for Junior Nationals. He was coming in a little tired and he still performed as well as he did (at states).”


McCourt is a man of all seasons. To stay in top-tip condition, McCourt runs cross country in the fall and outdoor track in the spring. He hops on his bike in the summer to compete in mountain bike racing, too.

McCourt admitted he thinks about style and strategy, but he added, “It is very satisfying to make improvements.”

“Skiing is my favorite sport, I’d say. I mean I really, really like running, too, but I am a little bit better at skiing,” he said. “They are both super fun. I really love being outdoors, adventuring around on skis or running. Something about the sensation of going fast on your feet or just on skis is really, really fun.”

Pride runs right through the entire Mt. Blue boys Nordic team — and McCourt is one of the Cougars’ biggest supporters.

“I feel really great about our team,” McCourt said. “We had some great seniors last year and some great upperclassmen this year. One of the best things, especially about our boys team, is, like, we are super young. Mt. Blue seems pretty stocked up right now. It is fantastic to have a great team with other strong skiers to ski with and practice everyday.”

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