Bits and pieces from the local sports scene:
Athletes ready to hit the rink: More than 250 athletes and their coaches, family and supporters from across Southern California, Arizona and Nevada are in Burbank for the 2011 Southwest Pacific Regional Figure Skating Championships, which began Friday and will conclude Tuesday at Pickwick Ice Arena.
The event, sanctioned by U.S. Figure Skating, is hosted by the Los Angeles Figure Skating Club.
Skaters will vie for titles in men’s and ladies divisions, for the chance to compete at the 2011 U.S. Championships in Greensboro, N.C., Jan. 22-30, or the 2011 U.S. Junior Championships in Salt Lake City, Dec. 13-18.
The road to the U.S. Championships each year, and to the Olympic Winter Games every four years, begins with the U.S. Figure Skating qualifying structure of regional and sectional events. The structure is comprised of nine regional events and three sectional events.
Skaters who place in the top four at a regional competition qualify for either a sectional (Novice, Junior and Senior levels) or the U.S. Junior Championships (Juvenile and Intermediate levels). Skaters who place in the top four at a sectional competition qualify for the U.S. Championships.
On Tuesday, champions will be crowned in the Intermediate Ladies, Intermediate Men, Novice Ladies, Novice Men, Junior Ladies, Senior Ladies and Senior Men divisions.
Nelson places first at invitational: Former Burroughs High cross-country standout Western Nelson had an impressive showing Oct. 2 at the second annual Pomona-Pitzer Cross Country Invite.
Nelson, running for CS San Marcos, won the men’s 8,000-meter race in 25 minutes 29.8 seconds. He just missed setting the course record by three seconds, as he finished ahead of Tim Aukshunas (25:42.3), who ran unattached.
Other former Indians runners, Jonathan Alpizar, who was also competing for CS San Marcos, placed 16th in 26:27.6 and teammate Dustin Blankenship was 45th in 27:29.8.
The runners helped UC San Marcos (2:11:11.80) place first in the race ahead of UC Irvine (2:13:37.70).
Locals do well in Punt, Pass and Kick competition: Two Jordan Middle School students enjoyed two top-three finishes recently in an NFL Punt, Pass and Kick competition.
Nick Phillippi and Brandon Ordonez-Rangel went to Pacific Palisades event Sept. 25 to participate in the competition after an event that was to take place in Burbank was canceled.
Ordonez-Rangel won his boys’ 12-13 age group and Phillippi placed third in the same division.
Although the two athletes are not currently playing organized football, both wanted to give the competition a try and had been practicing since July, working out four to five times a week usually at Johnny Carson Park.