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La Grande Observer Paper 07/23/14

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ANTHONY LAKES — Some of the top young cross country skiers from around the Pacific Northwest will compete at the Anthony Lakes Junior Olympic Qualifier Saturday and Sunday.

Qualifiers from this event will go to the Junior Olympics races held in Lake Placid, N.Y., in the first week of March.

There is still time for late registration before the races Saturday morning. The latest kids can register is 9:30 a.m. Saturday.

The entry fee is $4, while the trail fee is $16 ($8 per day). The USSA/PNSA head tax is $10 ($5 per day). A Saturday night dinner is $6.

The classic-style event starts at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Anthony Lakes Nordic Center with a freestyle race beginning at 10 a.m. Sunday.

David Axelrod, one of the event organizers, said that about 400 competitors from all around the Pacific Northwest are expected to attend. As many as 25 to 35 kids can qualify for the national event.

There are several strong local nordic skiers who have a solid shot at nationals, Axelrod said, including brother and sister Dane and Kirsten Johnson and Travis Dixon. They all happen to be good cross country runners, as well.

The 5-kilometer course for the mass start will begin on Anthony Lake, just south of the Nordic Lodge, and will join the Anthony Lakes Loop at the south end of the lake before turning at the North Lily Pad Trail meadow.

From there, the course will follow the Lily Pad, Black Lake and Lower Francie Trails before finishing at the Nordic Lodge. Sunday's freestyle race will follow a similar course.

Distances include a J3 boys and girls 3-kilometer classic/freestyle; J2 boys and girls 5-kilometer classic/ freestyle; J1/OJ/Senior/ Masters men, 10-kilometer classic/5-kilometer freestyle; J1/OJ/Senior/Masters women, 10 kilometer classic/5-kilometer freestyle.

J3 includes juniors born in 1988-89; J2 (1986-87); J1 (1984-85), OJ (1982-1983), Senior (1970-81); M1/M2 (1962-71); M3/M4 (1952-61); M5/M6 (1942-1951); M7/M8 (1932-1941); M9/M10 (1922-31).

Saturday's classic races are mass starts. Sunday's freestyle race will begin at 15-second intervals.

Bib pick-up will be at the coaches' meeting Friday and Saturday nights. Day-of-race bib pick-ups are available at the Anthony Lakes Nordic Center before 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

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