February 12, 2002 11:00 pm
Greg Wanta (Submitted photo).
Greg Wanta (Submitted photo).

The Blue Mountain Nordic Team finished out the pre-Junior Nationals competition period with two weeks of fruitful racing that earned two team members their second trips to Junior Nationals.

Ezra Axelrod, 15, and Dane Johnson, 16, will train at Anthony Lakes Ski Resort and in Park City, Utah, the next three weeks in preparation for the 2002 U.S. Ski Association Junior Nationals, March 4-9 in McCall, Idaho.

Both qualified over the past two weekends at cross country skiing competitions in Leavenworth, Wash., and McCall.

The McCall meet, the Intermountain Division Junior Nationals Qualifier, featured some of the top age-group skiers in the nation.

Axelrod skied among the fastest group in Sundays 5-kilometer classic race, finishing sixth overall and first among Pacific Northwest Ski Association racers in 17 minutes, 55.7 seconds.

He battled fatigue in Saturdays 5K freestyle, finishing 14th in 17:07.4.

Ezra was still in the mix, about sixth place at the high point of the course, but (he) had no revs left, said Blue Mountain coach David Axelrod. So the last two kilometers he really put down the plow.

Johnsons J1/OJ age class included the fifth-ranked junior skier in the world, and Johnson was 18th overall in Saturdays 5K freestyle. Travis Dixon, 16, was 37th in 17:07.3.

On Sunday, that pair skied a 15K World Cup classic course that included several highly technical and steep climbs. Johnson was 19th in 53:40.3 and Dixon was 30th in 58:14.6.

Im proud of both these young men, David Axelrod said. They have had to compete in a large and competitive group all season, and Dane has held his own, and even skied among the fastest in the division. Travis has steadily learned to ski better and faster. Whats important, though, is how much these two guys exceeded their own expectations.

Also in McCall, Kirsten Johnson, 13, won her age-group freestyle race in 10:46.5 and her classic race in 12:13.1.

Two skiers fell in front of me on Sunday on a steep hill, and I had to maneuver around them or risk falling myself, so I lost a lot of time, she said.

In the same age group, Maelee Morris of Cove was seventh in the freestyle in 14:40.9. She finished the classic race in 18:00.2. Sergio Morris, J5 boys, won both the 1K freestyle and classic races.

On Feb. 2-3, the team competed at the Bavarian Cup in Leavenworth. Ezra Axelrod won the J2 boys sprint heats and 5K classic, and Kirsten Johnson was second in the 3K freestyle and third in the 3K classic.

Mitey Mites finish in top three at Bluewood

DAYTON, Wash. Three members of the Anthony Lakes Ski Racing Team finished second last weekend in races at Bluewood Resort.

Logan Gomez, 7-8 girls, and Alicia Nelson, 7-younger girls, finished second in both the slalom and giant slalom at the Bluewood Blazer Mitey Mite Classic Race. Avery Smith, 9-10 boys, was second in the giant slalom.

Anthony Lakes entered 20 racers ages 5 to 12 and competed against about 75 others from McCall and Bluewood.

Greg Wanta, 9-10 boys; Dakota Jenkins, 7-younger boys; and Jackie Wanta, 7-younger girls were third in Saturdays slalom. Jackie Wanta and Jenkins were also third in the giant slalom, as was Griff Schireman, 9-10 boys.

The team competes this weekend at the Mitey Mite 4-Way Race in McCall, which will feature slalom, giant slalom, cross country and jumping.

Bluewood Blazer Mitey Mite Classic

At Dayton, Wash.

Giant slalom, Sunday

7-younger boys 3, Dakota Jenkins, 1:39.71.

7-8 boys 4, Mark Voboril, 1:22.29; 5, Alex Johnson, 1:24.72; 7, Collin Hessel, 1:30.54; 8, Travis Hessel, 1:33.65.

9-10 boys 2, Avery Smith, 1:04.42; 3, Griff Schireman, 1:05.84; 4, Greg Wanta, 1:06.22; 5, Jarrod Maxwell, 1:07.50; 11, Richard Mills, 1:17.32.

11-12 boys 13, Jackson Clarke, 1:11.53; 15, Sam Gates, 1:12.83; 17, Alex Newman, 1:15.45; 18, Derek Newman, 1:17.05; 20, Michael Wanta, 1:32.04.

7-younger girls 2, Alicia Nelson, 1:37.14; 3, Jackie Wanta, 1:47.74.

7-8 girls 2, Logan Gomez, 1:40.50.

11-12 girls 10, Robbie Maxwell, 1:14.36.

Slalom, Saturday

7-younger boys 3, Dakota Jenkins, 2:15.33.

7-8 boys 4, Alex Johnson, 2:11.12; 5, Collin Hessel, 2:18.67; 6, Mark Voboril, 2:20.50; 8, Travis Hessel, 3:06.81.

9-10 boys 2, Greg Wanta, 1:44.53; 4, Griff Schireman, 1:45.72; 5, Avery Smith, 1:46.25; 8, Richard Mills, 2:09.88; 9, Jarrod Maxwell, 2:11.91.

11-12 boys 8, Michael Wanta, 1:38.96; 13, Jackson Clarke, 1:45.47; 18, Derek Newman, 1:54.71; 20, Alex Newman, 2:02.90; 21, Sam Gates, 2:24.41.

7-younger girls 2, Alicia Nelson, 2:31.93; 3, Jackie Wanta, 2:41.55.

7-8 girls 2, Logan Gomez, 2:37.75.

9-10 girls 6, Shelby Miller, 1:56.00.

11-12 girls 6, Robbie Maxwell, 1:49.50.