All-Area Girls Soccer Player of the Year: Cloquet-Carlton’s Katie Turner is 'never not putting 100% into soccer'

The Lumberjack senior is headed to Northern Michigan University in Marquette next fall to play soccer and hopes to one day become an anesthesiologist.

Cloquet-Carlton forward Katie Turner is the 2021 News Tribune Player of the Year for girls soccer. Turner helped lead the Lumberjacks to their first state semifinal game since 2009. Here Turner poses for a portrait near the Cloquet soccer field Monday, Nov. 29, 2021. Samantha Erkkila / Duluth News Tribune

To say Katie Turner is “busy” is something of an understatement.

The Cloquet senior has her hands in just about everything. She’s active with the Student Council, National Honor Society, senior executive committee, Junior Rotarians and editor of the Cloquet High School yearbook.

Throughout the month of October she was also rehearsing for the CHS fall musical — a production of “Beauty and the Beast” — and attending open gyms to get ready for basketball season.

Throughout October, while Cloquet-Carlton was making a run to the Minnesota Class AA semifinal, several members of the team were also rehearsing for the fall musical "Beauty and the Beast." Pictured are: (front row, from left) Sarah Turner, Olivia Macaulay, Makena Smith and Ilei Benson; and (back row) Olivia Jameson, Caley Kruse, Katie Turner and Macava Smith. Photo courtesy of Bobbie Turner


And there’s one other small thing. Katie was a captain on the Cloquet-Carlton soccer team that went to the state semifinal for the first time since 2009, and she scored the game-winning goal against St. Francis in the Lumberjacks’ quarterfinal matchup.

The two-time first team All-State selection is now the Duluth News Tribune All-Area Player of the Year. Katie led the Lumberjacks in points with 20 (11 goals, nine assists) and has been one of the keys to Cloquet-Carlton’s run of three consecutive section titles.

During the final month of the 2021 season, Turner would wake up around 7:15 a.m., get ready for school, with soccer practice immediately afterward. After soccer practice, she would get cleaned up and head to rehearsal for sometimes 3-4 hours, arriving home about 11 p.m. to finish up her homework.

“I can’t really relate to her schedule at all,” friend and teammate Sadie Senich said. “I just remember I’d come to practice every day and then I’d see Katie doing her homework in the parking lot or stressing out about something because she has so much going on.”

While Turner's schedule is hectic, she enjoys the variety of activities she’s involved with and the opportunities each brings.

“I like to feel accomplished and being a part of everything that I possibly can be a part of just makes me feel good,” Katie said. “I would just get bored if I was just going home every day after school, doing my homework and then sitting around doing nothing. I really like being a part of as many things as I am because I get to meet a lot of different people.”


Katie’s mom and Lumberjacks assistant coach Bobbie Turner said she tends to have a very busy schedule herself.

“I’m kind of an over-joiner — I tend to over volunteer for this board or that committee or whatever,” Bobbie said. “I think I thrive on the chaos and I feel like Katie is kind of like that, too, but time management-wise, that’s all her. She just somehow keeps a pretty diligent schedule. She has it all written down, when she’s going to make time for studying, this night is going to be for this class, et cetera.”

‘The work I thought my team deserves’

Despite all the different activities — which also include running track in the spring — Katie always kept soccer near the top of her priority list.

“I remember Katie was always stressed out,” Senich said. “But she was never not putting 100% into soccer. She would always make sure she was at soccer and the homework and everything else was pushed to the side.”

Cloquet-Carlton’s Katie Turner chases the ball during a September 2020 game. Turner was named the News Tribune's All-Area Player of the Year after the Lumberjacks made a run to the Minnesota Class AA semifinal. (File / News Tribune)

Soccer has been a part of Katie's life since Bobbie was bringing Katie to her sister Erin’s soccer practices when she was a toddler.


“My mom had me kicking a soccer ball since I could walk,” Katie said.

Instead of being a burden, soccer became the thing Katie does to relax and escape from all of the other demands on her time.

“I look forward to going to soccer every day,” Katie said. “It doesn’t matter how much stuff I have going on or how stressed I’s not something that I’m like, ‘Oh darn, I have to go to soccer practice tonight right after school.’ It really gets rid of a lot of my stress.”

Cloquet-Carlton coach Dustin Randall has coached Katie since her freshman year and said she was “willing to do anything” during practice. He originally envisioned her as a centerback or midfielder, but Katie had different ideas.

“I originally wanted her in midfield, but she ended up playing the forward role to get her in,” Randall said. “She just kept scoring big goals, so she always stayed back there. In practice, though, she’ll jump in and play defense or she’ll even jump in net and play goalie — she just really likes to play soccer.”

Randall, Senich and even Bobbie all said one of the things that sets Katie apart from other players is her work ethic and dedication to soccer.

“I’ve grown up with those girls, every one of them is like my sister,” Katie said. “Every day I’ve put in the work that I thought my team deserved and that’s what I contribute to this team. I think I have a very high work ethic. These past four seasons that I’ve been on varsity, I think I’ve pushed everyone to their fullest potential and I think that’s what I brought to the team.”


‘My home away from home’

With her high school soccer career finished, Katie is headed to Northern Michigan University in Marquette next fall to play soccer for the Wildcats.

She looked at some other schools, even some in warmer climates, but NMU seemed to be the right fit for her plans, which also include pursuing a career as an anesthesiologist.

“It was just like driving into Duluth,” Katie said. “It was far enough away where I figured I could be a new person and start a new life, but close enough where I can come home if there’s an emergency. I just felt like it was my home away from home — it felt so much like Duluth, you have the lake and I thought anywhere that has soccer can’t be bad.”

Bobbie said after Katie’s phone call with coach Jon Sandoval she “had a good feeling,” but the visit really made the difference.

“She tried to keep her enthusiasm tempered that first day of the visit,” Bobbie said. “But by the end of the second day, she was like, ‘I think this is my school.’”

While Katie will be leaving the Lumberjacks behind this spring, she hopes that she and the other architects of Cloquet-Carlton’s run of success — including former All-Area Players of the Year Kendra Kelley and Kiana Bender — will continue long after she’s gone.

“I feel very blessed to have done it three years in a row, but I don’t want that to be enough,” Katie said. “I want them to stay hungry and I want them to keep succeeding each year, getting further and further and just continuing to get better as a team.”


2021 All Area Girl's Soccer Team

Jamey Malcomb has a been high school sports reporter for the Duluth News Tribune since October 2021. He spent the previous six years covering news and sports for the Lake County News-Chronicle in Two Harbors and the Cloquet Pine Journal. He graduated from the George Washington University in 1999 with a bachelor's degree in history and literature and also holds a master's degree in secondary English education from George Mason University.
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