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The Observer Paper 11/26/14

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BEND Heavy snow at Mount Bachelor last weekend affected the performances of members of the Blue Mountain Nordic Team at the Skyliner Open cross country meet.

Ezra Axelrod, 15, won another pair of J2 boys races and Kirsten Johnson, 13, had another pair of second-place showings in J3 girls competition, but two other members had mixed results.

Given the lack of snow for the last couple of weeks, it was tough for us to find a good place to train before the Skyliner Open, and races proved in a number of important ways how unprepared we were, coach David Axelrod said. But we have a good training plan for the next two weeks, and we have more snow than we know what to do with, so I feel confident that well earn back a good bit of self-respect at the next race.

Dane Johnson, 16, was fifth in the J1 boys 5.5-kilometer freestyle Saturday in 16 minutes, 13.1 seconds, only 23 seconds out of first place. Travis Dixon, 16, was further back at 17:51.8.

In Sundays 13.2K race, shortened from 15K because of bad weather, Dane Johnson finished well back in 48:24 and Dixon was at 50:50.

Ezra Axelrod won Saturdays 5.5K freestyle in 17:49.8 and Sundays 4.4K classic race in 15:56.

I had no snap either day, he said, and skied at what felt like a glacial pace.

Kirsten Johnson, a La Grande Middle School seventh-grader, was second in Saturdays 3K freestyle in 16:36.9. She skied Sundays 4.4K classic race in 19:33.4, which would have been a Junior Nationals qualifying time had she been skiing in the next higher age group.

The Blue Mountain team competes next month at the Bavarian Pursuit in Leavenworth, Wash. The team will ski a sprint race and a longer classic race.


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