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Archive for January, 2015

2015 Nationals in Greensboro: [updated] Congrats to all the medalists!

Posted by unseenskaters on January 18, 2015

The 2015 U.S. Figure Skating Championships got underway on Saturday, January 17, in Greensboro, North Carolina, and here is a list of all twelve JUVENILE medalists, plus links to articles and photos so far.

JUVENILE GIRLS Medalists:
GOLD: Sophia Chouinard, Panthers FSC (FL)
SILVER: Emilia Murdock, SC of New York
BRONZE: Jacqueline Lee, All Year FSC (CA)
PEWTER: Isabella Miller, Murray Silver Blades FSC (UT)

JUVENILE BOYS Medalists:
GOLD: Daniel Turchin, Skokie Valley SC (IL)
SILVER: Chase Finster, Louisville SA (KY)
BRONZE: Joseph Kang, Univ. of Delaware FSC
PEWTER: Henry Privett-Mendoza, Pasadena FSC (CA)

JUVENILE PAIRS Medalists:
GOLD: Altice Sollazo / Paul Yeung, All Year FSC (CA)
SILVER: Paige Ruggeri, Garden State SC / Steven Rossi, North Jersey FSC (NJ)
BRONZE: Dana Vulaj / Keyton Bearinger, Detroit SC (MI)
PEWTER: Jessica Sassano / Ethan Hall, Winterhurst FSC (OH)

JUVENILE DANCE Medalists:
GOLD: Elizabeth Tkachenko / Alexei Kiliakov, Washington FSC (MD)
SILVER: Byrdee Darling / Rebel Rogriguez Avellan, Memorial FSC of Houston (TX)
BRONZE: Juliette Shadid / Lucas Shadid, All Year FSC (CA)
PEWTER: Jordan Lin / Morgan Sletten, Washington FSC (MD)

Click here to read Icenetwork’s Juvenile recap article by Renee Felton

Florida native Sophia Chouinard was the first champion crowned at the 2015 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, and it was a moment filled with firsts for Chouinard — a win at her first U.S. championships and, with a segment total of 52.81, her first score over 50 points.
Chouinard placed third at Eastern Sectionals, and she and her coach Artem Torgashev — whose son is Andrew Torgashev, the 2014 U.S. novice pewter medalist who will compete at the junior level later this week — weren’t sure where she would end up based on her finish at that competition in November.
“I wanted to win here, but I wasn’t quite sure what would happen,” she said. “To win means a lot to me because this is what I have wanted since I started skating four years ago.”
As for Torgashev, his expectations were perhaps more tempered.
“That was unexpected,” he said. “I was hoping for a strong finish but wasn’t sure of the win.”
Based on Chouinard’s approach to training, however, he knew she had the goods to deliver.
“That was one of the best performances, and score-wise it was the best for her,” he said. “From her training, that’s a usual performance, and it was very good today in competition. We see it every day, so what happened today didn’t surprise us much.”
Joining Chouinard on the juvenile girls podium were Emilia Murdock (silver), who improved on her fourth-place finish at Eastern Sectionals, Jacqueline Lee (bronze) and Isabella Miller (pewter).
Daniel Turchin upped his gold-medal-winning score at Midwestern Sectionals by about three points to win the juvenile boys title in close fashion over Chase Finster (silver), Joseph Kang (bronze) and Henry Privett-Mendoza (pewter).
Turchin acknowledged that his double Axel was the key to his podium-topping performance.
“I didn’t think it was my best, but it wasn’t my worst,” he said. “My double Axel was a bit sloppy, but in the end, if you can keep it together at the end of each jump, you’ll be successful. If I didn’t do my double Axel, I don’t think I would’ve been up on the podium.”
The top three finishers attempted the double Axel with varied success. Turchin lost 0.43 points on his, Finster fell on his attempt, and Kang earned the base value of 3.30 points.
The force was with Altice Sollazo and Paul Yeung, as their Star Wars-themed free skate clinched them the juvenile pairs title with 39.12 points. Yeung hardly had a moment to celebrate, as he raced off the ice after the medals ceremony to head to his intermediate men’s warm-up.
“I like the speed of our jumps going in, and our unison seems to be very good, like in the double flip, double Lutz and double toe,” Yeung said. “Trying to get on the podium was the goal.”
The team of two years has made significant strides since last season, when they missed out on competing at the U.S. championships after failing to get through sectionals.
The rest of the pairs podium consisted of a trio of newly formed teams. Paige Ruggeri and Steven Rossi narrowly finished in second place, followed by Dana Vulaj and Keyton Bearinger, and Jessica Sassano and Ethan Hall.
While three of four juvenile free skates were contested Saturday, the juvenile dancers still have the free dance to go Sunday. The teams performed two pattern dances for the judges, the Fiesta Tango and Willow Waltz.
The dance competition features several teams from the Washington Figure Skating Club, a program gaining notoriety over the last few years for its program created by Alexei Kiliakov, Elena Novak and Dmitri Ilin.
Skill on the ice apparently runs in the Kiliakov family, as Alexei, Jr., and his partner, Elizabeth Tkachenko, lead after the pattern dance with 47.86 points. Now in their fourth season together, the skaters — both of whom are younger than 10 — look to improve on their fifth-place finish from a year ago.
“This year, we want to get first, second or third,” Tkachenko said. “To do that, we have to show presentation. If we have any mistakes, we need to keep going like nothing happened and show what we can do.”
They take a seven-point lead into tomorrow’s free dance, in which they’ll skate to The Nutcracker.
Also from the Washington area, Jordan Lin and Morgan Sletten are in second place and hope to celebrate Sletten’s 10th birthday later this week with a U.S. medal. Rounding out the top three were the Texas-based Byrdee Darling and Rebel Rodriguez Avellan with 38.89 points.

From Intermediate Day 2 article by Michael Terry:

Tkachenko, Kiliakov take juvenile dance crown
A late fall in their free dance couldn’t stop Elizabeth Tkachenko and Alexei Kiliakov from winning the juvenile dance title.
Leading by nearly nine points heading into the free dance, Tkachenko and Kiliakov earned 87.50 points — almost seven more than runners-up Byrdee Darling and Rebel Rodriguez — for their Nutcracker program.
“I think our compulsories really helped us out coming into today,” Kiliakov said. “From here, we just want to get higher and higher scores.”
Darling and Rodriguez, third after the pattern dances, put together the best free dance of the day. They earned a score of 41.80 for their Pirates of the Caribbean routine en route to a second-place finish.
Siblings Juliette Shadid and Lucas Shadid placed third, earning a total score of 77.32.
“It feels good,” Lucas said. “We had a good skate. We nailed the twizzles and the spin, and that was our main priority.”
Although they’ve been skating together for four years, this was the Shadids’ first competitive season. Juliette credits their coach for a lot of their success.
“Our coach, Vitaly Novikov, has been with us for four years, and he really helps us a lot,” Juliette said. “He knows all the key points and how to get us where we need to be.”
Jordan Lin and Morgan Sletten, second after the pattern dances, finished fourth.

