Aussie takes gold at Nationals

Australia native Phil McGain ran away with the Open Men's division at the U.S. Windsurfing Nationals, taking the national championship trophy for the second straight year.

McGain totaled a microscopic 6.5 points in nine course races Tuesday and Thursday at the Hood River Event Site -- 35.5 points ahead of local favorite Dale Cook, who tallied 42 points for second place. (Similar to golf, the lowest point total wins.)

Bill Weir took third place with 57 points, barely outdistancing another local windsurfing icon, Bruce Peterson, who had 63 points.

Micah Buzianuis matched McGain's dominance in the Formula competition, taking the title with an equally miniscule 12.25 points. Formula racing differs from Open because participants are limited to only three sails throughout the competition, while Open competitors have no limitations on sails or boards.

Buzianuis also won the annual sportsmanship award, given to the class winner who most exemplifies the competitive spirit of windsurfing.

His concise yet inspirational speech concluded the awards banquet Saturday night, and left everyone in attendance with good memories from this year's competition, and a positive outlook for the 2002 Nationals in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Long-time windsurfing innovator Jimmy Diaz sailed off with second place in Formula after holding off yet another Hood River favorite, Matt Pritchard, by only three points.

Five additional Formula classes competed at this year's Nationals, making Formula by far the most popular racing category. Platt Johnson won the Formula Grand Masters, followed by Guy Miller and Brian Schurton.

Local racer Bob Bauld won the Junior Grand Masters, with Vlad Moroz and Alan Prucsia finishing close behind. Jon Davies won the Masters title, holding off Jamie Torres and Adrianno Azovedo. Al Simmons won the Senior Grand Masters, followed by David Hop and Jan Hoogland. Finally, Charles Allen ran away with the Formula Senior class with 70 points.

In the Techo class -- a new racing class characterized by a uniform board size and smaller sails -- Skip Johnson took top honors, beating out Hood River local Will Harper, who introduced Techno racing to the area. Austin Topolnicki finished third.

In other racing classes, local windsurfers Nancy Johnson and Shelley Gimbal finished one-two in the Open Women's competition; Alex Aguera outlasted Mike Zajicek for first place in the Open Masters division; Don Wagner won the Open Grand Masters; Dick Tillman won the Prodigy competition -- the board currently sanctioned by the Olympics; Kieran Devanney dominated the Junior class; and Vojta Cervenka won the Imco class.

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