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2018 U.S. Nationals: Junior Ladies

Posted by unseenskaters on December 31, 2017

Links will open a new window: Junior Ladies Final standings/FS protocols
GOLD – Alysa Liu, St. Moritz ISC 63.83 (1) 120.33 (1) 184.16
SILVER – Pooja Kalyan, Ozark FSC 54.55 (4) 111.98 (3) 166.53
BRONZE – Ting Cui, Baltimore FSC 145.55 (11) 119.96 (2) 165.51
PEWTER – Hanna Harrell, Dallas FSC 52.10 (5) 102.26 (4) 154.36

5 Emily Zhang, Richmond FSC 56.97 (2) 92.86 (8) 149.83
6 Gabriella Izzo, SC of Boston 55.19 (3) 93.05 (7) 148.24
7 Angelina Huang, St. Peters FSA 51.27 (6) 92.57 (9) 143.84
8 Akari Nakahara, All Year FSC 49.12 (7) 94.29 (6) 143.41
9 Audrey Shin, SC of New York 46.05 (10) 94.45 (5) 140.50
10 Emma Coppess, All Year FSC 48.08 (8) 91.22 (10) 139.30
11 Lily Sun, Peninsula SC 47.38 (9) 90.37 (11) 137.75
12 Jenna Shi, Arctic FSC 44.20 (12) 70.30 (12) 114.50

Junior Ladies SP results
Top 6 (with jump notes):
1 Alysa Liu, St. Moritz ISC 63.83 (2A, 3F!3T, 3Lz+)
2 Emily Zhang, Richmond FSC 56.97 (3Lz+, 3F!2T, 2A)
3 Gabriella Izzo, SC of Boston 55.19 (3Lz, 3Lo2T, 2A)
4 Pooja Kalyan, Ozark FSC 54.55 (3Lz-, 3T3T, 2A)
5 Hanna Harrell, Dallas FSC 52.10 (3F3T+, Rippon3Lz< fall, 2A step)
6 Angelina Huang, St. Peters FSA 51.27 (3F!2T, 2A, 3Lz-)
[Link to SP protocols]

EVENT ARTICLES & PHOTOS (links will open a new window):
Photo of the new champion and her coach, Laura Lipetsky
Junior Ladies FS recap by Lynn Rutherford

On Tuesday night, before a sparse SAP Center crowd in San Jose, Alysa Liu delivered the kind of magic in her junior ladies free skate that some senior-level skaters may find difficult to replicate.
Skating to Les Miserables, the 12-year-old from nearby Oakland stormed the barricades with all the gusto and bravado of the musical’s revolutionary schoolboys — and a lot more finesse. Standing at 4 feet 7 inches but commanding the ice, Liu leapt and spun to perfection, reeling off seven triple jumps — all in the second half of her program — including triple lutz-triple toe and triple flip-loop-triple salchow combinations. The diminutive whirlwind notched 120.33 points, and ended with 184.16 overall to eclipse the field by nearly 18 points.
“If you just stay focused and think about your technique and what you’ve been working on, then you can do it,” Liu told a cluster of reporters after the event.
Not even the start of a bad cold on Monday night could deter her from completing the mission.
“One quote my coach always says is ‘fake it to make it,'” Liu said. “But I’m actually sick. I had a fever and my throat is hurting right now.”
Advil, tea with lemon and Chinese cough drops got her through the day, along with a home remedy fixed by her father, Arthur.
“I drank wheatgrass juice, my dad makes it,” Liu said. “It’s supposed to help your immune system. It’s gross.”
The pre-teen’s confident attitude and back-loaded program reminds one of two-time world champion Evgenia Medvedeva, who not surprisingly, is Liu’s idol.
“I just find (Russian skaters) really motivating, because they are so young and have such good jumps, and I aspire to be like them,” Liu said. “Evgenia Medvedeva is amazing. I really look up to her. Her jumps are really amazing and her skating skills are perfect. I want to be just like her when I’m older, or I can just try to be like her now.”
Laura Lipetsky, who has coached Liu at Oakland Ice Center since she first stepped on the ice at five-and-a-half years of age, looks to Japan for inspiration.
“Looking at the Japanese girl, Rika Kihira, who has triple axel-triple toe, we definitely strive for that,” Lipetsky said.
Regardless of skill, though, Liu’s turn on the international junior stage will have to wait: she will not be eligible for the World Junior Figure Skating Championships or the Junior Grand Prix circuit until the 2019-2020 season.
“I hope they change it so that no matter what age you are, you can go,” she said. “But they probably won’t and that’s okay. It gives me more practice to get ready.”
Liu’s fireworks should not overshadow the balletic yet powerful free skate of silver medalist Pooja Kalyan, a 14-year-old improbably hailing from Springdale, Arkansas, who landed six effortless triples — including a triple toe-triple toe combination — in a superb free skate choreographed by Scott Brown to Satie’s “Gymnopedie No. 1.” Kalyan was third in the free and finished with 166.53 points.
“The first thing I wanted to do was land my jumps and skate a clean program, but I also wanted to perform to the audience and make sure I use up the space as much as I can, because it’s such a big arena,” Kalyan said. “I wanted to smile and skate with as much joy as possible, and bring that joy to the crowd.”
There are only two ice rinks in Arkansas, where Kalyan is coached by Jennifer Kelly and Robin Aprea. Her primary coach is Alex Ouriashev in Chicago.
“It’s pretty amazing how much my parents and coaches have supported me through this journey,” she said. “A lot of the skaters in Arkansas have already texted me to say congratulations. Whenever I do my programs, they try their best to move out of the way, which is really nice.”
After a disappointing short program left her mired in 11th place, Ting Cui threw caution to the wind in her Chopin free skate, landing seven triples, including double axel-triple toe loop and triple lutz-loop-triple salchow combinations. Her 119.96 points put her second in the free, and she won bronze with 165.51 points.
“I had nothing to lose and I let go and skated just like I do in practice,” Cui said.
The 15-year-old made a coaching change to Vincent Restencourt after last season, and now works with the former French competitor in Aston, Pennsylvania. Natalya Linichuk and Uschi Keszler, who have both trained multiple world and Olympic medalists, are also on her coaching team.
“I added a lot of arm variation to my jumps, and my consistency with triple flip and triple loop has gone up,” she said.
Texas skater Hanna Harrell, fifth after the short, landed a triple flip-triple toe combination in her free to climb to fourth place with 154.36 points.

Junior Ladies SP recap with quotes from top 3

Just minutes after the Times Square ball dropped in midtown Manhattan to ring in 2018, Alysa Liu made some noise of her own 3,000 miles away, delivering a clean program to grab a surprising 6.86-point lead in the junior ladies event at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose, California.
“It actually is the best (short) of my season,” the bubbly 12-year-old said. “I’m really proud of myself, because what I’ve been practicing for this entire year finally showed at nationals.”
Liu, who hails from nearby Oakland, skated like she had little to lose. The youngest skater in the field lit a fire with her short to Maxime Rodriguez’s “Spanish Flame,” reeling off a clean triple flip-triple toe loop combination and triple lutz, as well as three Level 4 spins to earn 63.83 points.
“I love challenging myself with older skaters,” Liu said. “That shows the world no matter what age you are, you can still be at the top.”
The precocious Liu, featured in several Bay area articles and video features, happily held court with reporters and loudly blew her new year’s noisemaker at the free skate draw.
“She loves to perform for the audience and that’s awesome,” her father, Arthur Liu, said. “She’s happy when she’s skating and she shows that. Everything her coach teaches her, she tries a hundred times until it’s perfection.”
“She’s been practicing like that every day, and I’m glad she could show everyone that program at nationals,” Laura Lipetsky, who has coached Alysa for nearly seven years, said. “She’s trained and ready. She’s having fun.”
Emily Zhang performed a lyrical program, set to Joe Hisaishi’s “Castle in the Sky,” that was punctuated by big jumps — including a triple flip-triple toe and a triple lutz — as well as a powerful Level 4 step sequence. Her 56.97 points puts her in second place heading into the free skate.
“There were so many people watching, they gave me such energy and such a positive vibe,” Zhang said of the crowded Solar4America Ice arena. “The jumps felt really good today. I would normally practice like this and I just went out and did it.”
The 14-year-old Zhang, fourth at the intermediate level last season, skipped the novice level to compete as a junior this season.
“It was a decision made toward the end of summer when we saw she could be competitive with her scores,” Chris Conte, who coaches Zhang in Baltimore, Maryland, said. “She won the Liberty summer competition with over 100 points in the long, so we knew she was competitive with juniors.”
“That was a really big step forward,” Zhang said. “Intermediate went really well and I wanted to challenge myself.”
Gabbie Izzo, a 16-year-old who trains in the Boston area under Mark Mitchell and Peter Johansson, skated a mature and stylish short to “Tu Pálida Voz” by Lidia Borda that included a triple lutz and a triple loop-double toe combination, as well as superb spins. She earned 55.19 points, which was good for third place.
“It was really fun to be out there, and it’s nice to work hard every day and have it come forward when it needs to,” Izzo said. “It was definitely a personal best for my short.”
Unlike many skaters, the 16-year-old Boston Latin School student prefers spinning to jumping.
“I love spinning,” she said. “A lot of time is devoted to running programs and getting them as good as they can be, and then at least once a week I have a session just devoted to spinning.”
Pooja Kalyan, a student of Alexander Ouriashev, hit a solid triple toe-triple toe combination and closed her short to Sarah Brightman’s rendition of “Dreamers” with a stunning layback spin. She is fourth with 54.55 points.
Hanna Harrell, one of the pre-event favorites, fell on a triple lutz and sits fifth with 52.10 points.

