UNSEEN SKATERS ONLINE

2016 U.S. Nationals Novice Men

Posted by unseenskaters on January 18, 2016

NOVICE MEN Medalists:
GOLD: Eric Sjoberg, Los Angeles FSC (CA)
SILVER: Peter Liu, SC of Wilmington (DE)
BRONZE: Maxim Naumov, Charter Oak FSC (CT)
PEWTER: William Hubbart, Fort Wayne ISC (IN)

RESULTS LINKS:
Novice Men Final & FS results/protocols
Novice Men SP results/protocols
[Note: The unofficial final standings were revised before the medal ceremony to raise Hubbart’s FS score, which bumped him up from 5th to 4th overall. Reportedly his opening 3F+3T was incorrectly called 2F+3T and the final protocol reads 3F+3T.]

ARTICLES & PHOTOS:
Click here to read Icenetwork’s Short Program article by Lynn Rutherford

Eric Sjoberg used an unusual strategy during the novice men’s short program at the 2016 U.S. Figure Skating Championships at the Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minnesota, on Sunday: He didn’t think too much about his jumps.
Skating to a jazzy Big Bad Voodoo Daddy medley, he worried more about his step sequence than the triple lutz-triple toe loop he had planned in the program’s second half.
“I focused more on the footwork because, with this program, I get really insecure, I guess,” the 14-year-old said. “It’s really showy, and I’m not a really showy person, so I was trying to focus more on looking up.”
As it turned out, Sjoberg’s jumps — including a triple flip done very late in the routine — came off without a hitch, and he was the only skater in the event to hit a clean triple-triple combination. Under U.S. Figure Skating’s new scoring rules for novice competitors, he gained three bonus points for the three different triples, boosting his score to 54.53 points.
“I’m very happy,” Sjoberg said. “I decided to do my jumps late because next year in juniors I’m going to have to do the program that way.”
The Maryland native, who now trains in Rafael Arutunian’s group in Artesia, California, is mounting a comeback of sorts. After winning the 2014 U.S. novice silver medal, he dropped to 11th place last season. This is his third time around, and he’s going for gold.
“I was really working on consistency and just doing a lot of programs — not drilling the jumps but making sure they are consistent,”Sjoberg said.
Maxim Naumov sits 1.16 points behind Sjoberg after a clean skate to Michael BublĂ©’s “Feeling Good” that included a triple lutz and triple salchow-double toe loop combination. The outgoing 14-year-old, who trains under dad Vadim in Simsbury, Connecticut, performed with precision and flair, gaining the highest program components scores of the event.
“This is crazy. I’ve been working so hard for this moment,” Maxim, 14, said. “There are going to be ups and downs, but I’m so happy with my performance right now.”
As a budding showman, it’s no surprise Maxim named Yuzuru Hanyu, Evgeni Plushenko and Alexei Yagudin as skaters he reveres. He especially enjoys his father’s stories about how Yagudin trained in Simsbury before winning the 2002 Olympics.
“I honor all three of them,” Maxim said. “Simsbury was (Yagudin’s) place, and now I’m also there, so it’s awesome.”
Vadim is his son’s main coach, but his mom Evgenia Shishkova also lends a hand, as does two-time U.S. ice dance silver medalist Mathew Gates.
“I’m very excited and, mostly, very proud,” Vadim said. “Maxim recently hit a growing period, so we had a rough week before we came here. His body is changing and that makes it a little bit difficult. It was a little nerve-wracking.”
Vadim, the 1994 world pairs champion with Shishkova, never considered pairs for his son.
“We are going to go as far as we can go in singles,” he said. “Plus, I don’t think he will be very tall. The future will tell.”
Peter Liu, who trains under former Austrian champion Victor Pfeifer in Wilmington, Delaware, sits third after a solid program to Robert Rodriguez’s “Guitartown” that opened with a strong triple flip-double toe combination. He brings 52.23 points into the free skate.
“I am really, really happy. It was better than pretty much any short I’ve done all season,” Liu said. “Everything went well. The jumps were there, the spins were there, the skating was there. I just did everything I could to the best of my ability.”
William Hubbart is fourth with 47.46 points after hitting a triple flip-double toe in his short to Bond’s “Winter.”

