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Severson, CEC girls ski to LSC crown

CEC's Sarah Severson clears a gate during Thursday's ski meet at Spirit Mountain. Severson had the fastest time at the Lake Superior Conference alpine ski meet. Dave Harwig/

Accidentally showing up at Mont du Lac instead of Spirit Mountain for last week’s Lake Superior Conference alpine ski meet, Sarah Severson admitted she had a lead foot when driving her Volkswagen Passat to Duluth.

But her high-speed performance on the slopes was even faster.

Severson’s combined classic and freestyle time of 1 minute 7.18 seconds was the fastest that evening as the Esko senior skied her way to the LSC individual title. She centered Cloquet-Esko-Carlton to the top of the four participating schools en route to a girls championship for the first time since her freshman season.

It was this season, however, that Severson, a Lumberjack varsity skier since seventh grade, arrived at the wrong venue following an “honest mistake.” Severson said the conference meet has traditionally been held at Mont du Lac, but when she was the only one there, she got in her car and hurried her way on a winding 17-minute jaunt to Spirit Mountain in time.

“I was freaking out, but I made it,” said Severson with a laugh. “I was putting my boots on just trying to get there.”

Once there, Severson said she composed herself, but still had visibility trouble with her sun-reflecting ski goggles as daylight turned to darkness on the pleasant January evening.

“But other than all of that it was OK,” Severson said with a smile.

“OK” may be a slight understatement, as CEC claimed the top spot over opponents Hermantown-Proctor, Duluth Denfeld and Duluth Marshall with just seven skiers. Severson, who will ski club level at Northern Michigan next winter, was also aided on the All-Conference team by Carlton teammate Kyrra Oien, who skied to sixth overall.

The Lumberjacks boys, led by Esko’s Tom Heren at fourth individually, placed third as a team with a mere four skiers in a season short on numbers said Coach Ryan Zimny.

Cloquet senior Carly Boder, however, has been around just as long as Severson and is one of the few to do so for the small program. Placing seventh, one spot from All-Conference, Boder didn’t mind, but rather held hands with her ski mates before celebrating their team’s championship.

“We were holding them pretty tightly,” Boder said of being “on the bubble” as results were tallied. “I was happy. The team is definitely more important than the individual.”

One individual, Severson, is a three-time state qualifier and hopes to do so again at sections next Monday. Hoping to go to the right venue, she won’t forget her panic last week.

“She got back, and got settled in time,” Zimny said.