Click here to view Icenetwork’s Saturday action photo gallery

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INTERMEDIATE LADIES Medalists:
GOLD: Kassandra Carpentier, Colonial FSC
SILVER: Maxine Marie Bautista, DuPage FSC
BRONZE: Gia Kokotakis, All Year FSC
PEWTER: Ting Cui, Baltimore FSC

INTERMEDIATE MEN Medalists:
GOLD: TJ Nyman, Space Coast Ice Plex FSC
SILVER: Dinh Tran, SC of San Francisco
BRONZE: Alan Wong, Dallas FSC
PEWTER: Ryan Dunk, Baltimore FSC

INTERMEDIATE PAIRS Medalists:
GOLD: Ellie Kopmar / Jonah Barrett, Southwest Florida FSC
SILVER: Sydney Cooke / Nathaniel Dennler, Colonial FSC
BRONZE: Joanna & William Hubbart, Tampa Bay FSC
PEWTER: Jasmine & Joshua Fendi, Los Angeles FSC

INTERMEDIATE DANCE Medalists:
GOLD: Sophia & Christopher Elder, Louisville Skating Academy
SILVER: Jillian Moyer, All Year FSC / Jarred Druzynski, La Jolla FSC
BRONZE: Molly Cesanek, Washington FSC / Maxwell Gart, Charter Oak FSC
PEWTER: Cherri Chen, Washington FSC / Edward Jahoda, Gardens FSC of Maryland

Click here to read Icenetwork’s Intermediate Day 2 recap article by Michael Terry

TJ Nyman needs to find room in his trophy case for some more hardware.
A year after winning the 2014 U.S. juvenile men’s title, Nyman claimed the intermediate men’s gold medal Sunday at the 2015 U.S. Figure Skating Championships with a total score of 104.70. Nyman led wire to wire, putting together the competition’s best short program (37.35 points) and free skate (67.35).
“I wasn’t super pleased with my skating, but I got by,” Nyman said. “Another year, another title. I guess I’ll go for my third next year.
“I love being at U.S. championships. I love the way it’s set up. I love all of the people that came to watch. The bigger the crowd, the bigger and better I skate.”
Dinh Tran won the silver medal, putting together solid skates in both phases of the competition. Skating his free to music from Man of La Mancha, he landed 10 jumps, including three combinations.
“I’m pretty happy with how I skated,” Tran said. “I could do better. There’s always room for perfection. I had fun, though. I was nervous, but once I got out on the ice, I had a good time.”
Alan Wong got on the podium after entering the free skate in fifth. Overcoming two falls, Wong earned 55.08 points for his free skate, giving him a total score of 89.50. Ryan Dunk captured the pewter medal.
In the intermediate ladies competition, Kassandra Carpentier followed her first-place short program with a strong free skate, set to Notre Dame de Paris, to win the gold medal.
“I just wanted to do my best,” Carpentier said. “I knew that I just had to do what I did in practice and show the judges what I could do. Even if I had skated my best and gotten last, it still would have been a great accomplishment.
“This is everything that I had hoped it would be. This has been an amazing experience.”
Maxine Marie Bautista collected her second silver medal in as many years, charging back from a seventh-place short program. Skating her free to “Over the Rainbow,” she landed all 10 of her jumps and totaled 75.10 points for the segment, ending with 105.84 for the competition.
“This just feels really good,” Bautista said. “All of the hardwork that I’ve put in has paid off.”
Skating to music from Romeo and Juliet, Gia Kokotakis finished third after notching the second-best short program (35.93) and third-best free skate (63.50).
“There’s no medal for the short program, so when you can go out in the free skate and do well again, it’s a lot harder,” Kokotakis said. “Of course, that’s why everyone loved juvenile so much: one and done.”
Kokotakis, who finished with a total score of 99.43, echoed the sentiments of many other skaters when talking about skating in front of such a large crowd.
“With the crowd as big as it was, I really focused on my artistry and energy, and it felt so good to hear the loud applause.”
Ting Cui finished fourth with a total score of 95.30.

Click here to read Icenetwork’s Intermediate Day 1 recap article by Renee Felton

The Fendi twins are poised to take their second U.S. pairs title after the opening day of competition at the 2015 U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Saturday. Jasmine and Joshua, Southern California residents and Peter Oppegard’s pupils, have a narrow lead over training mates (and fellow twins) Greta Crafoord and John Crafoord.
The reigning U.S. juvenile champs, Jasmine and Joshua earned 34.48 points for their Felicia short program. Their mark is only 0.24 points over that of the Crafoords.
“One and two, not bad, huh?” Oppegard said after the event. “I’ve enjoyed both teams so much, both are great pairs of kids and push each other, and it’s so fun to see them work together and kind of motivate each other secretly and kind of quietly to best their last performance. It’s exciting.”
As for the Fendis, their veteran coach acknowledged that moving between levels is a hard task and he’s happy with how they’ve risen to the task.
“It’s exciting because what I prepared them for was to try and be top six in a new event,” Oppegard said. “It’s so difficult to move up and be competitive your first year so I’m really proud of what they’ve done.”
The Crafoords are in a familiar position behind their training mates. They finished right behind the Fendis at the 2015 Pacific Sectional Championships and the 2014 U.S. Championships. However, the newly turned 14-year-olds don’t lack confidence.
“I think we are more confident in how we are presenting our programs,” Greta said. “We work hard on the programs and practice them very hard and know them in our sleep.”
There will be little room for error in Monday’s free skate as the top five teams are separated by just 2.5 points.
Siblings reigned supreme Saturday as another team, Sophia Elder and Christopher Elder, easily won the intermediate pattern dance by over seven points. Fifth place in this category last year, the Elders are motivated to take gold.
“We’re here to win,” Christopher said. “We weren’t really happy with last year’s result, so we decided to put it behind us and work really hard for this year.”
They are in gold medal position over Cherri Chan and Edward Jahoda, the reigning juvenile bronze medalists. And while the cushion is big, Chan and Jahoda also have gold on their minds.
“This year, we’re definitely aiming for first place,” she said. “We just need to skate clean and I think we’ve got a shot.”
Jillian Moyer and Jarred Druzynski sit in third place with 38.40 points going into Monday’s free dance.
Like Jasmine and Joshua, TJ Nyman hopes to become the intermediate [men’s] champion a year after taking the juvenile title. The Florida-by-way-of-England athlete skated to Satan Takes a Holiday and earned 37.35 points. While it was a good skate, the 14-year-old said his real strength lies in his free skate.
“I won sectionals,” he said. “My short program wasn’t that good. My free skate was pretty good; [the score] was higher than regionals. It was a minor difference but still. There was a mistake at sectionals with my double Axel sequence and I improved my score, so I feel confident going into my free skate.”
Nyman will face off with the other medal conteders, including Dinh Tran, Luke Ferrante and Ryan Dunk in Sunday’s free skate.
In the nightcap, Kassandra Carpentier sailed to a [ladies’]short program victory with a 40-point performance to “When You Wish Upon a Star.” She blew away her Eastern Sectionals score of 32.35 (where she would go on to win with an eight-point free skate victory) and takes a nearly five-point cushion into the free skate.
“I think I did really well, but I did what I do every day in practice, so it wasn’t a huge surprise,” she said. “Skating in this arena is really nice. It’s a much bigger rink so you really have to push, but I was really excited to get out on the ice and skate.”
The Eastern section is well represented at the top of the intermediate ladies leaderboard with three of its four representatives in the top four. Ting Cui and Lara Annunziata are third and fourth, respectively, while Gia Kokotakis — who hails from southern California — is in second.