Junior Ladies SP action photo gallery (top 10)
Backstage photos after the SP (via IceNetwork’s Instagram account):
New Year’s fun at the FS draw
Alysa Liu with her dad & coach Laura Lipetsky
Emily Zhang & coach Chris Conte
Gabbie Izzo & coach Mark Mitchell

COMPETITOR PROFILES (listed by age, youngest to oldest):

Alysa Liu
Age: 12; 8/8/05
Club: St Moritz ISC
Training Town: Oakland, CA
Coach: Laura Lipetsky
Choreographer: Cindy Stuart
SP: “Spanish Flame” by Maxime Rodriguez
FS: Orchestral music from Les Miserables
Sectional scores/placement: 61.68(SP)/109.74(FS)/171.42 (P1)
Regional scores/placement: 56.61(SP)/112.96(FS)/169.57 (CP1)
SP jumps (Sectional): 2A / 3F+3T, 3Lz
FS jumps (Sectional): 2A / 3Lz+3T, 3F+1Lo(half)Lo+3S, 3Lo, 3Lz, 3F, 2A+2T
(Base Value=59.52; TES=62.98)
Notes: She is the 2017 Novice pewter medalist & the 2016 U.S. Intermediate champion.
Her coach placed 9th in Senior Ladies at 1995 U.S. Nationals.
Feature article on Alysa & her father by Elliott Almond of the San Jose Mercury News

Lily Sun
Age: 13; 4/12/04
Club: Peninsula SC
Training Town: San Jose, CA
Coach: Drew Meekins, Christy Krall
Choreographer: Derrick Delmore
SP: “Liebestraum” by Franz Liszt
FS: Adagio from Spartacus by Aram Khachaturian
Sectional scores/placement: 51.91(SP)/91.79(FS)/143.70 (P3)
Regional scores/placement: 52.73(SP)/93.79(FS)/146.52 (CP2)
SP jumps (Sectional): 3T+3T, 3Lz / 2A
FS jumps (Sectional): 3T+3T, 3Lz, 3Lo / 3S, 3F, 3S+2T, 2A
Notes: She was 11th in Novice in 2017 and the 2014 U.S. Intermediate bronze medalist.

Audrey Shin
Age: 13; 3/12/04
Club: SC of New York
Hometown: Northport, NY
Training Town: Lakewood, CA
Coach: Rafael Arutunian, Nadia Kanaeva, Vera Arutunian (Mary Lynn Gelderman in NY)
Choreographer: Nadia Kanaeva, Benoit Richaud
SP: Prelude No. 1 from Three Preludes by George Gershwin
FS: “Je Me Souviens De Nous” by Maxime Rodriguez
Sectional scores/placement: 54.21(SP)/102.76(FS)/156.97 (E2)
SP planned jumps (Sectional): 3F+3T / 3Lz, 2A
FS planned jumps (Sectional): 3Lz+3T, 3F+2T+2Lo, 3Lo / 2A+2T, 3F, 3Lz, 2A
Notes: She placed 9th in Novice last year. She was 7th in her junior international debut at the Asian Open Trophy in Hong Kong (August 2017) and won the silver in her novice international debut at Golden Bear in Croatia (October 2016).

Jenna Shi
Age: 13; 1/8/04
Club: Arctic FSC
Training Town: Canton, MI
Coach: Theresa McKendry
Choreographer: Tanith White, Marina Zoueva
SP: “Send in the Clowns” by Stephen Sondheim (female vocal)
FS: “Colors of the Wind” (from Pocahontas) performed by Judy Kuhn
Sectional scores/placement: 53.17(SP)/108.59(FS)/161.76 (M2)
Regional scores/placement: 45.68(SP)/95.55(FS)/141.23 (EGL1)
SP planned jumps (Sectional): 3F+2T, 3Lz / 2A
FS planned jumps (Sectional): 3F+2T, 3Lz, 2A+1Lo+3S, 3Lo / 3F, 3S, 2A+2T
Notes: She placed 6th in Intermediate at 2015 Nationals.

Hanna Harrell
Age: 14; 9/26/03
Club: Dallas FSC
Training Town: Plano, TX
Coach: Aleksey Letov, Olga Ganicheva
Choreographer: Olga Ganicheva
SP: “Dark Eyes” performed by 101 Strings Orchestra
FS: Mambo Mix by Perez Prado
Sectional scores/placement: 65.43(SP)/123.62(FS)/189.05 (M1)
JGP ITA scores/placement: 55.87(SP)/96.54(FS)/152.41 (7th)
SP planned jumps (JGP ITA & Sectional): 3F+3T / 3Lz, 2A
FS jumps landed (Sectional): 3F+3T, 3Lz+2T, 3Lo, 2A+1Lo+3S / 3Lz, 3F, 2A
(Base Value=59.36; TES=70.02)
Notes: She was 5th in her junior international debut at the Asian Open Trophy in Hong Kong (August 2017), followed by her JGP debut in Italy (7th).
She was 6th in Novice in 2017 and was the 2016 Juvenile silver medalist.

Emily Zhang
Age: 14; 9/7/03
Club: Richmond FSC
Training Town: Richmond, VA
Coach/Choreographer: Christian Conte
SP: “Castle in the Sky” by Joe Hisaishi
FS: “Morning Mood” and “In the Hall of the Mountain King” from Peer Gynt Suite by Edvard Grieg
Sectional scores/placement: 56.54(SP)/84.00(FS)/140.54 (E4)
Regional scores/placement: 50.12(SP)/76.77(FS)/126.89 (SA2)
SP jumps (Sectional): 3Lz, 3F+2T, 2A
FS planned jumps (Sectional): 3Lz+2T, 3T, 2A / 3Lz, 3F, 3Lo+1Lo+3S, 2A+2T
Notes: She was the 2017 Intermediate pewter medalist and skipped Novice level to compete in Junior this year.

Pooja Kalyan
Age: 15; 11/25/02
Club: Ozark FSC (Arkansas)
Training Town: Chicago & Springdale, AR
Coach: Alexander Ouriashev
Choreographer: Scott Brown
SP: “Dreamers” performed by Sarah Brightman
FS: Gymnopedie #1 by Erik Satie
Sectional scores/placement: 56.34(SP)/95.01(FS)/151.35(M3)
Regional scores/placement: 53.47(SP)/105.84(FS)/159.31 (SW1)
SP planned jumps (Sectional): 3Lz, 3T+3T / 2A
FS planned jumps (Sectional): 3T+3T, 2A, 3F / 3Lz, 3S, 3F+2T, 2A+2T
Notes: She is the 2017 Novice bronze medalist and won the bronze in her novice international debut at Golden Bear in Croatia (October 2016). She finished 9th in Novice in 2015.

Ting Cui
Age 15; 9/6/02
Club: Baltimore FSC
Training Town: Abingdon, MD
Coach: Vincent Restencourt
Choreographer: Derrick Delmore
SP: “Libertango” by Astor Piazzolla
FS: Frederic Chopin medley
Sectional scores/placement: 48.93(SP)/114.38(FS)/163.31 (E1)
Regional scores/placement: 56.27(SP)/86.86(FS)/143.13 (SA1)
JGP AUS scores/placement: 55.34(SP)/95.61(FS)/150.95 (6th)
SP jumps (JGP AUS): 3T+3T, 3Lz / 2A
FS planned jumps (Sectional): 2A+3T, 3Lz+1Lo+3S, 3Lo / 3F, 3F+2T, 2A, 3S
(Base Value=56.66; TES=65.34)
Notes: She made her JGP debut this fall in Australia (6th). She is the 2017 U.S. Novice silver medalist and won the gold in her novice international debut at the Bavarian Open (February 2017).

