Developing a love for cross-country

Amy Severtson ran cross-country in high school for the fun of it and to stay in shape for her first love, figure skating. Little did she know it would lead to a place on the RDC cross-country team and a passion for the sport.

Amy Severtson ran cross-country in high school for the fun of it and to stay in shape for her first love, figure skating.

Little did she know it would lead to a place on the RDC cross-country team and a passion for the sport.

“It wasn’t my main focus in high school, but I ran on the side to stay in shape then in Grade 12 it evolved to where I could get a possible scholarship and run for the college. It’s developed to a point where I love the sport and competing for the team.”

The 18-year-old native of Innisfail has enjoyed a strong first year with RDC, consistently finishing second to Jordanna Cota in the team results. She has competed in three Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference Grand Prix races with a seventh-place finish among college runners, in her last start in Camrose, her best showing. She also was 12th and 14th.

“Going into the first race I didn’t know where I stood, but Brian (Stackhouse) did a good job of talking with me about where I want to be at the end of the season. The races are also close together so you know who is around you and you can push yourself to be running in those same groups and hopefully improve your time.

“We had a strong cross-country program in Innisfail, but this is definitely a step up,” said Severtson, who finished in the top 10 in the high school junior division in Grade 10.

Severtson enjoys the team aspect of the RDC team.

“Figure skating is strictly an individual sport,” she said. “Here you run for the team and you train with the team … that’s awesome. Jordanna has really helped me … she pushes me to improve my times over the year, which I didn’t know I would. I also like the fact the team is mixed and you train and travel together. We have a strong team.”

She’s looking forward to the next three weeks competing in the ACAC championships in Lethbridge Saturday and the Canadians Colleges Athletic Association championships Nov. 13-14 in Brockville, Ont.

“I’m looking forward to that,” she said. “I do have a little background in competing so that won’t bother me.”

One of the RDC team’s strongest competition will be Lethbridge College, led by former Innisfail star Emily Lucas.

“We trained together and were good friends, so it will be interesting to compete against her and see how she’s doing,” said Severtson.

But while she’s enjoying her cross-country experience figure skating is still her No. 1 sport.

“I started skating at a young age of two and fell in love with it,” she said. “I first competed at age seven and I’m still going strong.”

Severtson is a member of the Red Deer Skating Club, although she trains out of Canmore and Edmonton.

“They have two divisions here, competitive and recreation,” she said. “Recreation skaters still compete, but I was the only competitive skater and my coach here wanted to step back.’

She trains with skaters at her level from around Alberta so it was important to find other clubs, and coaches, to train with. One of her coaches worked with former Red Deer star Jamie Salé and David Pelletier.

Figure skating is a year round commitment, says Severtson.

“In the summer is a big training time with the fall and into winter the competitions. In spring there’s the regrowth and new programs.”

The competition begins in early November.

“The sports double up a bit, but Brian has been great and helps me out when I need the time away,” she said.

Severtson is in her second year of junior, and will move into the senior ranks next season. Over the years she’s has success at the provincial level and competed at the Alberta Winter Games twice and the Western Canada championships. Her goal this year is to advance to the Canadians.

Her strength is jumping.

“I could jump for two hours and love every minute of it, but I do need to work on my spins,” she said. “In competition you need to be technically strong. Just the slightest mistake can drop you 10 spots.”

Her time training with the RDC team has helped her skating.

“I know I’m a lot stronger this year, because of my time with Red Deer College. I think both sports help each other. I know I’m looking forward to what will happen down the road.”

At five-foot-two Severtson is one of the shortest runners on the RDC team, but a perfect height when it comes to skating.

“For skating its a positive, you only see the odd skater who is taller,” she said. “But I’m short when it comes to the starting line.”

Severtson is taking athletic therapy and will be at the college for one year, then transfer to the University of Victoria.

“Only one year here, but I’m glad Brian offered me the chance to come … I couldn’t be happier,” she said. “Victoria has the program I need.”

She hasn’t looked at running for the university, but will continue to skate.

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