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More in Sports
Oxford Hills girls ski team claims title
POLE POSITION — Collen Stauder of Oxford Hills navigates through a gate during the Class A championship race at Mt. Abram Ski Resort in Greenwood on Wednesday.
GREENWOOD — It wasn't perfect, and at times it wasn't pretty at all.
But by the slimmest of margins, the Oxford Hills girls' ski team pulled out its greatest triumph in 36 years Wednesday, thanks in part to the efforts of a pair of skiers so determined to finish their runs that they hiked up the mountain.
Colleen Stauder led the Vikings with a seventh-place finish, fellow senior Amanda Hanning placed 15th, and McKayla Ivey and Ellen Bessette gutted out 30th- and 52nd-place finishes respectively as Oxford Hills edged Falmouth by two points to claim the Class A girls' overall skiing crown at Mt. Abram Ski Resort.
"Did we make it?" Oxford Hills Alpine coach Mike Grace asked after the race. "I know we had a couple of skiers struggle on their second runs, but we all made it.
"The girls skied well all year, really. Those top four girls are really consistent," he said.
Miranda Murphy and Annika Kahkonen completed the Vikings' competing six Wednesday.
The Oxford Hills' Alpine ski team didn't win its state title, running into a deep and talented Greely squad that placed four skiers in the top 10 of Wednesday's slalom.
The Vikings' Nordic squad fared similarly, falling behind a stacked Falmouth team at Black Mountain of Maine on Monday and Tuesday.
But together, there was plenty to celebrate.
"It was great to see the Nordic team here. It was nice to see them all show up to support us," Grace said. "We don't ski together often, we don't see them much, but it really was a total team effort from all the girls."
The win snaps Mt. Blue's streak of eight consecutive overall titles. The Cougars had won 19 of the previous 21 overall championships, defeated only by Leavitt in 2003 and Edward Little in 2004.
In most cases, Mt. Blue won the overall title while also earning the Alpine crown. But lacking depth on the girls' side this season, the Cougars fell out of the top five in Alpine, and placed fifth in the overall.
The Vikings were the picture of consistency all week, getting help from both Nordic and Alpine teams.
"We've had a number of years where we've had a good cross country team, but not an alpine team, or we've had a good alpine team and not so good in cross country," Oxford Hills Nordic coach Chris Easton said. "And then it all takes a little bit of luck, to have everything all fall into place. This happens to be one of those years."
Easton was a coach for part of the season in 1975, the year after he graduated from Oxford Hills. That team, and the team in 1977, were the most recent state overall champions from the school, when it competed in Class B.
The Greely Rangers, meanwhile, were simply dominant at Mt. Abram. After a 32-point performance Tuesday in the giant slalom, they placed four skiers in the top 11 of the slalom race to post 24 points, for a two-race total of 57, well ahead of Edward Little (138) in second.
"If you ski your first run clean, and once we had two down in the second run, we said, 'Let them fly,'" Greely coach Mark Ouellette said. "We did across the board."
Elyse Dinan led the way for Greely with a third-place finish. Teal Otley placed fourth and Jill Booth sixth respectively, while Jordan Ouellette completed the scoring for the Rangers in 11th position.
"Last year, we lost only one race all year, and that was the last race of the season," Ouellette said. "This year, we didn't lose any. This is a great group of girls, and we really only lose one and there's more coming in behind them."
Edward Little's Allarie Lever — the individual champion in the giant slalom Tuesday — finished off an impressive sweep, earning the Class A slalom title Wednesday in a combined time of 1:29.46, 1.01 seconds better than Marissa Roberts of Gorham.
"I was just trying to do the same thing after the first run again, like yesterday," Lever said. "I didn't know what anyone else had for times, so I was just trying to make it down."
For Lever, the win was the culmination of a goal she set for herself back in the sixth grade.
"Last year, I felt like I could win it, but there was a bunch of competition, and I just fell," Lever said. "This year I just was like, 'I have to go for it.'"
Lever didn't lose a single race this season.
"I'm still in shock," Lever said. "It's crazy."
Paced by a blistering pair of Nordic races Monday and Tuesday at Black Mountain, Falmouth, which entered Wednesday's finale with a slight lead over the Vikings for the overall tile, took home second overall.
In the Alpine combined competition, Oxford Hills, Fryeburg Academy and Falmouth rounded out the top five behind Greely and EL.
Following Oxford Hills and Falmouth in the girls' overall championship race were Fryeburg, Greely and Mt. Blue.
Kelsey Liljedhal of Fryeburg was the top skimeister in girls' Class A, edging Jessie Hoffman of Greely by 11 points.