Angelina Huang
Age: 15; 8/4/02
Club: St. Peters FSA (Missouri)
Training Town: Colorado Springs, CO
Coach: Damon Allen, Kelsey Drewel
Choreographer: Tom Dickson, Catarina Lindgren
SP: “Victory” by Two Steps from Hell
FS: Music from Avatar Torukfrom Cirque du Soleil (with CBS’ Survivor show theme at the end)
Sectional scores/placement: 53.61(SP)/97.10(FS)/150.71 (M4)
JGP AUT scores/placement: 41.68(SP)/92.42(FS)/134.10 (10th)
SP planned jumps (Sectional): 3F+2T / 2A, 3Lz
FS planned jumps (Sectional): 3F+2T, 3Lz+1Lo+2S, 2A+2T / 3Lo, 3F, 3Lz, 2A
Notes: She made her JGP debut this fall in Austria (10th). She is the 2017 Novice champion and won the bronze in her novice international debut at the Bavarian Open (February 2017).

Emma Coppess
Age: 15; 5/5/02
Club: All Year FSC
Training Town: Lakewood/Artesia, CA
Coach: Derrick Delmore, Peter Kongkasem
Choreographer: D. Delmore
SP: Music from The Addams Family film soundtrack by Marc Shaiman
FS: Music from Yuri on Ice by Taro Umebayashi and Ensemble FOVE
Sectional scores/placement: 46.33(SP)/90.38(FS)/136.71 (P4)
Regional scores/placement: 54.40(SP)/91.92(FS)/146.32 (SWP3)
SP planned jumps (Sectional): 3Lz / 3Lo+2T, 2A
FS planned jumps (Sectional): 3Lz+2T, 3F / 3Lo+2A seq., 3Lo, 3T, 3T+2T, 2A
Notes: She placed 10th in Novice last year and previously competed in Junior and Novice Pairs at Nationals but is focusing on singles now.

Akari Nakahara
Age: 15; 4/5/02
Club: All Year FSC
Training Town: Torrance, CA
Coach: Amy Evidente, Wendy Olson
Choreographer: Cindy Stuart, Jeffrey Buttle
SP: Music from the Cinema Paradisofilm soundtrack by Ennio Morricone, performed by Hayley Westenra
FS: Charlie Chaplin medley
Sectional scores/placement: 51.50(SP)/92.48(FS)/143.98 (P2)
Regional scores/placement: 55.15(SP)/108.34(FS)/163.49 (SWP1)
SP planned jumps (Sectional): 3Lz, 3F+2T, 2A
FS planned jumps (Sectional): 3Lz, 3F, 2A+1Lo+3S / 3F+2T, 3T, 3S+2T, 2A
Notes: She placed 7th in Junior at 2016 Nationals and was 8th in her 2015 JGP debut in Poland. She is the 2015 Novice silver medalist.

Gabriella “Gabbie” Izzo
Age: 16; 8/5/01
Club: SC of Boston
Training Town: Brighton, MA
Coach: Peter Johansson, Mark Mitchell
Choreographer: Adam Blake, Jamie Isley
SP: “Tu pálida voz” by Lidia Borda
FS: “Please Don’t Make Me Love You” (from Dracula, The M) performed by Linda Eder
Sectional scores/placement: 54.75(SP)/94.85(FS)/149.60 (E1)
Regional scores/placement: 51.72(SP)/84.11(FS)/135.83 (NE3)
SP jumps (Sectional): 3Lz, 3Lo+2T / 2A
FS planned jumps (Sectional): 3Lo+2T, 3F+1Lo+2S, 3Lz, 3Lo / 3S, 2A+2T. 2A
Notes: She placed 9th in Novice in 2016.

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2018 U.S. Nationals: Junior Pairs

Posted by unseenskaters on December 31, 2017

Links will open a new window: Junior Pairs Final standings/FS protocols
MEDALISTS:
GOLD – Audrey Lu, Dallas FSC / Misha Mitrofanov, Dallas FSC 60.80 (1) 112.51 (1) 173.31
SILVER – Sarah Feng, SC of San Francisco / TJ Nyman, Broadmoor SC 58.37 (3) 97.20 (2) 155.57
BRONZE – Laiken Lockley, DuPage FSC / Keenan Prochnow, DuPage FSC 58.67 (2) 94.37 (3) 153.04
PEWTER – Nadine Wang, SC of New York / Spencer Howe, Los Angeles FSC 46.58 (5) 89.38 (4) 135.96

5 Elli Kopmar, Southwest Florida FSC / Jonah Barrett, Southwest Florida FSC 52.18 (4) 80.72 (5) 132.90
6 Ainsley Peterson, All Year FSC / Griffin Schwab, SC of New York 45.86 (6) 78.35 (6) 124.21
7 Sarah Rose, Southwest Florida FSC / Ian Meyh, Southwest Florida FSC 39.48 (9) 76.06 (7) 115.54
8 Evelyn Grace Hanns, Broadmoor SC / Kristofer Ogren, Kansas City FSC 43.85 (7) 70.77 (9) 114.62
9 Meiryla Findley, Broadmoor SC / Matthew Rounis, Los Angeles FSC 40.74 (8) 73.08 (8) 113.82
10 Eliana Secunda, Rocky Mountain FSC / Blake Eisenach, Rocky Mountain FSC 37.14 (10) 63.60 (10) 100.74
11 Sapphire Jaeckel, Los Angeles FSC / Matthew Scoralle, Los Angeles FSC 35.35 (11) 53.57 (12) 88.92
12 Cora DeWyre, Ice House Skating Academy / Jacob Nussle, Ice House Skating Academy 27.56 (12) 57.88 (11) 85.44
13 Juliette Erickson, SC of Boston / Nathan Grundhofer, St. Moritz ISC 24.67 (13) 40.19 (13) 64.86

IceNetwork’s recap articles:
Junior Pairs SP by Sora Hwang for IceNetwork

Audrey Lu and Misha Mitrofanov of the Dallas Figure Skating Club ended 2017 on the highest of notes. The talented duo, based in Plano, Texas, made their debut at the U.S. Championships in stunning fashion Sunday night, finishing at the top of the standings in the junior pairs short program.
“There’s some stress relieved,” Mitrofanov said following the performance at Solar4America Ice in San Jose, California. “We know we still have the long program to do, but we felt happy with a good short program.”
“Good” is an understatement for the 60.80-point performance the pair delivered while skating to “Once Upon a December” from the Anastasia soundtrack. In addition to receiving the highest score in the segment, the duo also achieved Level 4 grading and received positive Grades of Execution for six of their seven elements.
DuPage FSC’s Laiken Lockley and Keenan Prochnow, who are looking to improve upon last season’s fifth-place finish at this event, landed in second place by recording a score of 58.67 points for their “Clair de Lune” short, earning five Level 4 marks after opening with a crisp throw triple loop.
Sarah Feng (SC of San Francisco) and TJ Nyman (Broadmoor SC) slotted third in the segment, but remain well within reach of Lockley and Prochnow after scooping up 58.37 points of their own.
Elli Kopmar and Jonah Barrett of the Southwest Florida FSC, the reigning U.S. junior silver medalists, completed the top four by scoring 52.18 points for their “California Dreamin'” program.

