Canadian jumpers back

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Saturday was a sensational day to fly above downtown Steamboat Springs.

In still conditions and under bright blue skies, 46 special jumpers and Nordic combined athletes cut through the air above the K-90 jump at Howelsen Hill during the second day of the North American Jumping and Nordic Combined Junior Championships.

Canadian Stefan Read followed his Friday win on the K-114 hill with another victory on the K-90 hill.

The 16-year-old from Calgary scored 242 points and soared 97 meters in his second competitive jump, easily the top effort on the day.

"I knew it was good right when I came off the takeoff," Read said. "It was the only good jump I've had this weekend."

Read sets his standards extremely high, and though he won special jumping competitions Friday and Saturday, the aspiring Olympian wasn't completely satisfied with his performances until his final jump.

Friday and Saturday provided the athletes near ideal conditions on Howelsen Hill. An absence of wind leveled the field, forcing the competitors to get the most out of their takeoffs for maximum distance.

"It's a lot easier on the mind when conditions are the same," Read said. "Both days it was nice and soft."

And both days the Canadians and Park City, Utah-based athletes from the Intermountain Region dominated the jumping field.

In addition to Read, three other Canadians placed in the top 10 in Saturday's special jumping competition. Dominik Bafia scored 237 points on jumps measuring 92.5 and 93.5 meters to finish second.

Chris Francis was the top American with a third-place showing Saturday. On Friday, the 16-year-old special jumper from Park City was fifth overall in the K-114 event. On the K-90 hill, Francis flew 91.5 and 90.5 meters and scored 231.5 points.

"(Saturday) was better than (Friday), but I'm not satisfied until I win," Francis said.

Francis was one of three Intermountain jumpers to place in the top 10. Anders Johnson came in sixth and Skyler Keate, a Nordic combined athlete, came in seventh.

"There are so many of us that have a chance to win every day," Francis said. "It's super competitive, and we're always competing and watching each other."

Eric Camerota and his brother, Brett, members of the U.S. Nordic Combined team's development squad, placed fourth and ninth, respectively.

The Central Region's Kyle Kessler placed eighth, rounding out the top 10.

Steamboat's top finisher was Alex Miller in 18th. Davis Miller was 20th. Trevor Wert, an alpine skier as well, came in 25th. Bryan Fletcher came in 28th. Taylor Fletcher and Andy Garber were 31st and 32nd, respectively, while Kyle Lockhart was 37th and Niels Morck was 44th.

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