Click here to view Icenetwork’s Saturday action photo gallery

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NOVICE LADIES Medalists:
GOLD: Emily Chan, Dallas FSC
SILVER: Akari Nakahara, All Year FSC
BRONZE: Nina Ouellette, St. Moritz ISC
PEWTER: Anna Grace Davidson, Salt Lake FS

NOVICE MEN Medalists:
GOLD: Jonah Barrett, Southwest Florida FSC
SILVER: Justin Ly, Salt Lake FS
BRONZE: Kendrick Weston, Salt Lake FS
PEWTER: Daniil Shamis, All Year FSC

NOVICE PAIRS Medalists:
GOLD: Kate Finster, Louisville SA / Eric Hartley, Queen City FSC
SILVER: Sarah Rose / Joseph Goodpaster, Southwest Florida FSC
BRONZE: Jacquelyn Green, Detroit SC / Rique Newby-Estrella, Dallas FSC
PEWTER: Vanessa Chen, Peninsula SC / Robert Przepioski, Rochester FSC

NOVICE DANCE Medalists:
GOLD: Caroline & Gordon Green, Washington FSC
SILVER: Katherine Grosul / Cameron Colucci, Philadelphia SC & HS
BRONZE: Emma Gunter / Caleb Wein, Washington FSC
PEWTER: Rebecca Lustig, Univ. of Delaware FSC / Zachary Milestone, Princeton SC

Click here to read Icenetwork’s Novice Ladies FS article by Lynn Rutherford

Experience paid golden dividends for Emily Chan, who won the novice ladies crown at the 2015 U.S. figure skating championships with a mature and relaxed free skate that helped her eclipse the field by nearly 15 points.
Skating to the romantic “Meditation from Thais,” the 17-year-old Texan wove a near-perfect spell from start to finish, opening with two solid jump combinations. She also gained Level 4 on all three of her spins. While her triples, including a toe loop and Salchow, were not the most difficult of the event, her program components score (48.55 points) was by far the highest. Chan earned 98.28 points for her free and, combined with her winning short program, ended the event with 149.25 points.
Victory was sweet after placing ninth in novice last season and sixth in 2013.
“I felt like I performed it well and the audience felt my emotions when I skated,” Chan said. “For me, this is a stepping stone. I’m really excited to go junior next season and work harder and have more jumps.”
Chan, who is also competing in novice pairs with Misha Mitrofanov, has been carefully budgeting her time the past few days.
“I have to mentally switch over from pairs to singles, from morning to afternoon,” she said. “It’s been a challenge but I really enjoy doing both.”
Olga Ganicheva and Aleksey Letov, who coach Chan at the Dr. Pepper StarCenter in Plano, added that Chan plans to compete as a junior next season.
“We finished novice very strong; that’s what was planned,” Ganicheva said. “Now she can start a strong career in junior and senior. She has a triple toe-triple toe combination, and triple flip and loop. She needs to learn Lutz.”
“The jumps have to be more consistent, and we are just going to put them into the program,” Letov said.
Akari Nakahara, a 12-year-old Southern California, did five triples in her free skate to music from Hisaishi’s Spirited Away soundtrack, including a solid opening triple flip. Her spins and step sequences were stellar, and the diminutive skater earned 90.65 points and won the silver medal with a 134.63 total.
“I think I tried hard throughout the whole program,” Nakahara said. “But I still had a few bobbles. I could always do better.”
“For her first time at this level, and skating last and waiting, she kept her composure and handled everything well,” said Angela Nikodinov, who coaches Nakahara with her husband, Ivan Dinev. “She basically went out and did what she does on a daily basis in practice. She didn’t let herself get overwhelmed by the excitement and emotion.”
It is a comeback of sorts for Nakahara, who placed fifth in intermediate in her sectionals last season and missed qualifying for the U.S. junior championships.
“Everything happens for a reason, and I think it was a blessing in disguise,” Nikodinov said. “She went home and she was so motivated to start working on those triples. It wasn’t good at the moment but it was good at the end.”
Nakahara is already looking forward to competing in the junior ranks next season.
“I want to work on triple-triple combos and maybe triple Axel,” she said.
The bronze medal went to yet another California skater, Nina Ouellette, who trains in Oakland with Diana Miro and Justin Dillon.
The 12-year-old hit the most difficult combination of the event, a triple Lutz-double toe, as well as a solid triple toe loop and a triple Salchow-double toe. Her only major flaw was popping another intended triple Salchow into a single. She was third in the free skate and third overall with 128.55 points.
“It was definitely not my best, but besides the triple Salchow, I’m okay with it,” Ouellette said. “I liked how I landed three triples, which I couldn’t do in the beginning of the season. I’m proud of myself for that.”
Dillon choreographed her free to selections from Danny Elfman’s Alice in Wonderland soundtrack as well as We3Kings’ “Red Queen.”
“She is the playing the red queen, and the whole portrayal kind of morphs from being powerful and aggressive and landing her elements, to then trying to bring out that character,” Dillon said. “It’s so helpful when skaters are young to give them strong characters to portray.”
Like the other two medalists, Ouellette plans to move up to junior next season.
“It will push her to work harder to improve and get the higher-level elements,” Miro said.
“I’ll be working on triple loops, and my edges and triple-triples,” said Ouellette.
Anna Grace Davidson, fourth after the short, held that position after landing three triples in her free skate to music from Cats. The highlight of her program was a showy step sequence that played to the crowd.
“I could have done better, but I was happy with it,” the 14-year-old said. “I was trying to get into it and enjoy it.”
Lisa Kriley, who coaches Davidson in Salt Lake City, thinks the performance is a major milestone for her skater.
“She was intermediate champion (in 2013), and she wasn’t able to compete for almost two years,” Kriley said. “She was dealing with Osgood-Schlatter disease (a painful knee condition) and other injuries. I’m so happy for her getting back out there and doing so well in novice.”