Junior Pairs FS by Lynn Rutherford for IceNetwork

Led by clean triple jumps, a solid triple twist and complex lifts, Audrey Lu and Misha Mitrofanov capped their first trip to the U.S. Figure Skating Championships by winning the junior pairs title Tuesday in San Jose. The triumph is even more special when you take into account some of the trials and tribulations the pair has been forced to deal with in recent time.
“I dislocated my shoulder at sectionals last season doing a split twist,” Mitrofanov said. “I got surgery, and it took six months of recovery. I didn’t get back on the ice until March (of 2017).”
“He came back very gradual,” said Aleksey Letov, who coaches the pair in Plano, Texas. “A little skating at first, then more skating, then (lifting) more weight. Step by step. He never got discouraged. It was all about just taking the time.”
While Mitrofanov recovered, Lu worked on her jumps. They returned to competition at Skate Detroit in July, when they impressed U.S. Figure Skating officials enough to earn a Junior Grand Prix assignment.
Now, the injury is in the rear view mirror. Skating to selections from Andrew Lloyd Webber, Lu and Mitrofanov hit a fine triple twist, side-by-side triple salchow combinations and triple toes, an impressive lasso lift and other strong elements. Their only flaw was Lu’s fall on a throw triple loop. Their free skate earned 112.51 points, and they won the crown with 173.31 total points, a new U.S. championships junior pairs record.
“We just did what we do in practice,” Mitrofanov said. “Even if we have a mistake or two, we are able to recover and keep going.”
“We both used to do singles, so we’re pretty confident with the jumps,” Lu said. “Now I also like the lifts a lot.”
Mitrofanov is an experienced pairs skater, but this is Lu’s first partnership.
“At first, everyone was nervous; I was nervous, even though I did pairs before and it was her first time doing pairs,” Mitrofanov said. “Over time, we developed that trust. For lifts, it’s not too difficult, because we have solid technique from our coach.”
Sarah Feng and TJ Nyman opened their free to Maksim Mrvica’s “Hana’s Eyes” with a strong triple twist, and landed triple salchows in perfect unison. They lost ground when they stumbled on the entrance to a throw triple loop and then reset themselves, only to have Feng fall on the landing of the throw. Still, they recovered to land a throw triple salchow, and their 97.20 points gave them 155.57 in total and the silver medal.
“It was the first time they had a lot of pressure going in, and they are very inexperienced as pairs skaters,” said Dalilah Sappenfield, who trains the skaters in Colorado Springs. “It’s only eight months we’ve been doing pairs, so I was very happy with the fight after the trip on the throw loop. They never gave up.”
The skaters have interesting competitive histories. Both competed through juniors in singles, and Nyman won U.S. juvenile and intermediate titles. In 2014, he won juvenile pairs bronze with former partner Sarah Rose; he has also competed with a Theatre on Ice troupe. Skating with Anthony Ponomarenko, Feng won the 2014 novice ice dance bronze medal.
“I know we can do a lot better than what we did today,” Nyman said. “Overall, I am happy with the result, after being together for eight months. We both felt a little shaky, but Dalilah said keep fighting for the program, and we’re here to fight.”
The top two junior pairs bring solid triple jumps to the table, a valuable commodity. Two U.S. pairs spots are available for the 2018 World Junior Figure Skating Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria, in March, and both teams are anxious to leave their respective marks.
“[Sarah] and I are both very strong singles skaters,” Nyman said. “We are here to change the impression of U.S. pairs, the whole ‘Oh, they will never be able to jump’ thing. We want to do that for the rest of our career.”
Laiken Lockley and Keenan Prochnow, who train in Chicago under Rockne Brubaker and Stefania Berton, claimed the bronze medal with a sophisticated program to Yann Tiersen’s “Les Retrouvailles” that included double axels and the finest triple twist of the event. They were third in the free skate and third overall with 153.04 points.
“It was a fight all the way through,” said Lockley, who stepped out of the triple throws. “Throughout the program, we had to refocus and reconnect together. There were some good elements and some rougher ones.”
“It was about relating to each other despite our shakiness and our mistakes throughout the program,” Prochnow said. “Despite that, I think we’re happy with how we skated.”
Nadine Wang and Spencer Howe hit solid triple salchow-double toe combinations in their free, as well as a throw triple salchow, and placed fourth with 135.96 points.

Junior Pairs SP results/protocols
Top 4:
1 Audrey Lu / Misha Mitrofanov, both Dallas FSC 60.80
2 Laiken Lockley / Keenan Prochnow, both DuPage FSC 58.67
3 Sarah Feng, SC of San Francisco / TJ Nyman, Broadmoor SC 58.37
4 Elli Kopmar / Jonah Barrett, both Southwest Florida FSC 52.18
[Link to SP protocols]

Icenetwork’s Photos:
The champions with their medals & coach after the event
SP action photo gallery (top 10 teams)
Free Skate action photo gallery (top 10 teams)

TEAM PROFILES (13 teams listed below in order of their final placement):

Audrey Lu & Misha Mitrofanov
Ages: 15 & 20; 8/30/02 & 6/12/97
Training Town: Plano, TX
Coach: Aleksey Letov, Olga Ganicheva
Choreographer: O. Ganicheva
SP: “Once Upon a December” from Anastasia performed by Deana Carter
FS: “Memory” from Cats & music from Phantom of the Opera
Scores at Sectionals: 57.39(SP)/96.72(FS)/154.11 (M1)
Scores at JGP: 52.94/79.19/132.13 (BLR, 5th) & 51.53/99.12/150.65 (POL, 5th)
Notes: They debuted on the JGP last season as a team team and competed twice on JGP this fall. They withdrew from Midwestern Sectionals (November 2016) due to his injury.
They include two side-by-side triple jumps in their free skate.

Sarah Feng & TJ Nyman
Ages: 18 & 17; 9/2/99 & 4/8/00
Training Town: Colorado Springs, CO
Coach/Choreographer: Dalilah Sappenfield
SP: Fantasy for Violin (Joshua Bell) and Orchestra from the Ladies in Lavender film soundtrack
FS: “Hana’s Eyes” by Maksim Mrvica
Scores at Sectionals: 57.14(SP)/100.78(FS)/157.92 (P1)
Scores at JGP (debut): 42.42/83.56/125.98 (CRO, 8th)
Notes: They are a first year team. He placed 11th in Junior Men at 2017 Nationals and won the Intermediate title in 2015. He won the Juvenile Boys title in 2014 as well as the bronze in Juvenile Pairs with Sarah Rose.
She used to ice dance with Anthony Ponomarenko & they won the bronze in Novice Dance in 2014. He is the male skater featured in USFS’ #WeGetUp TV promo ad.
They include two side-by-side triple jumps in their free skate.

Laiken Lockley & Keenan Prochnow
Ages: 15 & 20; 7/21/02 & 12/31/97
Training Town: Hoffman Estates & Geneva, IL
Coach: Rockne Brubaker, Stefania Berton
Choreographer: S. Berton
SP: Music from “Clair de Lune” by Claude Debussy
FS: Music from Les Retrouvailles by Yann Tiersen
Scores at Sectionals: 57.83(SP)/87.80(FS)/145.63 (M2)
Scores at JGP: 52.64/98.63/151.27 (LAT, 5th) & 51.48/90.51/141.99 (CRO, 5th)
Notes: They debuted on the JGP last season and competed twice on JGP this fall.
They placed 5th in Junior last year and 5th in Novice in 2016.

Nadine Wang & Spencer Howe
Ages: 18 & 21; 2/15/99 & 9/11/96
Training Town: Montreal, Canada
Coach: Bruno Marcotte, Richard Gauthier (Bobby Martin is with them in San Jose)
Choreographer: Julie Marcotte
SP: “Quizas Quizas Quizas” by Andrea Bocelli (duet)
FS: “Flow Like Water” from The Last Airbender soundtrack by James Newton Howard
Scores at Sectionals: 39.06(SP)/76.54(FS)/115.60 (E1)
Notes: They are a first year team. He competed internationally in pairs for Japan (due to his dual citizenship) on the JGP in 2016 and previously competed in singles for the USA on the JGP in 2013 & 2014.
She is new to pairs and qualified (2014-17) for Eastern Sectionals in Junior Ladies. She currently attends McGill University in Montreal and won the bronze at the U.S. Collegiate Championships in August 2017.

Elli Kopmar & Jonah Barrett
Ages: 14 & 20; 11/20/03 & 1/28/97
Training Town: Ellenton, FL
Coach/Choreographer: Jim Peterson, Amanda Evora
SP: “California Dreamin'” by Sia
FS: Music from The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky
Scores at Sectionals: 49.52(SP)/78.76(FS)/128.28 (E2)
Scores at JGP (debut): 43.84/79.18/123.04 (BLR, 7th)
Notes: They are the 2017 Junior silver medalists, 2016 Novice champions and the 2015 Intermediate champions.

Ainsley Peterson & Griffin Schwab
Ages: 15 & 21; 11/29/02 & 6/28/96
Training Town: Aliso Viejo, CA
Coach: Todd Sand, Jenni Meno, Christine Binder
Choreographer: Phillip Mills, C. Binder
SP: “Demons” by Imagine Dragons
FS: Beatles medley (incl. “Carry That Weight”/”The End”)
Scores at Sectionals: 49.26(SP)/85.16(FS)/134.42 (P2)
Notes: They are a first year team. She was the 2017 Novice silver medalist with Kristofer Ogren. He was the 2016 Novice silver medalist with Isabella Gamez.

Sarah Rose & Ian Meyh
Ages: 16 & 17; 4/9/01 & 5/5/00
Training Town: Ellenton, FL
Coach: Jim Peterson, Amanda Evora
Choreographer: J. Peterson
SP: “Sing Sing Sing” by Benny Goodman
FS: Music from the Tangled soundtrack by Alan Menken
Total Score at Sectionals: 39.81(SP)/70.90(FS)/110.71 (E2)
Notes: They are a first year team. Rose won the 2015 Novice silver medal, competed on the JGP, and represented Team USA at the 2016 Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway, winning a gold medal in the Mixed Team event with with her previous partner, Joseph Goodpaster.
Meyh was the 2016 Juvenile pewter medalist with Jenna Gordon in 2016.

Evelyn Grace Hanns & Kristofer Ogren
Ages: 17 & 21; 5/31/00 & 5/8/96
Training Town: Colorado Springs, CO
Coach: Dalilah Sappenfield, Larry Ibarra
Choreographer: D. Sappenfield
SP: “Dream a Little Dream of Me” performed by Michael Buble
FS: “Song from a Secret Garden” by Secret Garden
Scores at Sectionals: 46.38(SP)/78.76(FS)/125.14 (M3)
They are a first year team. He was the 2017 Novice silver medalist with Ainsley Peterson. She is new to pairs.

