By James Anderson
FRYEBURG — The Fryeburg Academy boys’ and girls’ cross-country ski teams opened 2019 on a good note on Jan. 2 with a number of strong results in a 5K freestyle (skate) race at Stark’s Hill in Fryeburg.
The Raider boys topped four other schools to take team honors, while the Fryeburg girls were second on the day. Coach John Weston was pleased with the early results.
Skiing on fresh snow from 11 inches the two days prior, the Fryeburg boys skated to victory with 779 points to top Gray, 757; Waynflete, 754; Greely, 579; and Cape Elizabeth, 199.
Individually, FA senior Alfie Walker came out of the blocks on a positive vein winning the boys race by more than 30 seconds in a time of 12:32. After an outstanding fall cross-country running season Walker sent notice to the rest of Class B that he is equally talented on snow.
Walker was joined on the podium by Cape’s Peter DiNinno, who was second in 13:09, while Nicholas Werner of Waynflete was third in 13:18.
Other Fyeburg finishers were Elijah Howe, sixth, 13:55; Luke Dupuis, eighth, 14:32; Luke Sekera-Flanders, 10th, 15:33; Sam Paulding, 11th, 15:45; Luke Reinbach, 12th, 15:52; Liam Friberg, 14th, 16:24; and Jacues Dupuis, 17th, 17:19.
There were 21 boys in the race.
On the girls side, in a field of just 13 skiers, Fryeburg freshman Alanna Nataluk scored her first high school victory, winning the race by 48 seconds in 16:11. She was joined on the podium by Kaitlyn Bliss of Waynflete and Alex Collins of Greely, who were second and third, respectively, in 16:59 and 17:09.
The FA girls were a little shorthanded for the race, but finished a close second to Waynflete for team honors. The Flyers won the meet with 786 points, topping Fryeburg, 780; Greely, 388; and Cape Elizabeth, 191.
Other finishers for the Raiders were Amanda Howe, sixth, 19:44; Samantha Carus, eighth, 21:38; and Jenna Dodge, 23:02.
On Jan. 5, in a jamboree type setting, the Raiders competed in the biggest meet of the season, the legendary Telestar Relays, and Fryeburg’s top team (two boys, and two girls) came in fourth out of 44 teams.
Forty-one of the teams were from Class A schools.
Walker, Elijah Howe, Nataluk and Zoe Maguire led the Raiders to a fourth place showing overall in 33:52.6.
PDC won the race in 33:16.0, narrowly edging the Central Maine Ski Club, 33:16.2, while Mt. Blue was third in 33:24.2.
On the day Walker had the third fastest split on the day in 7:25 (Luke Bartol of Maranacook was the fastest in 7:11), while Zoe McGuire had the second fastest split for all the girls in 8:32.3 (Central Maine’s Gwinna Remillard was the quickest in 8:31.9).
In the B Wave race, which had 26 teams, Fryeburg was fourth with Paulding, Friberg, Luke Dupuis and Sekera-Flanders combining to finish in 36:25.4.
The race was won by Edward Little in 34:37.1.
Fryeburg was also 12th with Reinbach, Amanda Howe, Sasha Maguire and Jacques Dupuis finishing in 42:00.
In the individual race, Isiah Johnson was third in 10:21.4. The race was won by Yarmouth’s Jack McGrath in 10:08.4.
For the girls, Fryeburg took the top two spots in the 10-skier field with Carus winning in 11:23.1, followed by Dodge, 12:15.5.
By attending a race of this magnitude not only does it give the racers an opportunity to race against top tier competition, it also gives the skiers and coaches a look at this season’s competition.
Fryeburg’s meet on Wednesday at Pineland in Gray, Maine, was canceled due to the snowstorm.
The Raiders are scheduled to return to race action on Wednesday with a 3:30 p.m. freestyle meet at Riverside in Portland. Scheduled to race are Fryeburg, Greely, Yarmouth, MCW and Portland.