Cooper Camp mustered his remaining energy to celebrate as he crossed the finish line a state champion in February. Photo by ALEX KORMANN, Star Tribune
Cooper Camp’s schedule was rigorous over the winter. He felt sick at times, fatigued and mentally exhausted.
It didn’t prevent the Minneapolis Southwest senior from performing at his highest level at the most opportune times. Camp concluded his prep career by winning the Nordic boys’ pursuit individual state championship with a combined time of 28 minutes, 25.7 seconds in the 5K classic and 5K freestyle races. That made him the Star Tribune Boys’ Nordic Skier of the Year.
“You can’t be at your peak all season. It’s too hard,” Camp said. “My best races were in my biggest events [state meet and junior nationals].”
He will ski at Dartmouth next season. That decision also loomed over him throughout the year.
“The process of making a college decision was difficult,” Camp said. “It was hard on me. It was a lot of stress.”
Camp was able to put everything behind him to win the two-day event at Giants Ridge in Biwabik. In doing so, he became the first Minneapolis public school individual champion since 1965.
“When I finished third in the state meet last year, I was coming back to win it,” Camp said.
And so were his teammates. The Lakers also won the sprint relay event en route to capturing the team championship. Five of the seven Lakers who comprised the team are seniors.
Camp initially got involved in Nordic skiing for the social aspect. He wanted to be among his friends. He had no idea what the future held.
“This was a really special season,” Camp said. “I have been with these guys, my best friends since seventh grade. I am super proud of every one of them.”