Click here to read Icenetwork’s Novice Men’s FS article by Lynn Rutherford

To Jonah Barrett, who won his second gold medal in Greensboro on Tuesday at the 2015 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, the strains of Leonard Bernstein’s “Maria” are the most beautiful sounds he’s ever heard.
After placing third in novice men’s at Eastern Sectionals, Barrett and his coaches decided to scrap his free skate to Mansell’s “Requiem for a Tower” in favor of one set to the love ballad from West Side Story. The move paid off: “Maria” inspired him to land four solid triple jumps, including a loop and a spread eagle into a triple Salchow combination. The near-clean program lifted him from third after the short program to the top of the podium with 142.48 points.
“I love the piece so much, it makes it so much easier to skate,” said Barrett, who turns 18 on Jan. 28. “It feels like a show program. It goes by so quickly. I feel like I’m doing an exhibition now, not a novice free.”
Barrett’s flexibility — his combination spin included both a Biellmann, as well as an I-spin — is astounding, especially for a man who also competes in pairs. Barrett and his partner, Elli Kopmar, won the intermediate pairs title on Monday.
“When I was 8 years old, I went to a gymnastics coach, and she gave me stretches to follow,” Barrett said. “I’ve done them five or six days every week since then. Since I took up pairs, it has been more difficult to maintain, especially in the back for the Biellmann. But it’s reasonably easy to keep going.”
Jim Peterson, who along with Lyndon Johnston and Amanda Evora trains Barrett in Ellenton, Florida, thinks Barrett’s spins prove a slightly larger skater can still be flexible.
“We have to be careful for (pairs) lifting; sometimes the lift can go a little far back, or far forward,” Peterson said. “So we’re working aggressively on strengthening his core, as well as maintaining the flexibility. I think it’s nice to see a guy skater with a man’s body, who is still able to be flexible.”
Barrett began training in Ellenton about a year ago after his previous coach, Priscilla Hill, retired from coaching.
“He came to me one day and said, ‘I want to do pairs,'” Johnston said. “I said OK, but I want you also to keep your singles going. Amanda worked with him to pass the pairs tests, but I made sure he continued his singles.”
The skater’s costume — simple gray pants and short-sleeved shirt — was lucky for the Ellenton group once before: Nate Bartholomay wore it when he and Felicia Zhang performed their free skate to West Side Story at the 2013 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, where they won bronze.
Barrett intends to compete in both novice pairs and junior men’s next season.
Justin Ly, who led after the short, showed fine musicality in his dramatic free to Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake that included a spread eagle series into a double Axel, and a triple Lutz-double toe combination. He lost ground when he fell on a triple loop, but still won the silver medal with 139.56 points.
“I was a little shaky throughout the program, but I fought for everything,” Ly, 17, said. “It was definitely an improvement over last year. Last year, I made it to nationals and I got last, so I will definitely take second.”
Ly, who trains in Salt Lake City under Lisa Kriley, plans to move up to junior next season, where he hopes to add to his jump repertoire.
“I want to put my other two triples — toe and flip — in my programs,” he said. “The toe should be the easiest to tack on to other jumps.”
Another Kriley student, 14-year-old Kendrick Weston, won bronze with a solid performance to music from The Expendables soundtrack that included two triple toes and a triple Salchow, all of which covered good distance. Weston showed off a clean, uncluttered style, but lost points when he doubled an intended triple flip. He finished with 133.20 points.
“I thought it went pretty well,” Weston said. “I don’t like being super fancy. I kind of like keeping it simple.”
Weston is undecided on whether to move up to juniors, but plans to work on his spins and choreography next season. He will also focus on making his triple flip more consistent.
“He had the flip most of the summer and for the challenge skate in September, but then he grew, so we’re dealing with that a little bit,” Kriley said. “We will get it back. He also rotates triple Lutz.”
Daniil Shamis, a student of Tammy Gambill and Justin Dillon in Riverside, California, was fourth with 131.16 points. He landed three clean triples, but fell on a triple toe late in his program.
The 13-year-old was born in Moscow and moved to California with his family about a year ago. Previously, he had visited the U.S. frequently.
“There are fewer skaters at my rink in Riverside, but they are better than in Moscow, so I really like it,” Shamis said.

Click here to read Icenetwork’s Novice Pairs FS article by Troy Schwindt

Kate Finster walked off the ice Wednesday afternoon clutching a large, stuffed panda bear. It was thrown onto the ice following her novice pairs triumph with partner Eric Hartley at the 2015 U.S. Figure Skating Championships.
“Panda bears are just amazing,” said the 11-year-old dynamo, who with Hartley, 16, rallied from third place after the short program to claim the title with 112.91 points.
The first-year team, which trains in Colorado Springs, Colorado, under coaches John Coughlin and Dalilah Sappenfield, hit a snag in the short program when Finster failed to perform her part of a combination spin.
Instead of letting the mistake linger, Finster and Hartley came out determined and relaxed in their free skate to La Strada by Rota, performing a nearly flawless program, which included an opening Level 4 double twist and positive Grades of Execution (GOEs) on all but one element. They also earned the highest program component marks.
“That’s something that Dalilah preaches to her little kids all the way up to the seniors,” Coughlin said. “Each program is its own individual event, so put the short program behind you and go out and commit to that free skate.”
The new team had been training the program well, something Sappenfield reminded them of before they stepped on the ice.
“We just said go out and have fun and do what you’ve trained, just another run-through,” she said. “They were both calm today and just competed.”
The program featured Finster’s playful nature, and the timing of the couple’s interaction generated a good-natured response from the audience.
“At the beginning of the season, we showed them their score and their technical score was clearly trending toward being competitive at the national level, but we knew this event would probably be won or lost with the component score,” Coughlin said. “Teaching them the value of that throughout the season was really our goal from the start.
“Robert Mauti, their choreographer, was very clever in the way he constructed this,” he continued. “It’s challenging sometimes to find something youthful that they can relate to, and he’s been brilliant with it.”
Another first-year team, Sarah Rose and Joseph Goodpaster, from the Southwest Florida FSC in Ellenton, rallied from sixth place after the short program to earn the silver medal with 109.66 points.
They performed their free skate to music from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, putting out a program that was simply sensational.
“Harry Potter is one of my favorite movies, so just playing him within the skating is like my peanut butter and jelly,” Goodpaster said. “It’s the two best things you can think of to combine. Once the character got into play, it was amazing.”
“I enjoy acting out Hermione, and it was a lot more fun to be clean on top of that with a solid performance,” Rose said.
Clean is right. Each of their 11 elements received positive GOEs, including a Level 4 lift and a Level 4 spin.
Coach Jim Peterson is excited about his young team.
“Her lift positions are junior level; our twist was great today — big, high,” Peterson said. “I like the flow out of the throws. I was watching element to element, because at this level you don’t know what you are going to get. They were solid and I could tell they had the look in their eyes before they took the ice.”
Peterson added that the Harry Potter theme really fit the team.
“He’s kind of a science nerd, so it kind of works for him,” Peterson said. “We watched the movies. We made sure the costumes were very close to what was being shown in the books and movies. I like to take my programs and make them sort of reality on the ice, with a very strong theme.”
Fifth after the short program, Jacquelyn Green and Rique Newby-Estrella climbed on to the podium with their dramatic free skate to music from the movie Rudy.
Their score of 106.26 earned the first-year team a bronze medal.
“They have strong skating fundamentals; they have strong jumps,” said Ethan Burgess, who coaches the team with Craig Joeright at the Detroit Skating Club. “They can do the throws. As the months have gone by, they’ve gotten better and better — and stronger and stronger — so I think we are going to have a good, solid junior year next year and for years to come.”
In their free skate, the duo landed their nemesis throw — the throw triple Salchow.
“We’ve been struggling a bit with the throw triple Salchow,” Joeright said. “It’s not like she hasn’t landed it — it’s been a gorgeous throw all year. In competition, we’ve had some issues where we’ve popped it, or did a single or didn’t even attempt it. So this was the first time all year that she went for it. It was a gorgeous throw, so I jumped about six feet in the air when she landed it. It was pretty amazing.”
Newby-Estrella was happy with the overall result.
“We pushed everything out; we went for everything,” Newby-Estrella said. “It wasn’t perfect, but I’m happy with the way things went.”
Green said she’s fallen in love with pairs skating and enjoys competing with Newby-Estrella.
“He’s such a great partner and helps calm nerves,” she said.
“I love doing the throws,” she added. “It’s so much fun.”
Vanessa Chen and Robert Przepioski, another first-year team, claimed the pewter medal with 105.05 points.
“Our number-one goal was to get here and be in the top half and skate two good programs,” their choreographer, Doug Mattis, said. “It was their first time at nationals and you never know what is going to happen. Nerves can often take over, but they really did two great numbers, and we are very encouraged going forward.”
Chen, 14, and Przepioski, 25, train in San Jose under coach Richard Alexander and Mattis. They performed their free skate to a medley of Motown music.
“They worked very hard,” Alexander said. “I’m so proud of them. Now they will have the experience.”

