Alaskans mining Jr. Olympic gold

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— Steamboat Springs cross country skier Mark Iverson raced to a seventh-place finish in Wednesday's 15-kilometer freestyle race to record his second-top 10 of the week at the Junior Olympic events in Ishpeming, Mich.

Ben Crawford led a one-two-three finish for Alaska by completing the course in a time of 40 minutes, 8.4 seconds. He was followed by teammates Charlie Renfro in second at 40:08.8 and Nate Green in third at 40:24.2.

Iverson was the top skier from the Rocky Mountain Division with a time of 41:01.5 in the 52 skier men's older junior field.

Other top Steamboat finishes came from Jessica Philip who placed tenth in the older junior women's field. She finished the 10-kilometer women's race in a time of 33:18.4.

The race was won by Kikkan Randall of Alaska in a time of 30:29.4. Tara Hamilton, also of Alaska, was second with a time of 30:38.6 and Great Lakes skier Anya Deitz was third with a time of 31:46.3.

The Rocky Mountain Division was led by Tami Kochen in fifth place overall and Philip in second. There were 36 skiers in the OJ girls division.

Steamboat's Austin Ross also recorded a 38th place finish for the Rocky Mountain Division is his first Junior Olympic appearance. He raced in the J-2 boys division which was won by Brett Bedard of New England. Bedard finished the 5-kilometer course in a time of 13:37.2. Ross's time was 15:27.9.

The 2001 USSA Junior Olympic Championships will have a break in competition today at the Suntrac Center, before resuming with the short course classical race on Friday. There will be a mixed relay race on Saturday.

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