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Varsity Maine Boys' Skier of the Year: Teo Steverlynck-Horne, Freeport

Mar. 29—For Teo Steverlynck-Horne, the most memorable moment of a championship season took place not on the trails, not at the finish line and not on the podium.

No, for the shaggy-haired senior, it was the bus ride back to Freeport High following the Falcons' successful Class B state title defense that he will always cherish.

"Just to be with the whole team, it was really wonderful because everyone was beaming," Steverlynck-Horne said. "It was a good experience."

Despite a challenging Nordic skiing season that involved more days on roller skis than on snow, Steverlynck-Horne swept individual honors at Titcomb Mountain in Farmington. He swept the Class B classical, freestyle and freestyle pursuit disciplines in a combined time (26 minutes, 57.7 seconds) faster than that of any other skier in the three state championship meets, all held at Titcomb on Feb. 19-20.

His victory also helped Freeport repeat as team champion, holding off neighboring Yarmouth by 12 points.

He is our choice as the 2024 Varsity Maine Boys' Skier of the Year.

"He's hard-working but he's also super laid back," said Jess Marion, head coach of Freeport. "He doesn't let things get him down. He'll have a bad race but he has this amazing ability to shake it off."

Steverlynck-Horne didn't have many bad races this winter. He won every Western Maine Conference race he entered ... except a skate race in late January to teammate Owen Dawson. He won the Roy Varney Hornet Classic 5K.

He placed third in the all-comers Sassi Memorial at Black Mountain, behind skiers from Gould Academy and Quarry Road club, neither of whom are eligible for Maine Principals' Association competition.

At the Eastern High School Championships in Holderness, New Hampshire, a broken pole caused him to drop out of the classic race. He placed sixth in sprint and 26th in 5K freestyle.

"It was a little bittersweet for it to be my last season to ski," Steverlynck-Horne said. "Personally, I had some pretty high expectations. I was thrilled that it worked out for the team and for me."

His parents met as undergraduates at Brown University. His mom grew up in Argentina and did some Alpine skiing. His dad grew up in Freeport. Nordic didn't enter the mix until brother Maximo (four years older) switched over from Alpine. Teo followed suit as a sixth-grader at Freeport Middle School, where Jonathan Dawson coaches the program.

"He really fostered my love for Nordic skiing," Steverlynck-Horne said of Dawson, who now counts Teo's dad, Eric Horne, as an assistant coach. "(My father) was also inspired by Jonathan Dawson to start skiing."

Ever curious, Steverlynck-Horne has taken part in five different sports during his high school career. He will return to tennis this spring, has run on two state championship cross country teams and, although he wasn't a scoring member, played on the state championship golf team as a freshman.

In the fall he will enroll at Dartmouth College, where the NCAA Division I ski program is probably out of his reach. He plans to continue skiing, however, and to take advantage of more hiking opportunities.

"I love being outside," he said. "I'm a big photographer, too. I just take (a camera) with me and document whatever I see."

Marion, his high school coach, said this season was particularly challenging both because weather limited on-snow sessions and because she and her assistant coach were injured, preventing them from being on skis. She said Steverlynck-Horne provided necessary leadership and direction.

"He had to be more of a helping hand, communicating to the team, skiing around, making sure people went where they were supposed to and do the workout they were supposed to," she said. "He's a very positive, friendly, calm presence."