Click here to read Icenetwork’s Novice FD article by Mimi Whetstone

Caroline Green and Gordon Green, the brother-sister duo from the ice dance hotbed in Rockville/Wheaton, Maryland, won the novice title at the 2015 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, marking their third title in three years at three different levels.
The siblings entered the free dance more than seven points ahead of their competitors and went on to win the gold by a 10.27-point margin. Their final performance, set to music from The Addams Family and Addams Family Values soundtracks, earned 66.05 points and featured two Level 4 lifts and a Level 4 combination spin.
Although they took the ice with a mature confidence, the Greens needed some convincing when they were first approached about the music selection.
“Our coaches suggested it, but honestly, we didn’t like it much at first,” Gordon said. “Then we saw a pairs team in the Olympics (silver medalists Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov of Russia) skate to that music, and we really saw what you could do with it.”
“After watching their performance, we saw how fun it looked to perform,” Caroline added. “We’re happy our coaches had suggested it, and we’re glad we decided to use it.”
The Greens, who won the juvenile title in 2013 and the intermediate title in 2014, added to their impressive collection of hardware with a combined 111.30 points.
Katherine Grosul and Cameron Colucci showed great determination in earning silver, with 101.03 total points. They fought their way up the standings, finishing seventh in the first pattern dance (Starlight Waltz), sitting in fourth after the second pattern dance (paso doble) and wrapping up the competition with a second-place showing in the free.
“I think we had a clean skate today,” Colucci said. “We did well on our footwork, and I’m happy we got through it. We always work hard and hope that it pays off, and I think we showed how hard we can work here.”
Grosul and Colucci’s Swing Kids free dance was filled with charm and pizazz, and featured three Level 4 elements, including a set of synchronized twizzles that earned positive Grades of Execution across the board. The 2014 U.S. intermediate silver medalists, who train in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, under the direction of Slava Uchitel, earned 35.86 points for their technical elements.
In third place, Emma Gunter and Caleb Wein earned 61.23 points for their free dance, set to music from the ballet Coppélia. The duo, who train with the Greens under coaches Alexei Kiliakov, Elena Novak and Dmitri Ilin, earned a combined 98.19 points, marking their second consecutive bronze at the U.S. championships (they finished third in intermediate last season).
Rounding out the novice podium, Rebecca Lustig and Zachary Milestone placed fourth with 95.70 points.

Click here to read Icenetwork’s Novice Ladies SP article by Lynn Rutherford

For Emily Chan, the third time just might be the charm.
The 17-year-old Texan, who placed ninth in novice last season and sixth in 2013, won Sunday night’s short program at the 2015 U.S. Championships with a clean, relaxed performance that earned 50.97 points, enough for a 3.74-point lead heading into Monday’s free skate.
“I try to just skate because I love it, and not try to win or focus on skating perfect,” Chan said. “I try to do what I do in practice and not overthink it, and that really helped.”
Chan didn’t hit the event’s toughest jumps, but her triple toe loop-double toe loop combination and triple Salchow were high and smoothly landed, and her double Axel was one of the biggest of the night. She brought musicality and maturity to her quirky choreography, set to “Carousels” from Cirque du Soleil.
“It’s a circus piece, and my character is a mime or a doll,” Chan said. “When I become a character, it makes me feel less nervous and happy when I skate.”
Olga Ganicheva, who coaches Chan with her husband, Aleksey Letov, at Plano’s Dr. Pepper StarCenter, choreographed the routine.
“Emily did amazing, I think,” Ganicheva said. “She felt the music and her character. She was relaxed and beautiful. This is the way she trains.”
The teenager is doing double duty in Greensboro. She will also compete in novice pairs with partner Misha Mitrofanov.
“She works hard; she is self-motivated, self-disciplined,” Ganicheva said. “Her success is the result of hard work every day.”
Nina Ouellette, a 12-year-old from Northern California, landed a triple Lutz-double toe combination and triple Salchow in a dynamic program set to Hiromitsu’s percussive “Curfew,” choreographed by her coach, Justin Dillon, and three-time U.S. champion Johnny Weir.
Ouellette showed special finesse in a fast and fluid step sequence, hitting every beat in her music and punctuating her moves with a strong double Axel before closing with a superb Level 4 combination spin. She takes 47.23 points into the free skate.
Another 12-year-old, Akari Nakahara, sits third after a charming program to Puccini’s aria “O Mio Babbino Caro,” highlighted by a lilting step sequence and spectacular spins, including a layback to fully stretched Biellmann.
The diminutive skater had some of the evening’s most difficult transitions into jumps, including a spread eagle into a triple Salchow, but was unable to complete a combination. Still, she sits third with 43.98 points.
“We changed my music after sectionals, it was without vocals (before),” Nakahara said. “I think I could have skated better, but I’m happy with the result.”
“We thought adding vocals would give it a little more kick and help her express herself a little bit more,” said Angela Nikodinov, who coaches Nakahara in the Los Angeles area with her husband, Ivan Dinev. “It was a great skate for her. She is a very consistent skater and a hard worker. It’s nice to see it all come together at the end of the season when it really counts.”
Anna Grace Davidson of Salt Lake City is fourth with 40.82 points heading into the free skate, closely followed by Boston’s Jin Baseman with 40.71 points.

