Presque Isle to host collegiate state ski championships

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Typically held in western Maine, the State of Maine Collegiate Ski Championship is being held this year at the Nordic Heritage Center. One hundred and twenty of the top college skiers in the state are expected to be at the venue and working toward the coveted Chummy Broomhall Cup, which goes to the top overall team.

The freestyle race will take place Saturday, Jan. 27, and is 10 kilometers in length. The men’s competition begins at 10 a.m. and the women follow at 11 a.m. Awards will be presented beginning at 12:30 p.m.

Broomhall, who passed away late last year, was known as one of the driving forces in building the Maine Nordic skiing community. He was the leader of the Chisholm Ski Club in Rumford, which hosted several United States national championship races, the Olympic Trials and the NCAA Championships. Broomhall was a two-time Olympian.

“He was the epitome of Maine skiing and the Maine college ski teams he has inspired hope to continue his legacy in some small way through this event,” said first-year University of Maine at Presque Isle ski coach Tim Whiton.

Whiton said Saturday’s event is unique because it is a stand-alone race for the Maine colleges.

NCAA Division I ski programs Bates, Bowdoin, Colby and UMPI will be racing against United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association teams from the University of Maine Farmington and club teams from UM-Fort Kent and the University of Maine at Orono.

“It is rare for these teams to come together to race and celebrate skiing like this and this event allows for this to happen,” Whiton said. “While the racing will be intense and very fast and there are individual awards, the focus is on the team competition and winning the coveted crystal globe with the scoring men and women combined.”

The event is in its 11th year with Bates and Colby each having won five times.

Whiton said his UMPI team, which took first place in the 2017 men’s race, is made up of three men (sophomore Jason Bartley, freshman Nino Manzella and junior Connor Hrynuk, who is the defending state champion) and one woman in senior Valentina Annunziata.

“We are very excited to host this event as it will be the first college race hosted in Aroostook County,” said Whiton, noting that Bates College has usually hosted the state championships but the calendar opened giving UMPI the opportunity. “It will be great to show off our local trails and the excellent work the Nordic Heritage Sport Club does in putting on events.

“We hope that this will give us the opportunity to bid in the future for NCAA races and potentially national championships,” Whiton added.

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