Meiryla Findley & Matthew Rounis
Ages: 16 & 21; 6/6/01 & 5/23/96
Training Town: Colorado Springs, CO
Coach/Choreographer: Dalilah Sappenfield
SP: “Don’t Panic” by Coldplay
FS: Music from the Pearl Harbor film soundtrack by Hans Zimmer
Scores at Sectionals: 40.80(SP)/79.36(FS)/120.16 (P3)
Notes: They are a first year team. He placed 11th in Junior with Jillian Smart last year. She was the 2016 Novice bronze medalist with Austin Hale.

Eliana Secunda & Blake Eisenach
Ages: 18 & 17; 12/19/99; 4/19/00
Training Town: Westminster, CO
Coach: Robyn Sudkamp, George Selimos, Cindy Sullivan
Choreographer: Catarina Lindgren
SP: “Maybe I, Maybe You” by The Scorpions
FS: Music from the Black Swan film soundtrack by Clint Mansell (Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake)
Scores at Sectionals: 44.80(SP)/75.31(FS)/120.11 (M4)
They are the 2017 Novice pewter medalists and the 2016 Intermediate silver medalists.

Sapphire Jaeckel & Matthew Scoralle
Ages: 16 & 20; 7/30/01; 4/29/97
Training Town: Artesia, CA
Coach/Choreographer: Peter Oppegard
SP: “Tango D’Amor” by Tango Jointz
FS: Adagio Act II from The Red Poppy by Reinhold Gliere
Scores at Sectionals: 36.82(SP)/62.44(FS)/99.26 (P4)
Notes: They were the 2016 Novice bronze medalists and Novice 9th in 2015.

Cora DeWyre & Jacob Nussle
Ages: 15 & 22; 12/15/02 & 11/19/95
Training Town: Hartland & Bloomfield Hills, MI
Coach: Michelle Hunt, Craig Joeright
Choreographer: Laura Lepzinski, Piercyn Hunt
SP: “Another Day of Sun” from the La La Land film soundtrack by Justin Hurwitz
FS: “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen
Scores at Sectionals: 37.25(SP)/62.76(FS)/100.01 (M5)
They placed 8th in Novice last year and 12th in Novice in 2016.

Juliette Erickson & Nathan Grundhofer
Ages: 18 & 25; 10/15/99 & 3/16/92
Training Town: San Jose, CA
Coach/Choreographer: David Delago
SP: Frank Sinatra medley
FS: “The Strength of the Righteous” from The Untouchables film soundtrack by Ennio Morricone
Scores at Sectionals: 30.02(SP)/53.84(FS)/83.86 (P5)
Notes: They previously placed 6th at Pacific Coast Sectionals in November 2016.
This is the first time competing at “big” Nationals for both skaters.
Sherri Krahne-Thomas and Rudy Galindo sat in the kiss & cry with them in San Jose.

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2018 U.S. Nationals: Intermediate events

Posted by unseenskaters on December 31, 2017

INTERMEDIATE EVENT ARTICLES & PHOTOS (links will open a new window):
Intermediate Short Programs recap article by Michael Terry

The opening day of the 2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships took place Friday in San Jose, California, with skaters and teams on the intermediate level placing themselves in podium position entering their respective free skates. In the ladies discipline, Indi Cha owns a slim lead over Arianna Concepcion, while Maxim Zharkov paces the men’s field, and Zoe Larson and Nick Hubbart hold the pairs advantage.
Intermediate Ladies
Cha’s first-time jitters appeared to disappear thanks to her impressive display Friday in San Jose. The talented Skating Club of Boston representative dazzled the crowd to take a slim lead in her second straight appearance at the U.S. Championships.
“Last year, I was really nervous and kind of got in my head a little too much,” Cha said of her ninth-place finish in the juvenile ladies competition last year. “This year, I feel like I’ve got it down.”
Coming off a win at both the New England Regional Championships and Eastern Sectional Championships, Cha’s confidence is well earned. She opened her Spirited Away short program with a solid triple flip-double toe loop combination, while also delivering a sound triple loop, double axel and two Level 4 spins for a segment score of 47.28.
Arianna Concepcion of the Colonial FSC sits a mere 0.21 points behind Cha, while Alyssa Chan of the Dallas Figure Skating Club stands in third with 45.98 points. Skating Club of Oregon’s Alena Budko rounds out the top four with 43.96 points.
Intermediate Men’s
Zharkov (Dallas FSC) accrued 45.67 points for his short program, which was set to “Yablochko” by Reinhold Glière. Landing four jumps in his program — including an opening triple lutz-double toe loop — Zharkov also garnered Level 4 grading for his spin, which helped him secure more than a two-point lead entering Saturday’s free skate.
“It was pretty good, I guess,” Zharkov said shortly after completing his program. “I’m feeling really confident heading into [tomorrow’s free skate].”
Matthew Nielsen of the Strongsville SC slotted into second place after earning 43.22 points for his Maroon 5 short program, one that included an opening triple salchow as well as a triple toe loop-double toe loop combination.
Wenatchee FSC’s Liam Kapeikis is in third place with 41.28 points, with Joseph Klein (Skokie Valley SC) sitting fourth with 41.26 points. The top six skaters in the intermediate men’s field are all within six points of the leader.
Intermediate Pairs
Larson and Hubbart lead the way with 39.27 points after their Once Upon a Time in Mexico short program proved strong enough for the top marks in the discipline. Perhaps most impressive, however, is that the pair will take a 0.85-point lead into Saturday’s free skate in just their second competition as a team.
“We teamed up in August, so everything’s been a little bit rushed for us,” Larson said. “This is shocking, definitely, but we’re excited.”
The Champions’ Edge Skating Club representatives, who placed second at the Eastern Sectional Championships, received Level 4 grading for their final two elements — a pairs spin and group four pairs lift — but it was their program component score of 18.86 that provided separation from the rest of the field.
Cate Fleming and Jedidiah Isbell (SC of Boston) earned the highest TES of the day, bagging 20.51 points for side-by-side double lutzes, while also executing six elements free of negative GOEs. Their energetic swing performance showed impressive speed, helping to place the eastern sectional gold medalists less than one point out of first with a segment mark of 38.42.
Katie Luong and Nathan Luong of the San Diego FSC hold the third spot with 31.38 points, while Sydney Flaum (Broadmoor SC) and Cayden McKenzie-Cook (Orange County FSC) find themselves in fourth place with 26.05 points.

Intermediate Ladies/Men/Pairs medalists’ recap article by U.S. Figure Skating

Indi Cha, Maxim Zharkov, and Zoe Larson and Nick Hubbart won intermediate titles on the second day of competition at the 2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose, California.
Intermediate Ladies
Cha is bringing a gold medal back to the Skating Club of Boston — and she’s doing it while brimming with joy.
“I’m so happy. I feel like it’s a great way to end the season,” said the newly minted U.S. intermediate ladies champion, still beaming after hearing her title-clinching scores: 84.45 for her La La Land free skate and 131.73 overall. “It was a day to remember, for sure.”
Cha smiled on the ice as she landed three triple jumps and seven doubles, and completed two Level 4 spins.
“The whole time, I was just like, ‘Breathe, Indi. Just breathe. Keep going. It’s not over until it’s over,'” she said.
Alyssa Chan (Dallas FSC) finished third in both the short program and the free skate, but with a total score of 128.31, she won the silver medal in her first trip to the U.S. championships.
Arianna Concepcion, runner-up in the short program, faltered in her Charlie Chaplin free skate, singling an intended triple toe and missing a double loop at the end of a planned three-jump combination. However, with the highest program component mark of the night (37.94), Concepcion hung on to claim bronze with 126.24 total points.
SC of Oregon’s Alena Budko won the pewter (124.64 points).
Intermediate Men’s
Zharkov ran away with his first U.S. title by a whopping 12.67 points Saturday night at Solar4America Ice.
“It feels pretty good,” Zharkov said. “I felt a little shaky (during the free skate) but more confident than nervous.”
Zharkov’s 2.45-point lead after the short program served as a confidence booster heading into the free skate. Performing to “Carmen Suite,” the Dallas Figure Skating Club representative earned 85.15 points on the day, thanks in large part to the four triple jumps and two double axels he landed. He finished the competition with 130.82 points.
Strongsville SC’s Matthew Nielsen overcame a fall in his contemporary free skate to Sam Smith’s “Writing on the Wall” to hold onto second place with a total of 118.15.
Liam Kapeikis (Wenatchee FSC) finished third with 116.91 points, while William Annis of Yarmouth Ice Club rallied from sixth place after the short to clinch the pewter with a total of 116.85.
Intermediate Pairs
Larson and Hubbart rose to the top of the national standings after being together for just four months.
Teaming up at the end of August, the pair gelled quickly under the direction of their coaching team in Wesley Chapel, Florida: Silvia Fontana, John Zimmerman and Jeremy Barrett, all national titlists and Olympians in their own competitive careers.
“We definitely owe what we’re able to do to our work off ice,” Larson said. “John Zimmerman and Jeremy Barrett’s off-ice classes are brutal, but they pay off.”
Skating their free skate to music by Sergei Rachmaninoff, the duo commanded the ice, rising to the demands of the powerful score that was further enhanced by a French composer who helped create this particular rendition. With two clean throws and three Level 4 elements, they earned a personal-best segment score of 73.28.
“That’s just crazy, for us and for intermediate,” Larson said. “A 73? We’re thrilled.”
Bringing a 0.85-point lead into the free skate, the Floridians held on to the top spot by an even slimmer margin, finishing the competition with 112.55 points — just 0.27 ahead of silver medalists Cate Fleming and Jedidiah Isbell, who won the free skate with a score of 73.86.
Fleming and Isbell, who placed seventh in this event last season, grabbed the silver medal with a strong yet effortless skate that perfectly matched their music, a piece of Gregorian chant called “Now We Are Free.” They received positive Grades of Execution on nine of their 10 elements, and they finished the week with 112.28 points.
Katie Luong and Nathan Luong took home bronze, a marked improvement from their ninth-place finish in the event last season. They earned 60.94 points for their free skate, which included side-by-side double lutz-double toe combinations, and 92.32 points overall.
Sydney Flaum and Cayden McKenzie-Cook held onto fourth place with a segment score of 51.61, bringing their overall total to 77.66.

