RUMFORD — Mt. Blue’s Nora McCourt dominated Saturday’s Sassi Memorial Nordic ski race, finishing first with a time of 17:34.5 and leaving an eight-second gap between her and runner-up Nyla Scott from Gould Academy.

“Conditions were a little bit challenging,” McCourt said. “I had some icing on my skis at one point, and then they were slipping at first, but I feel like we did a really good job narrowing down the wax choices, and I felt good overall.”

McCourt said races at Black Mountain usually allow racers to pick up speed, because of how the course is designed. For her, that is ideal as downhills are her favorite part of Nordic skiing.

Saturday’s race was one of the warmer races on the calendar, sitting at 35 degrees with only 2 mph winds. Chisholm Ski Club announcer Craig Zurhorst joked on the mic that the racers survived the women’s race before the notorious Black Mountain winds were able to roll in.

McCourt said that the Sassi Memorial, a 5-kilometer race, is good chance to compete with and meet racers from throughout the state.

“There’s a lot of people here. It’s really a fun environment to see people from like southern Maine, northern Maine, like everywhere,” McCourt said. “It’s really fun to get to see and chat with people.”

The keys to McCourt’s first-place finish, she said, was her race preparation, warm-ups and “amazing skis.” She is also no stranger to winning, as she also took the top spot at the Roy Varney Hornet Classic earlier this season at Titcomb Mountain in Farmington.

McCourt said she also kept a positive mindset for Black Mountain’s notorious High School Hill.

“I would say High School Hill is always a challenge, it’s super steep, and it’s late in the race so you’re already super tired,” McCourt said. “But, honestly, the thing that motivated me was, like, just thinking at the top of the hill, basically, you’re done, it’s all downhill.”

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