Click here to view Icenetwork’s SP action photo gallery
Click here to read Icenetwork’s Free Skate article by Lynn Rutherford

When he won the 2014 U.S. novice silver medal, Eric Sjoberg was 12 years old, barely 5 feet tall and the youngest skater in the event. But then he grew up — fast.
Last year, a growth spurt contributed to a disappointing 11th-place finish in novice. As late as last summer, Sjoberg wasn’t sure about his 2015-16 campaign.
“I didn’t know if I was going to compete this year,” he said. “There had been so much growth, more than eight inches. I didn’t start really training programs and jumping until maybe July or August.”
Coach Rafael Arutunian encouraged him to give the novice ranks a third try.
“Last year was not successful, because (in 2014) he was second, and basically he wanted to win,” said Arutunian, who trains Sjoberg in Artesia, California. “But he grew up a lot. Two years ago, he was a very tiny guy. This year we hired a very nice guy from Russia, Denis Petrov, and he helped us with off-ice training and strength, for (better) rotation on the ice.”
So Sjoberg decided — belatedly — to compete at the 2016 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. Good thing: At the Xcel Energy Center on Monday, the Maryland native hit every jump in his free skate and won the novice title by nearly 20 points.
Skating with fine speed and flow to a dramatic piano concerto by the late Leonard Pennario, Sjoberg reeled off seven triples, including a triple lutz-triple toe loop combination and another triple lutz. The sparkling program earned 117.15 points and, when combined with his first-place short program, gave him 171.68 points total.
“It was like what I do every day in practice,” Sjoberg said. “I didn’t feel like there was pressure. I think the only pressure is what I put on myself.”
Sjoberg was so tuned in, not even an unscheduled 15-minute break to clean the ice ruffled his composure. That happened when Jun-Hong Chen, skating fourth in the last warmup group, cut his right hand and bled on the ice. (Chen, who placed eighth, received several stitches from on-site medical staff.)
“I was kind of used to it because at regionals somebody’s music didn’t work and they took 30 minutes just fixing the music and then gave us another warmup,” Sjoberg said. “It was kind of like that again, except with blood. I think I did well, considering everything. This win means a lot to me.”
The delay didn’t hurt Peter Liu, either. The skater from Wilmington, Delaware, showed fine musicality and attractive landing positions in his free skate to music from the Frida soundtrack, hitting five clean triple jumps, three in combination. He earned 99.67 points and ended with 151.90.
“I was really nervous before (the break); I was shaking and everything,” Liu, 15, said. “When they announced the ice cut, the pressure was taken away. I could do my stuff again.”
Liu’s coach, Viktor Pfeifer, credits his skater with working extra hard to make up for lost training time following a hip injury earlier this season.
“He had a bad fall, and it took three months to recover,” Pfeifer said. “We couldn’t train the way we wanted to for (Eastern) Sectionals, but now we’re here and he did it.”
The bronze medal went to Maxim Naumov, who landed four clean triples in his free to Jorge Quintero’s “300 Violin Orchestra.” The 14-year-old son of 1994 world pairs champion Vadim Naumov and Evgenia Shishkova skated with musicality and flair, but fell on his opening triple lutz and ended with 148.73 points.
“If you do mess up, it’s OK — it’s not the end,” Naumov said. “No matter what, you keep pushing and go for the rest. The rest of my jumps, and especially the expression, I was focusing as hard as I could to make up for the loss of the lutz.”
William Hubbart landed a triple flip-triple toe combination in his free skate to finish fourth with 142.83 points. Ryan Dunk landed five triples, including a triple lutz-double toe combination, to place third in the free skate and climb from ninth place after the short program to fifth overall.

Click here to view Icenetwork’s FS action photo gallery
Click here to read an interview with Eric Sjoberg published in the Ice Musings blog on 1/14/16.

COMPETITOR PROFILES:

Jun-Hong Chen
Age: 14; (M/D/Y) 4/30/01
Club: Broadmoor SC
Training Town: Colorado Springs, CO
Coach: Shin-Juh Chen, Ryan Jahnke
Choreographer: Ryan Jahnke, Damon Allen
SP: Kung Fu Piano: Cello Ascends by The Piano Guys
FS: Nostradamus by Maxim Mrvica
FS high score in qualifying season: 82.76 (M5)
Total high score in qualifying season: 127.99 (M4)
He was 2015 Intermediate 12th.

Ryan Dunk
Age 15; 10/14/00
Club: Baltimore FSC
Training Town: White Hall, MD
Coach: Christian Conte
Choreographer: Christian Conte, Natalia Jones
SP: Espana Cani performed by orchestra led by Erich Kunzel
FS: Piano Trio 2 & Piano Concerto 3 by Rachmaninoff
FS high score in qualifying season: 101.90 (SA1)
Total high score in qualifying season: 152.48 (SA1)
He was the 2015 Intermediate pewter medalist.

