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Hockey: Abear, Smith enjoy high-level competition

Gabbie Smith1 / 2
Cheyenne Abear2 / 2

Cheyenne Abear and Gabbie Smith were selected to play in the CCM High Performance National Camp in St. Cloud.

The mid-July camp brought the country's best girls hockey players in each age division. The Brainerd/Little Falls girls hockey players proved why they are some of the best players in the state.

"The High Performance program is a really amazing program," Abear said. "They teach you so many new things that you don't normally get to work on during the regular season. Being able to work on many different skills that aren't normally focused on allows you to develop your game"

Both girls felt they had a positive outcome from the High Performance camp.

"I feel that I played well," Smith said. "We had a lot of skilled players to push us to make us better."

It's not unheard of for a local player to make the national stage at the High Performance camps. Having two players from the same age group is something special.

"I love having my teammate with me," Abear said. "It's always great to see a familiar face on the ice. It makes the whole process more fun for us."

Abear and Smith are coming off a historic girls hockey season. They were part of the first Brainerd/Little Falls team to ever make it to the state tournament. Even though they got a taste, they aren't finished yet.

"Our only goal is to make it back to the state tournament," Smith said. "I want to push myself and help push our team to be our very best."

The girls hockey team qualified for the state tournament in thrilling fashion with a 2-1, three overtime victory over the Roseau Rams.

"I want to continue to improve my game and be the best that I can be, "Abear said. "But my ultimate goal is to make it back to the Xcel Energy Center."

Abear and Smith are excited to show what they improved on this summer in hopes of making it back to St. Paul.

"High Performance teaches us new things that we can bring back to our team so we can be more successful as a whole." Smith said.

The senior girls hockey players won't be done on the ice after their final year of high school hockey. Both girls are committed to Division 1 hockey programs. Abear plans to play for Union College in New York, while Smith has committed to play for Bemidji State University in the fall of 2019.