Devenport’s work ethic earned her a state championship
By Anthony Schlass, Current Staff
During her junior season, West skier Sarah Devenport won the girls giant slalom state championship in La Crosse with a time of 32.72.
It nearly made her ill.
“I came down with 130 girls racing and since I was the first seed I came down 12th. I came down and I was in the lead and I said, okay, I’m not going to stay in the lead, but my time kept holding up. I knew there were some girls that I know could beat me so when their run came up I couldn’t watch them and I was sick to my stomach,” Devenport said.
Teagan Hipp from Arrowhead High Alpine Ski Team took second place with a time of 32.90. The races were from February 13-15.
Devenport was filled with emotions after finding out the final results. “It didn’t seem real. Pretty surreal feeling because last year I took sixth and the top five medal, so I was just hoping to medal,” Devenport said.
The road to state is unique for each team and individual. “We have six conference races making the season super short. Each race you race four different teams and at the end of the season you get put in a rank and the top half of your conference makes it to state. If you medal in any of the regular season races you make it as an individual,” Devenport said.
Devenport won three out of six regular season races and medaled in all six.
Devenport most definitely exceeded her personal expectations and gained respect from her teammates. “Sarah works incredibly hard and she probably practices six times a week. She sets really high standards for herself. She really carries the team with her enthusiasm, her work ethic and determination,” teammate Hannah Bensen said.
Another Bensen teammate was pleased with Sarah’s outcome. “Sarah has a lot of talent and discipline and has worked really hard to get where she is today. I’m really proud of her, to accomplish what she did this season,” Ally Bensen said.
The respect for her teammates goes both ways. “The Bensens are awesome and Isabel Krueger is a lot of fun. They are always super excited and supportive. We are always cheering each other on. The Bensen girls are super strong skiers, so they help out with every win we get during the regular season,” Devenport said.
“There were some girls that I know could beat me so when their run came up I was sick to my stomach.”
– Sarah Devenport
This past winter was not the normal snowfall season and served as an obstacle for the ski team.
“A lot of races were cancelled at the beginning of the season. There has to be a certain amount of snow to set up gates and we never got that amount until after winter break. My whole season was stressful. Trying to get training in on the weekend wherever I could and there was no snow throughout December. I was really stressed and then it worked out throughout January and February,” Devenport said.
Devenport has been skiing from a very early age. “I started skiing when I was three years old and I started racing when I was eight. Big Powderhorn is where I started skiing,” Devenport said.
Off season training is necessary in order to be on the level Devenport is on. “During the fall I do cross country and when I have an off day I lift. I do a lot of speed and agility work with directional change,” Devenport said.
Behind her is a great support staff filled with valuable resources. “I work with my dad and coach John Kasten, who are my high school coaches. I’m also on a club team and I have six coaches over there. My main one is Brad Butzke and I work with them the whole off season. We train at Sunburst three nights a week and on the weekends. I’m always in contact with them about which camps I’m going to in the summer,” Devenport said.
All year long Devenport gets her work in. “I go to ski camps in Mount Hood (Northern Oregon) for training. At the Mount Hood camps I have different coaches and all of them are past Olympians,” Devenport said.
In preparation for her junior season, Devenport was planning to travel to Colorado, but it didn’t work out. “I got mono the night before I was suppose to leave for my Thanksgiving camp in Colorado,” Devenport said.
The West Bend Ski/Snowboard team is a co-op with both boys and girls as well as a few members from other schools. “East and West, Port Washington and Kewaskum have been on it. Whatever schools in the region that do not have enough kids of their own we take them in and make our team a little bit stronger. For the most part our varsity team is just West Bend East and West, Kewaskum and Port Washington,” Devenport said.
Devenport would like to continue skiing after her time in high school but not on a competitive level. She plans to ski simply for the love of the sport.
(Top image courtesy of Steve Davis.)