San Jose Mercury News Intermediates article (focus on Kate Wang, Ava Stephens)
ClevelandSkating.com’s Jan. 4th article on Intermediate Men’s silver medalist Matthew Nielsen
Intermediate Ladies/Men/Pairs action & podium photos
Intermediate Pattern Dances recap article by Lynn Rutherford for IceNetwork

As intermediate ice dancers presented their tango and Fourteenstep pattern dances in San Jose on Monday, the talk was all about key points — the prescribed turns, edges and steps technical panels review when awarding levels.
And how to balance the intense focus on those specific movements, while still expressing the character of the dances, is the challenge.
“You spend a lot of time in this judging system trying to get the calls so the technical specialist gives the points, but you don’t want to lose the ice dance aspect of it,” said coach Robert Peal, whose children, Elliana and Ethan, placed third.
Andrei Davydov, who leads the event with partner Claire Cain, thinks it’s all a matter of repetition.
“At a certain point, it becomes muscle memory to do the key points, and once that’s done, you can only focus on expression,” Davydov said. “That’s the best way to get the most points possible.”
Cain and Davydov, who train at Maryland’s Wheaton Ice Skating Academy (WISA), were first in the tango and second in the Fourteenstep, which they inventively skated to an instrumental version of Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust.” Their combined 47.49 points gave them a 1.61-point lead heading into the free dance.
“We really tried to get our key points, and tried to get our expression at the same time, so we could perform to the audience,” Cain said.
“The tango went very well; we got almost all of our key points,” Davydov said. “We are a little upset didn’t get one of the mohawk (steps).”
As usual, WISA is well represented at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, with ice dance couples at all levels of competition — so many, in fact, that Cain and Davydov have lost count.
“There are three juvenile couples, one intermediate couple, which is us, two novice couples…,” Davydov said.
“There’s a ton junior,” Cain added. (Five junior WISA teams will compete in San Jose.)
“…and two seniors,” Davydov continued. “It’s really nice to work with them. We get to look at people at higher levels than us and say, ‘I really like that,’ and add the moves to our own dances.”
Anna Gissibl and Alexander Colucci placed second in the tango and first in the Fourteenstep to take second place with 45.88 points.
“The first pattern of the tango was good, but I rushed my key point in the second one a little bit,” Colucci said.
“We had good flow in the Fourteenstep,” Gissibl said.
The couple, who train under Slava Uchitel in Philadelphia, teamed up last May. They aspire to someday compete as seniors at the U.S. championships.
“Our goal is to see it through together to the end,” Colucci said.
The Peal siblings, who are based in the Chicago area, ranked third in both pattern dances and enter the free dance with 43.61 points. Their Fourteenstep, set to a patriotic march, was especially light and lively.
“I enjoy the Fourteenstep a little more than the tango,” Elliana said. “I can get more expression out of it, and more speed and energy.”
“Key points are a big part of the dance, and we try to balance it out without losing the artistry,” Ethan said. “We work a lot on trying to get the calls and still enjoy the dance.”
Nastia Efimova and Jonathan Zhao were fourth in both pattern dances and earned 40.00 points.

Intermediate Free Dance [by Elvin Walker for IceNetwork]
Tuesday was a big day for the Peal family.
Robert Peal, the 1991 U.S. junior ice dance champion, witnessed his children, Elliana and Ethan — whom he also coaches — capture a title of their own: the 2018 U.S. intermediate dance crown.
“This was by far more difficult than competing myself,” the Peal family patriarch said. “I’ve been teaching them for years, and my heart is almost literally beating out of my chest when they compete. I can’t do anything to help them when they are out there. They are all on their own.”
Fortunately for their dad, Peal’s offspring were up to the challenge today. Elliana and Ethan turned in a tongue-in-cheek performance to music by Harry Belafonte, making full use of the playful Calypso rhythm and lyrics.
“That was amazing,” Ethan said. “I’m in shock. It’s nice to have moments like this and to really enjoy them.”
Peal and Peal earned Level 4’s on all but one element, the diagonal step sequence, and finished the free dance with 52.40 points. Their total competition score of 96.01 was almost four and a half points more than that of the silver medalists, Claire Cain and Andrei Davydov.
“All of our hard work throughout the year paid off today,” Elliana said through a large smile. “It’s nice to know that it’s all worthwhile.”
Cain and Davydov slipped from atop the leaderboard to finish in second place after a disappointing free dance to music by Secret Garden.
“Our expression and skating skills were good, but we were a little off,” Cain explained. “We usually don’t do that bad in practice, even if we do make mistakes once in a while.”
The duo made miscues on their combination spin and twizzles, leaving the door open for Peal and Peal to take the title.
“It was good for the most part, but we messed up a few elements,” Davydov conceded. “We touched down on the transition of the spin, and I stumbled on the twizzles.”
Cain and Davydov had the fourth-best free dance of the competition, earning 44.10 points, and finished with 91.59 points overall.
Finishing with the bronze medals were Anna Gissibl and Alexander Colucci, who skated a lively number to music from the musical Hairspray.
“I feel good right now,” Colucci said. “I bobbled the twizzles, and I think that was because I was nervous, but otherwise I felt like it was a strong performance.”
Despite the error on the twizzles, Gissibl and Colucci still earned 44.86 points for their program, and 90.74 points overall.
Nastia Efimova and Jonathan Zhao placed second in the free dance but could not overcome the deficit they faced from the pattern dances earlier in the week and finished fourth.

Intermediate Dance action & podium photos

INTERMEDIATE LADIES
GOLD – Indi Cha, SC of Boston 47.28 (1) 84.45 (1) 131.73
SILVER – Alyssa Chan, Dallas FSC 45.98 (3) 82.33 (3) 128.31
BRONZE – Arianna Concepcion, Colonial FSC 47.07 (2) 79.17 (5) 126.24
PEWTER – Alena Budko, SC of Oregon 43.96 (4) 80.68 (4) 124.64

5 Kate Wang, SC of San Francisco 40.17 (7) 82.98 (2) 123.15 (skated 1st & landed two triple Lutzes in FS)
6 Samantha Liker, DuPage FSC 39.55 (8) 70.60 (7) 110.15
7 Ava Stephens, Peninsula SC 32.75 (11) 72.36 (6) 105.11
8 Courtney Phillips, All Year FSC 37.83 (9) 64.91 (8) 102.74
9 Emily Zhang, SC of New York, Inc. New York, NY 42.10 (5) 60.56 (10) 102.66
10 Haley Scott, First Coast FSC 36.40 (10) 64.15 (9) 100.55
11 Ava Raiter, Broadmoor SC 40.82 (6) 54.68 (11) 95.50
WD (after SP) Isabelle Inthisone, DuPage FSC 26.80 (12)
[SP protocols are linked from here] | [FS protocols are linked from here]

INTERMEDIATE MEN
GOLD – Maxim Zharkov, Dallas FSC 45.67 (1) 85.15 (1) 130.82
SILVER – Matthew Nielsen, Strongsville SC 43.22 (2) 74.93 (4) 118.15
BRONZE – Liam Kapeikis, Wenatchee FSC 41.28 (3) 75.63 (3) 116.91
PEWTER – William Annis, Yarmouth Ice Club 40.38 (6) 76.47 (2) 116.85
 
