Steamboat Springs Even in conditions so bad race officials considered calling off the event, Steamboat aerialist Tyler Saxe remained calm.
The 13-year-old, competing in his first Junior Olympics and in his first year of aerials, said his philosophy was simple.
"It was gnarly out," Saxe said of the rainy conditions that made the snow slow and sticky. "Conditions were bad, so we had to go bigger."
Saxe, who was one of three Steamboat residents competing in the 2007 Chevrolet Freestyle Junior Olympic Championships aerials event, finished in 43rd place. He said he was happy with his effort that included landing his first heli-X spread in competition.
"It was fun because there were a lot of older kids and it was fun competing with them," Saxe said. "If I make it next year, it will be a lot easier."
Steamboat's other two competitors - 13-year-olds Shaq Torrella and Stephen Wilson - both finished the day in the top 30.
Torrella finished 14th, and Wilson finished 29th.
"I was really happy with my runs. I stuck both tricks and a lot of the older kids were falling," said Wilson, who also is in his first year competing in aerials and landed a straight 720 for the first time in competition. "I was just glad I stuck both of my runs."
Junior aerial coach Lauren Mack said she was impressed with the runs and finishes of all the Steamboat aerialists, since they were some of the youngest competitors in the event.
"I was very pleased," she said. "Especially considering it was their first time ever in Junior Olympics. I think that we're going to see more of these three athletes in the future."
Matt Flesher won the men's event, scoring a 143.67. Lucas Constenius finished second with 136.09, and Dustin Schwarz finished third with 130.61.
On the women's side, Allison Lee took home top honors scoring a 120.89. Jillian Kazley finished second with 105.38, and Alicia Cavanaugh finished third with 92.83.
The Junior Olympic Championships wrap up today with the dual mogul events at 10 a.m. on the Voo Doo ski run at the ski area.
Abraham Maynard, Bo Randolph, Ryan Dyer, Scott Roche and Dalton Lee will compete for Steamboat in the men's dual moguls.
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