WINDSOR -- Jake Foehl called it the biggest race of his life; Alex White said it was the sweetest.
Both can now call themselves state champions.
"It's incredible," White said. "The Greylock Nordic ski team is, in my opinion, the best team in the world. It's just been an incredible run."
Foehl and White were two of five Mount Greylock boys in the top 15 at the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association's Nordic ski championships on Tuesday. They gave the Mounties their sixth state title in seven years on a windy afternoon at Notchview Reservation. Will Kirby led Greylock, finishing fourth in 21 minutes, 49.1 seconds despite an early fall. Lincoln-Sudbury's Eli Hoenig won the individual title, traversing the 6.6-kilometer course in 19:41.7.
The Greylock girls narrowly missed their sixth straight crown, falling by three points to Lincoln-Sudbury despite having seven skiers in the top 30. Newton North's Sonya Jampel won the individual crown in 24:32.5, more than a minute ahead of the Mounties' Kat Chenail in seventh (25:37).
"[Lincoln-Sudbury] had eight and 10, that's what got us," said Greylock girls coach Hilary Greene. "That's just a big gap in points to make up. If they skied poorly and we were way back and looked flat or looked slow, maybe I'd be disappointed. They all feel pretty good about it. ... If they're happy with the race then I'm totally happy with it, too."
Chenail beat her county rival, Lenox's Josie Marshall,
Wahconah's Ellen Ross was the only other county skier to break the top 30, finishing 16th in 27:10.4.
"I wasn't expecting the finish that I got," Ross said. "I'm really happy with it. ... I felt like I was ready for it and all the weeks my team has been preparing for this."
Kirby was just as giddy at the finish line. The senior fell early in the race, but was so angry he skied strong the rest of the way.
"I kind of used that energy to catch back up," Kirby said. "It kind of gives you a surge of adrenaline. ... It's like ‘C'mon! Now I need to work harder to make up for it.' "
Kirby did, but he also got some help from a mix of veterans and newcomers. Senior Sean Houston was 10th while freshman Matt Wiseman was 13 for the Mounties. Foehl came in 15th skiing out of the first wave.
Curran Doyle was the only county skier not in red to crack the top 30. The Wahconah racer finished 25th.
Greylock boys coach Hiram Greene said winning again brought a "feeling of elation." Knowing the girls had already failed to repeat, Hiram Greene watched the skiers come in, doing the math in his head as he picked Mounties out of the crowd. The numbers, as they usually do for Greylock, worked out.
"Honestly, the stretch coming up to the finish is the hardest thing I've ever done in my life because the wind was against me," Foehl said. "It felt so satisfying crossing the line in my first states race ever knowing that I've basically done the best I could have possibly done."
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