5 Zachary Yaninek, Hershey FSC 40.56 (5) 69.60 (5) 110.16
6 Joseph Klein, Skokie Valley SC 41.26 (4) 68.63 (6) 109.89
7 Daniel Tioumentsev, Albuquerque FSC 36.89 (8) 61.18 (7) 98.07
8 Samir Mallya, Los Angeles FSC 37.23 (7) 59.54 (8) 96.77
9 Robert Yampolsky, North Jersey FSC 36.32 (9) 55.99 (9) 92.31
10 Lawrence Winters, Wasatch FSC 31.16 (11) 53.49 (10) 84.65
11 Haydn Gock, Princeton SC 31.51 (10) 48.81 (11) 80.32
12 Ian Ramsey, Peninsula SC 28.45 (12) 48.00 (12) 76.45
[SP protocols are linked from here] | [FS protocols are linked from here]

INTERMEDIATE PAIRS
GOLD – Zoe Larson, Champions’ Edge SC / Nick Hubbart, Champions’ Edge SC 39.27 (1 SP) 73.28 (2 FS) 112.55 (Total)
SILVER – Cate Fleming, SC of Boston / Jedidiah Isbell, SC of Boston 38.42 (2) 73.86 (1) 112.28
BRONZE – Katie Luong, San Diego FSC / Nathan Luong, San Diego FSC 31.38 (3) 60.94 (3) 92.32
PEWTER – Sydney Flaum, Broadmoor SC / Cayden McKenzie-Cook, Orange County FSC 26.05 (4) 51.61 (4) 77.66

5 Anastasia Lestina, Pittsburgh FSC / Benjamin McLemore, Pittsburgh FSC 25.02 (6) 47.46 (5) 72.48
6 Kayla Black, Seattle SC / Kamden Black, Seattle SC 25.73 (5) 45.65 (6) 71.38
7 Carolyn Bartel, Los Angeles FSC / Alfred Bartel, Los Angeles FSC 21.12 (8) 38.27 (7) 59.39
8 Emerson Stein, Los Angeles FSC / Blake Edwards, All Year FSC 21.17 (7) 38.20 (8) 59.37
[SP protocols are linked from here] | [FS protocols are linked from here]

INTERMEDIATE DANCE (Pattern Dances on Mon. 1/1/18; Free Dance on Tue. 1/2/18)
GOLD – Elliana Peal / Ethan Peal, both Skokie Valley SC 43.61 (3) 52.40 (1) 96.01
SILVER – Claire Cain / Andrei Davydov, both Washington FSC 47.49 (1) 44.10 (4) 91.59
BRONZE – Anna Gissibl, Philadelphia SC & HS / Alexander Colucci, Peninsula SC 45.88 (2) 44.86 (3) 90.74
PEWTER – Nastia Efimova / Jonathan Zhao, both Triangle FSC 40.00 (4) 46.48 (2) 86.48

5 Maria Brown / Marius Driscoll, both Pavilion SC of Cleveland Heights 38.50 (5) 40.18 (8) 78.68
6 Alexandra Johnston / Maxim Zharkov, both Dallas FSC 35.53 (7) 42.33 (5) 77.86
7 Sabrina Foti, All Year FSC / Christian Bennett, FSC of Charlotte 35.86 (6) 40.77 (6) 76.63
8 Kelsey Schaub, IceWorks SC / Anthony Haddad, All Year FSC (8) 35.12 40.64 (7) 75.76
9 Hope Noelle Lassiter, Lone Star FSC / Luke Anderson, St. Peters FSA 29.12 (9) 33.57 (9) 62.69
10 Raffaella Koncius, Kent Valley FSC / Dane Ayers, Coyotes SC of Arizona 26.31 (10) 27.85 (11) 54.16
11 Isabella Alexis, Arctic FSC / Ethan Alday, All Year FSC 22.89 (11) 30.19 (10) 53.08
[Visit Ice-Dance.com for team profiles]

—–

PRE-NATIONALS ARTICLES & PUBLICITY:
Zachary Yaninek (CBS Harrisburg PA article)
Liam Kapeikis (iFiberOne Columbia Basin WA news)
Haydn Gock (Princeton NJ Packet)
Ava Stephens (San Jose CA Mercury News)
Arianna Concepcion (Lowell Mass. Sun)
Isabelle Inthisone (Little Laos on the Prairie blog)

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2018 U.S. Nationals: Juvenile events

Posted by unseenskaters on December 31, 2017

2018 U.S. JUVENILE EVENT ARTICLES & PHOTOS (links will open a new window):
Juvenile Girls/Boys/Pairs medalists’ recap article by Sora Hwang for IceNetwork

The first medals of the 2018 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships were awarded Friday at Solar4America Ice in San Jose, California. Isabeau Levito of the Skating Club of New Jersey took home the gold in the juvenile girls discipline, with Keita Horiko and the pairs team of Natasha Mishkutionok and Daniel Tioumentsev winning top honor in the boys and pairs fields, respectively.
Juvenile Girls
In a solid event that featured nine deduction-free performances, it was Levito who came out on top with a fierce and feisty performance worth 65.38 points. The 10-year-old, who featured a double axel in her Spanish-themed program, captured the title in her first taste of the U.S. Championships after failing to advance past sectionals last season.
“For me, the only way I’m going to land that double axel is if I go full attack, especially right before I take off,” Levito said. “That’s what really works for me. That’s how I feel good out there.”
The eastern sectional silver medalist showed exquisite extensions and impressive transitions in and out of five jumping passes, including her double axel-half loop-double flip jump series.
Finishing second to Levito with 63.88 points was Clara Kim of the Washington Figure Skating Club. Performing to music by Jennifer Thomas, the 12-year-old displayed a calm strength throughout her debut performance at this event, completing two double axels (one in combination with a double toe loop), and two Level 4 spins.
Macie Rolf took home the bronze medal after finishing less than a point behind Kim with a mark of 63.46. The Illinois Valley Figure Skating Club representative commanded the ice during her “Danse Macabre” program, displaying impressive speed in and out of her elements, including her double axel-double loop combination. She finished 8.71 points ahead of Madeline Park, who grabbed the pewter medal with 54.75 points.
Juvenile Boys
Thanks to a tremendous performance, Horiko was able to find Neverland! In his first trip to the U.S. Championships, the New York native won the juvenile boys title by delivering a solid rendition of his Peter Pan free skate. Representing the Ice House of New Jersey Figure Skating Club, Horiko skated to victory after completing seven double jumps, including two double axels and two Level 4 spins, which helped him collect 54.35 points.
He also executed one of his double axels in an impressive three-jump combination with a single and double loop.
“I felt proud of my performance,” Horiko said, with a gold medal hanging around his neck. “It was a good experience. I’m happy.”
Runner-up Jacob Sanchez of the Hudson Valley Figure Skating Club embodied Fred Astaire to jumpstart the event with his free skate to Club des Belugas’ remix of “Puttin’ on the Ritz.” He received seven positive Grades of Execution out of a possible eight elements, with his performance — which also featured seven double jumps — strong enough to earn 51.77 points and the silver medal.
Dallas Figure Skating Club’s Nhat-Viet Nguyen opened his free skate to “Eye” by Coba with a double axel, which helped the youngster win the bronze medal with 49.31 points. Andriy Kratyuk, who finished one-tenth of a point behind Nguyen, landed in fourth place.
Juvenile Pairs
Mishkutionok of Dallas FSC and Tioumentsev of Albuquerque FSC performed a clean program to Russian gypsy music en route to claiming a score of 48.63 and the juvenile pairs title. The pair received positive GOEs across the board, including high marks for their double lutz-double toe loop combination. Their opening lift and ending pairs spin each received a Level 4 as well.
“We train hard to get clean programs,” Tioumentsev, a high school sophomore in Monument, Colorado, said shortly after leaving the ice. “It’s a great accomplishment for us.”
Nadia Wang and Jaden Schwab, both representing the St. Paul FSC, earned the silver medal with 43.58 points. Like the champions, they finished with all positive GOEs, with their pairs spin receiving Level 4 grading.
Claiming bronze with 42.30 points was the team of Dalila DeLaura (SC of New York) and Ryan Xie (SC of Central New Jersey), while Southwest Florida FSC’s Megan Voigt and Levon Davis finished fourth with 41.39 points.

