AUBURN — Athletes have a way of knowing when it’s going to be their day, even before they step onto the playing surface.
Allarie Lever’s legs were dangling 20 feet above Black Mountain’s Lower Androscoggin Trail when she knew it was going to be her moment.
“It was a perfectly sunny day,” Lever, an Edward Little senior, recalled. “Riding up in the chair before my run I was singing to myself and I was like, ‘This is going to be a good race today.'”
Lever’s confidence translated into her second consecutive KVAC giant slalom championship. Everything seemed to be coming together for her first state championship two weeks later.
But the sun wasn’t shining on Lever after that fortnight. She fell on her first run of the Class A GS championships.
Determined not to let that happen again, Lever took to dry land training earlier, even lifted some weights and joined the Gould Sunday River training program. Combined with a return to USSA skiing last year, she could be primed for a run at a state title.
Wisely, Lever and EL coach Tara Eretzian aren’t getting too far ahead of themselves, even though the season got off to a great start last Friday with a first place at the Super Series giant slalom race at Black Mountain.
“Time will tell, the next couple of races really, where she stands,” Eretzian said. “Her training will pay off.”
Lever has been skiing since age 3 and was competing in the Mountain Dew races at Lost Valley by the time she was five. Older brother Branden was a standout on EL’s boys alpine team, so Allarie was able to make an early impression on Eretzian.
“She was a little race rat. She would practice with us on weekends and I couldn’t wait to have her on the team. Just watching her ski when she was in the sixth grade, it was so exciting,” Eretzian said. “She just knew how to turn and wanted to go fast.”
Lever learned quickly about competing at an elite level from her brother, who was a member of two state title teams.
“I was a freshman when he was a senior and I saw how he wanted to make the Maine (State Ski) Team so bad. I was, like, the Maine Team must be so great. I’ve got to make this Maine Team,” said Lever, who reached that goal by her sophomore year.
In addition to making the Maine Ski Team as a sophomore, she won the KVAC giant slalom and placed third at states, and was also runner-up at KVAC’s and states in the slalom.
As a junior, Lever repeated her performance in the giant slalom at KVACs, but her struggles staying upright cost her in both the slalom and GS at states.
It may be early in her senior season, but Eretzian said she’s already seen improvements in Lever’s runs.
“She has some confidence that she was lacking the last few years because she was so young and there were older kids on the team. This year, it’s her senior year,” Eretzian said. “She’s one of the hardest workers on the team, and it’s paid off so far.”