Click here to read Icenetwork’s Novice Men’s SP article by Lynn Rutherford

Two Salt Lake City skaters trained by Lisa Kriley finished one-two in the men’s short program Monday afternoon at the 2015 U.S. Figure Skating Championships and stand just 0.60 points apart heading into Tuesday’s free skate.
Skating to Giovanni Hidalgo’s arrangement of George Gershwin’s “Summertime,” Justin Ly recovered from a bobble on the landing of his triple loop to hit a triple Lutz-double toe loop combination and solid double Axel.
The 17-year-old shined in his spins, including a change sit spin in low “pancake” positions and an interesting closing combination spin featuring illusion and broken leg sit spin positions. Both spins gained Level 4, and Ly takes 47.47 points into the free skate.
“I didn’t like that I stepped out on my first jump, but afterward I attacked the program more, and it got better as it went on,” Ly said. “I’ve always been a pretty good spinner; it’s just keeping my nerves down on the jumps that I have to focus on.”
Ly’s training partner, Kendrick Weston, opened his short to the Armenian folk song “Artsakh” with a big, easy double Axel, followed by a solid triple toe-double toe loop. Like Ly, his spins gained Level 4, and his final jump — a triple Salchow — was done late in the program.
The 14-year-old and Kriley made a critical decision about the combination earlier in the day.
“I changed it at the last second, because I wasn’t too sure about a certain jump (a triple flip),” he said. “I kind of didn’t want to change, but I kind of had to. It worked well.”
Weston plans to include a triple flip in his free skate, set to The Expendables score.
Both Ly and Kendrick are members of Salt Lake City Figure Skating and train at the Salt Lake City Sports Complex under Kriley. The club sent four skaters to Greensboro.
“Kendrick and I do our own thing, training-wise,” Ly said. “I try to focus on myself, he focuses on himself. We definitely push each other sometimes. It’s definitely a little different when you’re competing against each other and you have the same coach.”
Jonah Barrett, who sits in third with 46.72 points, has already struck gold in Greensboro: He and partner Elli Kopmar won the intermediate pairs title.
Skating to Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Capriccio Espagnol,” Barrett hit strong jumps — including a triple loop and a triple Salchow-double toe loop combination — and showed off his flexibility by doing a fully stretched Biellmann position in his combination spin. He earned 46.72 points.
Jim Peterson, who coaches Barrett in Ellenton, Florida, encouraged the skater to remain focused on his singles event even after winning pairs.
“Mr. Peterson gave me a really good quote. He told me, ‘This isn’t the icing on the cake — it is still the cake,’ so I’m still in that competitive mindset,” said Barrett, who turns 18 on Jan. 28. “My team of coaches (including Lyndon Johnston and Amanda Evora) all worked hard on keeping my short smooth and laying it out nicely.”
Barrett will perform his free skate to “Maria” from West Side Story, a last-minute change before the U.S. championships.
“I love the piece so much, it actually feels more like a show program,” Barrett said. “I’m hoping to bring up my program components scores a bit with it.”
Southern California’s Daniil Shamis skated a clean short, which included a triple toe-double toe combination and triple Salchow, and stands fourth with 44.95 points.

Click here to read Icenetwork’s Novice Pairs SP article by Troy Schwindt

Darbie Burke and Griffin Schwab, pairs partners for the past six years, secured a slim lead after the novice short program Monday afternoon at the 2015 U.S. Figure Skating Championships.
The New York-based team received Level 4 on its spin and lift, and Level 3’s for a death spiral and opening double twist. They also secured the event’s best program components score for their program to “The Race” by Yello.
Their score of 37.22 is less than three points better than the fourth-place team entering Wednesday’s free skate.
Burke and Schwab’s performance comes a year after the two failed to qualify for the U.S. championships.
“They came back, worked hard and here they are now,” said Cathryn Schwab, who is Griffin’s mother and the team’s coach.
Cathryn has coached Burke since she was little and the team developed a “natural” chemistry at its training facility, The Rinx in Hauppauge, New York.
“They’ve learned a lot, grown a lot and have a lot more to go,” Cathryn said of her team, which won the Eastern Sectional title two months ago.
The California-based team of Vanessa Chen, 14, and Robert Przepioski, 25, turned in a fun, energetic performance to “Off Road” by United Future Organization.
“[For the program,] we are visiting Earth or another planet and there’s a lot of stuff going on, and we are trying to figure out how to get around, and at the end, we are being beamed back to our spaceship,” said Przepioski, who will also compete in the senior men’s field later this week.
Their score for the short program was 36.96, which included a Level 4 spin and Level 3’s for their lift and footwork.
Przepioski said the team’s goal for the U.S. championships is to have fun and not worry about results. They entered into their partnership just eight months ago.
“We’ve been together since June and it’s my first time doing pairs,” Chen said. “I love doing the sport with Robbie.”
The team with the best score coming out of sectionals, Kate Finster, 11, and Eric Hartley, 16, skated well but hit one major bump in the road, when Finster failed to perform the combination spin. They still managed to rally and score 35.11 points to place third.
“I know we can improve — like me not being so excited and actually doing the spin,” said Finster, who poked fun at herself after the event. “There was a rut in the ice, but [our coaches] told me that I was over-excited.”
One of her coaches, two-time U.S. pairs champion John Coughlin, said that Finster’s nickname is “squirrel, because she seems to be shot out of a cannon everywhere she goes.”
Hartley said he was trying to stay positive during the lapse with the spin.
“A mistake can bring you down, and you want to act like it never happened,” Hartley said. “You want to stay positive, and that’s what we did and it ended well.”
The Colorado Springs-based team performed to “As Long as I’m Singing” by Spacey, which featured lyrics throughout the program.
“What I was so proud of was that although they had the error, they recovered, continued on and stuck to the character of the program,” Coughlin said. “It shows the hard work being put in at home.”
California’s Alexandria Yao and Connor Fleming are fourth with 34.48 points.

