Donner Summit, CA — Sunny skies and close finishes marked the second day of Junior Olympics competition Wednesday at Auburn Ski Club Training Center.
Air temperatures were much warmer (in the high-30s) than during Monday’s sprint races but the snow was still firm and fast, racers said.
Although Wednesday’s distances were far greater than Monday’s sprints, several races came down to the wire.
The girl’s J2 5k race ended with Rocky Mountain teammates Hannah Smith, 15, of Crested Butte and Michaela Frias coming in back-to-back.
Smith came in first with a time of 15:54.81 and Frias a close second with a time of 15:58.42.
A few seconds back was Corey Stock of New England with a time of 16:01.11.
Smith said she and Frias skied most of the race together but she made her move on the last climb.
“I was going as hard as I could,” Smith said. “It was so fast. The snow was cold but the air temperature was warm.”
Logan Hanneman, 15, of Fairbanks, Alaska earned his second gold of the JOs taking the J2 5k race with a time of 13:36.56.
Hanneman’s teammate Isaac Lammers was second with a time of 14:05.63 edging out third-place finisher Akeo Mayfield-Carucci of Intermountain Northern.
The J1 girls’ 10k race broke the norm of close finishes when Far West skier Joanne Reid, 16, of Palo Alto took the early lead and skied the whole race by herself embellishing her lead during the second 5k lap.
Reid won the race with a time of 31:14.51, almost 45 seconds in front of second-place finisher Elizabeth Guiney of Intermountain Northern with time of 32:01.5. In third was Katie Gill, also of Intermountain, with a time of 32:25.82.
“The whole race I was in disbelief,” Reid said after winning. “I knew I had a big lead (coming into the stadium) because I was looking behind me the whole race.”
Despite the challenging course, Reid said she enjoyed herself while racing.
“I love that course. The snow was fast I had an awesome time.”
Another close finish came during the J1 boys 15k race with Alaska skier Scott Patterson edging out Pacfic Northwest Skier Erik Bjornsen by less than two seconds with a time of 38:05.97. (Bjornsen’s time was 38:07.22). George Cartwright of High Plains was third with a time of 38:24.77.
Patterson said he made his move coming out of “The Black Hole” a steep descent followed by a climb on the course.
“I was hurting really bad and I knew Erik was close behind,” Patterson said.
During the first lap of the boy’s 15k OJ race, the top 10 skiers were in a tight pack with the race spreading out on the second lap.
Chase Marston of New England crossed the finish line first with a time of 38:00.21 followed by his teammate Graham Egan just seconds behind with a time of 38:03.06.
Grahan out-sprinted Intermountain Northern skier Willie Neal by one tenth of a second. Neal was third with a time of 38:03.16.
The OJ girls 10k came down to a sprint finish as well. Becca Rorabaugh of Alaska beat second-place finisher Briana Perkins of Rocky Mountain when she lunged her ski across the line fractions of a second in front of Perkins.
Rorabaugh’s time was 31:38.54 and Perkins was 31:38.7. Far West’s hometown favorite Bernie Nelson who held onto third with a time of 32:07.87.
Rorabaugh said the lead pack skied together and took turns skiing in front. She said is usually a fast finisher but was worried at altitude.
“I wasn’t so sure if I was going to have it at the end.” Rorabaugh said. “I had good skis, a fun course and sun. It was a good day.”
For complete results go to xcjuniorolympics2009.org
Next up: Junior Olympic classic races Friday at 9 a.m.