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Severson skis to LSC title

Like any high school student, there are mornings Sarah Severson admittedly gets out of bed and wants to crawl back in.

Instead, the Esko sophomore straps on her boots, puts on her helmet and grabs her poles for her favorite sport, alpine skiing.

"It means a lot to me, I do it almost every day," Severson said Monday night. "Some days I'm up at 5:30 a.m. and I regret it. But then - when I'm on top of that hill - it's all worth it."

Dedication to the sport has helped Severson become one of the finest downhillers around. Beginning her ski career as a 3-year-old with her father, Daren, Severson started racing by age 6 and now, at 16, is the team captain during her fourth varsity season with Cloquet-Esko-Carlton.

Cutting down the hills for hours as she hones her skills daily, Severson said free time is hard to find, but the 5-foot-3 single-sport athlete added she is increasing her ability as a skier.

Severson skied to the Lake Superior Conference championship last Thursday at Mont du Lac and, in the process, led the Lumberjacks girls to the team title as well.

"This is probably the best girls team I've had here," said 11th-year CEC Coach Ryan Zimny. "And Sarah is definitely one of the leaders on this team. The girls voted her as a captain. She's determined to do well and always has a great attitude."

"She's always positive and never down," added teammate Paige Tranah, an Esko junior. "Sarah is one of those girls who is always on the hill, but also a great friend outside of skiing, too."

Both Tranah and Severson are members of Team Duluth Alpine Ski Club, a Duluth organization with professional coaches who help train young skiers. While Tranah is in her fourth year of the program, Severson is skiing her second and trained in Colorado for two weeks last November in what she said was a beneficial trip.

"It was the best experience in the world - every day was perfect out there," Severson said. "Going down those mountains was the best. The training I got out there helped me so much."

While Severson helped the Lumberjacks to last week's LSC girls title, boys teammate Alex DeRocher also won individually and helped carry the CEC boys team to a runner-up finish. Fellow teammates Carly Boder and Sam Sinnott were also awarded with All-LSC honors.

Both teams will be back at Mont du Lac Monday at 10 a.m.

Severson, who qualified for the state meet last year with both Tranah and DeRocher, hopes to return this coming February.

"She's a very good skier," Zimny said. "Some kids get tired and skip practice every now and then, but the thing about Sarah is she doesn't miss. Sometimes you have to pull her off the hill."

Just like she pulls herself out of bed each morning.

"I love what I do," Severson said about skiing. "I'm surrounded by awesome people every day."