Click here to read Icenetwork’s Novice PD article by Mimi Whetstone

“Working hard every day, committing to progressing over time and our bond with each other — that’s what makes the difference on the ice, especially at competitions.”
When Caroline Green thinks about winning her third U.S. title in as many years with her brother, Gordon, she is quick to credit longevity, hard work and a supportive environment.
“We’ve been with our coaches for five years,” Caroline continued. “Training under them and with such a big group of ice dancers, they can train us to follow in the footsteps of the teams in the levels above us.”
In Sunday’s novice pattern dance, the sibling duo dominated both the Starlight Waltz and the Paso Doble, winning the segment by nearly eight points. Coached by Alexei Kiliakov and Elena Novak in Rockville and Wheaton, Maryland, they’re joined by 10 of their rink mates at the 2015 U.S. Figure Skating Championships.
“At our level, it’s more competitive,” Gordon said. “But we keep our eyes on the older, higher-level teams. We like to see how they train and how they present their dances. It really inspires us.”
Showing impressive extension for their 4’8″ (Caroline) and 5’3″ (Gordon) frames, the Greens amassed 45.25 points, a total that put them well on their way to the novice title after capturing the juvenile crown in 2013 and the intermediate championship in 2014.
“If we skate our best, just like we do in practice and put out clean skates, I’m sure we can come out on top,” Gordon said.
A fifth-place finish in the Starlight and a third-place finish in the paso gave Elizabeth Addas and Jonathan Schultz an overall score of 37.32, good enough for second place. Earning Level 3’s on two of the three paso patterns, the 2013 U.S. juvenile bronze medalists are poised to stand on the novice podium without taking a turn in the intermediate ring.
In third place, Emma Gunter and Caleb Wein earned 36.96 points for their efforts.
“It takes a lot of dedication and time, but I think our dances are coming along,” Wein said. “The Starlight is a lot softer and smoother, but sometimes I feel like the paso is easier to connect to. It really just depends on the day.”
The pattern dance segment consists of two compulsory dances, which ultimately evolve into the short dance at the higher levels. Later this week, a new U.S. senior ice dance champion will be crowned, with each championship-level team beginning its climb with a pattern of the paso doble in the short.
“I think it’s been really cool to watch the senior teams this season and see how they do the same dance,” Gunter said. “I want to try and watch some of the senior official practices here. We have so much to learn from them, and it’s great to be able to watch them do what we’re doing.”
Rebounding from a seventh-place finish in the Starlight, Katherine Grosul and Cameron Colucci finished second in the paso and sit in fourth place with 36.59 points.

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JUNIOR LADIES Medalists:
GOLD: Bradie Tennell, Wagon Wheel FSC
SILVER: Olivia Serafini, SC of New York
BRONZE: Vivian Le, Dallas FSC
PEWTER: Elena Taylor, Dallas FSC

JUNIOR MEN Medalists:
GOLD: Andrew Torgashev, Panthers FSC
SILVER: Kevin Shum, St. Moritz ISC
BRONZE: Paolo Borromeo, Los Angeles FSC
PEWTER: Aleksei Krasnozhon, Stars FSC of Texas

JUNIOR PAIRS Medalists:
GOLD: Caitlin Fields / Ernie Utah Stevens, Indiana World SA FSC
SILVER: Chelsea Liu, St. Paul FSC / Brian Johnson, Detroit SC
BRONZE: Olivia Allan, DuPage FSC / Austin Hale, Fort Wayne ISC
PEWTER: Lindsay Weinstein, DuPage FSC / Jacob Simon, Skokie Valley SC

Click here to read Icenetwork’s Junior Pairs FS article by Lynn Rutherford

Caitlin Fields and Ernie Utah Stevens, who teamed up in late August, knew there was only one way they would win the U.S. junior pair title: make the most of every element.
“For right now, they needed a clean, neat program,” their coach, Serguei Zaitsev, said. “Their main focus is the quality of what they do.”
On Thursday afternoon, that mindset helped lead the Indiana-based skaters to the U.S. junior pairs title, just five months into their partnership.
Skating to Minkus’ Don Quixote, Fields and Stevens opened with a solid double twist before showing a throw triple loop with superb speed and flow. Stevens turned out of the landing of a double Lutz, but the team recovered with the first of two lifts that showed off Fields’ fine positions. They hit a throw double Salchow and carried good speed in their closing pairs spin, which gained a Level 4 from the technical panel.
Fields and Stevens won the free skate with a score of 98.23, due largely to high program components and execution scores. When added to their winning short program score, they won gold with 155.41 points, some 4.57 points more than Californians Chelsea Liu and Brian Johnson.
“We’re very happy with the way we skated,” Stevens, 21, said. “We think where we are now will be a good stepping stone for us when we move up to senior next season.”
Fields’ fine carriage and balletic positions, which add immensely to the pair’s appeal, are similar to those of another Arizona native, Madeline Aaron, the senior pairs skater who is a close friend of Fields.
“Madeline Aaron and I used to take ballet together,” Fields, 19, said. “But I think our real bond is we’re just determined pair girls.”
As Zaitsev tells it, it took a village to help Stevens and Fields gel so quickly.
“We couldn’t have done this in just five months without the support of the owners and managers of the Carmel Ice Skadium,” the coach said. “They have been very accommodating with ice time and scheduling.”
Liu and Johnson had a fine performance to “Yellow River Concerto,” hitting double Axel-double toe combinations, a strong triple twist, a throw triple loop and two impressive Level 4 lifts. Their choreography, done by Christine Binder, built effectively to the closing carry lift. They lost ground, though, when Liu fell on a double flip, and while their technical elements score was higher than that of Fields and Johnson, their program components marks were lower.
“We’re a new team (they formed in early summer), and it’s really thanks to our coaching team that we’ve been able to come together so quickly,” Liu, 15, said.
Sand, who coaches the pair in Alisa Viejo, California, with his wife, Jenni Meno, added that the teenagers overcame a few minor disagreements at the beginning of their partnership.
“Their personalities were a bit different when they first came together,” Sand said. “Now they’re on the same page, focusing on what they can accomplish on the ice. I think they did very well today.”
It is likely that both the gold and silver medalists will be selected for the U.S. world junior team that will compete in Tallinn, Estonia, in early March.
According to Zaitsev, Fields and Stevens’ potential technical element score will be higher in Estonia.
“They will definitely do a throw triple Salchow; they did one in the warm-up here,” he said. “It was my executive decision to leave it out, because we wanted to show a clean, beautiful program. We will try to push for a triple twist, but again, our main focus is the quality.”
Olivia Allan and Austin Hale, who train under Alena Lunin in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, won bronze with a strong skate to a powerful medley of movie themes, including Conquest of Paradise and Dragonheart. Their program was highlighted by strong lifts as well as double Axels and a throw triple loop. They placed third in the free, climbing from fourth after the short, and earned 130.60 points.
“With as little experience as I have as a pair skater, I’m proud of what we did,” Allan, 15, said. “I’ve only been doing pairs for one year, although Austin has had other partners.”