William Hubbart
Age: 17; 1/23/98
Club: Fort Wayne ISC
Training Town: Fort Wayne, Indiana
Coach: Alena Lunin, Alexander Lunin
Choreographer: Alena Lunin
SP: Winter by Bond
FS: Rhapsody on a Theme – Caprice 24 by Paganini
FS high score in qualifying season: 102.77 (EGL1)
Total high score in qualifying season: 155.78 (EGL1)
He was 2015 Novice 8th. Also qualified here in Novice Pairs with his sister, Joanna, but they withdrew.

Max Lake
Age: 13; 3/6/02
Club: La Jolla FSC
Training Town: Carlsbad/La Jolla, CA
Coach: Jonathan Cassar, Julie Newman
Choreographer: Jonathan Cassar
SP: Sur le Fil (Amelie soundtrack) by Yann Tiersen
FS: Intro and Rondo Capriccioso in A Minor by Saint-Saens
FS high score in qualifying season: 78.94 (SWP3)
Total high score in qualifying season: 127.34 (P3)
He was 2015 Intermediate 7th.

Peter Liu
Age: 15; 10/26/00
Club: SC of Wilmington
Training Town: Wilmington, DE
Coach: Viktor Pfeifer, Ronnie Biancosino
Choreographer: Irina Romanova
SP: Guitar Town (Once Upon a Time in Mexico soundtrack) by Robert Rodriguez
FS: Poeta (flamenco) [Music from the Frida soundtrack?]
FS high score in qualifying season: 90.09 (SA2)
Total high score in qualifying season: 134.54 (SA2)
He was 2015 Novice 6th.

Sasha Lunin
Age: 15; 9/20/00
Club: Fort Wayne ISC
Training Town: Fort Wayne, IN
Coach/Choreographer: Alena Lunin, Alexander Lunin
SP: Nostradamus by Maxim Mrvica
FS: Blues for Klook by Eddy Louiss
FS high score in qualifying season: 101.09 (M1)
Total high score in qualifying season: 152.21 (M1)

Maxim Naumov
Age: 14; 8/1/01
Club: Charter Oak FSC
Training Town: Simsbury, CT
Coach: Vadim Naumov, Vladimir Petrenko
Choreographer: Evgenia Shishkova, Mathew Gates
SP: Feeling Good by Michael Buble
FS: 300 Violin Orchestra by Jorge Quintero
FS high score in qualifying season: 98.35 (E2)
Total high score in qualifying season: 152.63 (E1)
His parents were the 1994 World Pairs Champions for Russia.

Mark Sadusky
Age: 17; 2/19/98
Club: St. Moritz ISC
Training Town: Oakland, CA
Coach: Phillip DiGuglielmo
Choreographer: Justin Dillon, Alex Chang
SP: Pure Imagination performed by Josh Groban
FS: Romeo & Juliet 2013 soundtrack by Abel Korzeniowski
FS high score in qualifying season: 77.85 (P4)
Total high score in qualifying season: 125.56 (P4)

Eric Sjoberg
Age: 14; 8/22/01
Club: Los Angeles FSC
Training Town: Artesia, CA
Coach: Rafael Arutyunyan, Nadia Kanaeva, Vera Arutyunyan
Choreographer: Nadia Kanaeva, Tom Dickson
SP: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy medley
FS: Midnight on the Cliffs by Leonard Pennario
FS high score in qualifying season: 113.09 (SWP1)
Total high score in qualifying season: 171.01 (SWP1)
He was the 2014 Novice silver medalist and was 11th in 2015.

Ryan VanDoren
Age: 17; 11/17/98
Club: Colonial FSC
Training Town: Boxborough, MA
Coach: Jessica Dupuis, Kristen Weir
Choreographer: Jessica Dupuis
SP: “Air” and “503” (Angels and Demons soundtrack) performed by Joshua Bell
FS: A Day in The Life performed by Jeff Beck
FS high score in qualifying season: 67.12 (NE2)
Total high score in qualifying season: 106.73 (NE2)

Derek Wagner
Age: 16; 2/24/99
Club: Northern Ice SC
Training Town: Buffalo Grove, IL
Coach: Denise Myers, Sandi Delfs
Choreographer: Cindy Stuart, Scott Brown
SP: Forever by Michael W. Smith
FS: Rudy soundtrack by Jerry Goldsmith
FS high score in qualifying season: 83.89 (M4)
Total high score in qualifying season: 131.59 (UGL1)

Paul Yeung
Age: 16; 10/1/99
Club: All Year FSC
Training Town: Simi Valley, CA
Coach: Brianna Weissmann, Bianca Marro-Weissmann
Choreographer: Brianna Weissmann
SP: Music from Indiana Jones by John Williams
FS: Tosca by Puccini
FS high score in qualifying season: 95.37 (SWP2)
Total high score in qualifying season: 145.43 (SWP2)
He was 2015 Intermediate 9th. He finished 8th in Intermediate Pairs here.

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