Click here to read Icenetwork’s Junior Pairs SP article by Lynn Rutherford

Caitlin Fields and Ernie Utah Stevens found each other just in time.
This past summer, with the international season rapidly approaching, both skaters were without partners. Fields, who had most recently skated with Canadian Sebastian Arcieri, was training in Montreal. Stevens’ partnership of several seasons with Christina Zaitsev ended prior to the 2014 U.S. Figure Skating Championships.
“We both had partners who had suffered injuries,” Stevens, 21, said. “We both thought we were done with skating.”
A mutual friend thought the two would make a good match, and not just because they are longtime friends. Fields traveled to Stevens’ rink for a tryout. They teamed up in late August to try to qualify for the 2015 U.S. Figure Skating Championships.
Training went well, but two weeks before they were slated to compete at the Mentor Nestle Nesquik Torun Cup earlier this month, Fields had her appendix removed.
“It’s been, how to call it, an interesting challenge,” said Serguei Zaitsev, who trains the skaters in Carmel, Indiana. “It was, ‘What else can you get through? Can you handle this? Can you handle that?’ But we are just thrilled to be here and perform today.”
The Tuesday afternoon crowd in Greensboro Coliseum was thrilled as well, giving the team a partial standing ovation for a short program to selections from Maksim Mrvica’s Nostradamus. Skating with speed and unison to the powerful music, they opened with a solid Level 3 double twist before hitting a superb throw triple loop that had stunning speed and ice coverage. Their double Lutzes were solid, and their remaining elements, including a death spiral from a shoot-the-duck, all gained Level 4’s.
Fields and Stevens earned 57.18 points to take a 2.22-point lead going into Wednesday’s free skate.
“That was the best we ever skated the program,” Fields, 19, said. “In Poland, we were mostly there just to get the world junior minimum (TES) points — more treating it like a run-through.”
“It was a long road, but we stuck it out and worked twice as hard, and here we are now,” Stevens said.
Zaitsev is crossing his fingers that this will develop into a long-term partnership.
“They work together well and respect each other, which is very important,” he said. “Pairs skating is not for everyone. It is something only a very few of those tough cookies can handle.”
Another newly minted pair, Chelsea Liu and Brian Johnson, delivered a charming and technically strong program to selections from Mary Poppins, choreographed by Christine Binder. They were the only team in the field to hit both a triple twist — which gained Level 3 and earned 7.20 points — as well as a throw triple loop. Their 54.96 points puts them second.
“We have been working a little more off ice on it; straight up pops, see how high we can get it,” Johnson, 19, said of the impressive triple twist. “We wanted it to go up a little more.”
Liu, 15, gritted out the landing of the throw triple loop.
“I was so committed, I was like, ‘No, I’m just going to land this,'” she said.
“Nothing stops her when she is determined,” Johnson said.
The skaters, who are coached by Jenni Meno and Todd Sand in Southern California, have only been training together since last June.
“They got in touch with each other on their own and made it happen,” Sand said. “I thought they skated great, and it was a great overall performance.”
Liu credits the team’s experience on the Junior Grand Prix (JGP) circuit, where they won a bronze medal and qualified for the Junior Grand Prix Final, with helping them perform under pressure.
“The JGP experience is completely different from nationals,” she said. “We’re competing against different countries and they have different training styles; it’s great to be out there with them. It’s a different type of motivation, coming to nationals. We were just trying to do the best we can do, and I think we did that tonight.”
Both of the top two pairs are age-eligible, and have the minimum required scores, to compete at the 2015 World Junior Figure Skating Championships.
There is a gap of more than 10 points to the rest of the field.
Lindsay Weinstein and Jacob Simon sit third with 43.75 points after a solid program to “Fanatico” by Edvin Marton, choreographed by Phillip Mills. The highlight was a throw triple loop, an element the two skaters were determined to land in Greensboro. They take 43.75 points into Wednesday’s free skate.
“It went surprisingly well,” Weinstein said. “Earlier in practice I wasn’t landing the throw. In warm-up, it was a lot better, and then going into it I was really confident. It felt like a really good program.”
“I was really happy with the program,” Simon said. “We’ve been working on the throw a lot in training, because we really wanted to get that. That was our big goal.”
Weinstein and Simon, who are competing in their second season together, train in Chicago under primary coach Jeremy Allen. They also work twice a week with Susie Wynne and Vladimir Federov.
Olivia Allan and Austin Hale are fourth with 42.73 points. Cirinia Gillett and Maximiliano Fernandez sit fifth with 42.22 points.

Excerpt from “The Inside Edge: Stevens dishes on middle name” (1/22/15) by Sarah & Drew:

As promised, we tracked down the story behind Ernie Utah Stevens’ truly great name.
“Well, I’m a Kentucky boy,” he said, “And my dad grew up on a farm. A man named Utah has worked on my grandpa’s farm forever. He doesn’t have any family of his own, and my middle name is in his honor. He was like a second grandfather to me. He taught my dad how to hunt and how to fish.”
Stevens and his partner, Caitlin Fields, were still rapturous and a little dazed, with their hands full of gifts and flowers, in the hotel after the junior pairs awards ceremony, where they got their gold medals.
“We didn’t even know what a good score was,” Stevens said. “We’ve only competed twice!”

JUNIOR DANCE Medalists:
GOLD: Lorraine McNamara, Peninsula SC / Quinn Carpenter, Washington FSC
SILVER: Rachel & Michael Parsons, Washington FSC
BRONZE: Elliana Pogrebinsky, Peninsula SC / Alex Benoit, Skokie Valley SC
PEWTER: Holly Moore / Daniel Klaber, Detroit SC

—–

SENIOR LADIES Medalists:
GOLD: Ashley Wagner, SC of Wilmington
SILVER: Gracie Gold, Wagon Wheel FSC
BRONZE: Karen Chen, Peninsula SC
PEWTER: Polina Edmunds, Peninsula SC

SENIOR MEN Medalists:
GOLD: Jason Brown, Skokie Valley SC
SILVER: Adam Rippon, SC of New York
BRONZE: Joshua Farris, Broadmoor SC
PEWTER: Max Aaron, Broadmoor SC

SENIOR PAIRS Medalists:
GOLD: Alexa Scimeca, DuPage FSC / Chris Knierim, Broadmoor SC
SILVER: Haven Denney, Panthers FSC / Brandon Frazier, All Year FSC
BRONZE: Tarah Kayne, Southwest Florida FSC / Danny O’Shea, Skokie Valley SC
PEWTER: Madeline Aaron, Coyotes SC of Arizona / Max Settlage, Broadmoor SC

SENIOR DANCE Medalists:
GOLD: Madison Chock, All Year FSC / Evan Bates, Ann Arbor FSC
SILVER: Maia Shibutani, SC of New York / Alex Shibutani, Arctic FSC
BRONZE: Madison Hubbell / Zachary Donohue, Detroit SC
PEWTER: Kaitlin Hawayek, Detroit SC / Jean-Luc Baker, Seattle SC

—–

Link: ALL RESULTS / PROTOCOLS

Click here to visit the “JUNIOR” NATIONALS page for a compilation of all Juvenile & Intermediate qualifiers by event. Regionals/Sectional scores are included of the singles skaters, along with links to notable local articles.

Click here to visit the NATIONALS page for a compilation of Novice, Junior & Senior qualifiers by event. This season’s Regional/Sectional scores and birthdates are included for the Novice/Junior singles & pairs.

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