Juvenile singles/pairs/dance medalists’ action & podium photos (IceNetwork)
Juvenile pattern dances recap article on top 4 teams by Lynn Rutherford for IceNetwork

Jenna Hauer and Benjamin Starr won both pattern dances to take a convincing six-point lead in juvenile ice dance, held Sunday at Solar4America Ice in San Jose, California.
The bubbly youngsters scored 21.96 points for an elegant fox trot, followed by 19.02 points for a sassy cha cha. They take 40.98 points into Monday’s free dance.
“I think it was it was pretty nice, but I don’t think we got a few of our key points, though,” Starr, 13, said after the cha cha.
“Key points,” awarded when ice dancers hit the precise edges, steps and turns in the prescribed patterns, help the skaters earn higher levels for elements and boost their scores. Youngsters talked of them repeatedly on Sunday.
“We’ve just really worked hard on the key points, especially for the cha cha,” Hauer, 12, said. “We want to make it less choppy.”
“Jenna and I have both started to devote our lives and a lot of time to this,” Starr added. “It’s really fun.”
The skaters teamed up on June 10, when Hauer moved to Connecticut to skate with Starr.
“They have improved a lot since sectionals, they’ve worked very hard,” said Svetlana Kulikova, who with Denys Latyshev trains the couple at rinks in Cromwell and Simsbury. “I think they felt very confident today and are very happy with what they did. We won the fox trot already a few times this season, but the cha cha was maybe a little bit harder for them.”
Kristina Bland and Gabriel Francis, who train at Detroit Skating Club in Anjelika Krylova’s group, were third in the fox trot and second in the cha cha. They stand second with 34.85 points.
Zoe Sensenbrenner and Matthew Sperry opened with a solid fox trot that earned 20.96 points and second place, but were not as strong in the cha cha, where they placed ninth. Despite this, they sit third overall with 34.70 points.
The skaters train at the Wheaton Ice Skating Academy (WISA) in Maryland, where they share the ice with several fellow juvenile couples as well as higher ranked teams.
“We learn a lot each practice session,” Sperry, 15, said. “Our coaches give corrections to other teams about their key points, and we can also apply them.”
“My favorite part (about pattern dances) is trying to figure out what the different kinds of music are about,” Sensenberger, 11, said. “The fox trot is more formal, and the cha cha is lively and playful.”
Another WISA team, Olivia Ilin and Dylan Cain — just eight and nine years old, respectively — earned 33.83 points for their two dances and are fourth heading into the free dance.
“I have a lot of expression, and I like to show who’s the boss out on the ice,” said Ilin, whose father Dymitri is one of the team’s coaches. “I tell him what to do.”
“Yes, she does,” Cain said. “We cooperate with each other.”

Juvenile free dance recap article by Lynn Rutherford for IceNetwork

Jenna Hauer and Benjamin Starr’s light and charming free dance to the soundtrack of the romantic 2011 French film The Artist won high praise from judges Monday at the 2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, earning the couple 42.86 points and helping them crush the competition on their way to winning the juvenile dance title.
When added to their scores from the two pattern dances, the Connecticut-based skaters ended with 83.84 points, putting them more than 14 points clear of their closest competitors.
“I felt it was amazing today,” an exuberant Starr, 13, said. “The improvement over sectionals was enormous, and I’m very proud of Jenna.”
“It was definitely our best skate this season,” a more subdued, but still happy, Hauer, 12, said.
The playful yet poignant score of The Artist helped highlight some solid elements, including two Level 4 lifts and a Level 4 twizzle sequence.
“I feel like the music really worked for the kids because it told a story,” the team’s coach, Svetlana Kulikova, said. “When you choose a soundtrack, you can have some slow selections and fast selections, and they are all related to each other and it feels like a cohesive whole.”
Teamed in early June 2017 by Kulikova, who trains the couple with Denys Latyshev, the youngsters have been battle tested by a busy competition and training schedule.
“We definitely had to be very speedy doing the choreography,” Kulikova said. “They skated (together) for about 10 days, and then we went to Chesapeake ice dance camp and three weeks later to Lake Placid (Ice Dance Championships). Jenna did solo (dance) in Lake Placid and won that, and then Ben competed (singles) in regionals; there was a lot going on. It was good for them to learn how to perform and cope with a lot of things.”
“They are a very good team, they support each other, and that’s what they did here today,” Latyshev said.
Many couples below Hauer and Starr finished with similar free dance scores, and pattern dance totals ended up determining medals.
Zoe Sensenbrenner and Matthew Sperry performed a stylish free dance to music from Zorba the Greek, one that was highlighted by a well-executed Level 4 straight line lift. Although their 34.81 points put them fourth in the segment, the Wheaton Ice Skating Academy (WISA) products picked up the silver (69.51 points).
“The lifts went well today,” Sperry, 15, said. “It was lots of fun.”
“The twizzles were good, too, but we could have had a higher level,” Sensenbrenner, 11, said.
Alexei Kiliakov, one of the founders of WISA, praised Sensenbrenner and Sperry for how quickly they have gelled.
“This is a brand new team, this is their first season, and they did a great improvement from scratch,” he said. “Everyone is unique, and we try to help them give everything they have. Matthew is a very emotional young man, in a good way, and Zoe is a very classy young lady.”
Fittingly, Kristina Bland and Gabriel Francis, who train at the Detroit Skating Club in Anjelika Krylova’s group, performed their free dance to a Motown medley featuring Michael Jackson hits. They placed sixth in the free, but on the strrength of their pattern dance scores, they took the bronze medal with 68.59 total points.
The youngsters belonged to the same synchronized skating team, and paired up to do ice dance two years ago.
“I had a lot of fun, and I tried my best,” Bland, 13, said. “We pushed our hardest.”
“The lifts were good,” Francis, 14, said. “She knows she can trust me, and I trust her, so we work together well.”
Krylova, who choreographed the routine, advocates lighter music for younger skaters.
“At this level, it’s fun to do some dancey music,” Krylova said. “Some of the senior music is too boring, classical and slow. This makes it more fun for the audience to watch.”
Boston skaters Emma L’Esperance and Mika Amdour gained third place in the free dance and finished fourth overall.

JUVENILE GIRLS
GOLD – Isabeau Levito, SC Of Southern New Jersey (65.38)
SILVER – Clara Kim, Washington FSC (63.83)
BRONZE – Macie Rolf, Illinois Valley FSC (63.46)
PEWTER – Madeleine Park, Los Angeles FSC (54.75)

5 Sue Zhang, Great Neck FSC (54.43)
6 Hannah Byers, Washington FSC (53.77)
7 Elizabeth Hong, Pasadena FSC (53.50)
8 Morgan Heavrin, FSC Of Park City (53.34)
9 Bridget Isaly, Broadmoor SC (51.20)
10 Ellie Kam, Broadmoor SC (46.34)
11 Ashlynne Lee, Los Angeles FSC (45.75)
12 Emilie Mao, Dallas FSC (44.43)
[Protocols are linked from here]

JUVENILE BOYS
GOLD – Keita Horiko, Ice House Of New Jersey FSC (54.35)
SILVER – Jacob Sanchez, Hudson Valley FSC (51.77)
BRONZE – Nhat-Viet Nguyen, Dallas FSC (49.31)
PEWTER – Andriy Kratyuk, SC of Oregon (49.21)

5 Ethan Kohn, Pines FSC 48.64
6 Matthew Grossman, Champions’ Edge SC (47.91)
7 Timothy Bergal, Central Iowa FSC (47.14)
8 Ethan Peal, Skokie Valley SC (45.85)
9 Mikah Tong, South Bay FSC (43.04)
10 Andy Deng, Fort Wayne ISC (41.99)
11 Sergei Evseev, All Year FSC (41.61)
12 Allan Fisher, All Year FSC (36.07)
[Protocols are linked from here]

JUVENILE PAIRS
GOLD – Natasha Mishkutionok, Dallas FSC / Daniel Tioumentsev, Albuquerque FSC (48.63)
SILVER – Nadia Wang, St. Paul FSC / Jaden Schwab, St. Paul FSC (43.58)
BRONZE – Dalila DeLaura, SC of New York / Ryan Xie, SC of Central New Jersey (42.30)
PEWTER – Megan Voigt, Southwest Florida FSC / Levon Davis, Southwest Florida FSC (41.39)

5 Caitlin Levine, Colonial FSC / Bryan Lehmann, Yarmouth Ice Club (39.91)
6 Annie Bai, St. Paul FSC / Andrew Bai, St. Paul FSC (33.66)
7 Hailey Sundstrom, Fort Wayne ISC / Andy Deng, Fort Wayne ISC (33.40)
8 Sylvia Wong, All Year FSC / Zachary LoPinto, SC of New York (32.38)
9 Ashley Stark, San Diego FSC / Aiden Elswick, San Diego FSC (32.26)
10 Allison Kim, Peninsula SC / Ethan Musladin, St. Moritz ISC (31.69)
11 Isabella Costa, Niagara University SC / Noah Lafornara, Niagara University SC 27.71
12 Julie Dupont, All Year FSC / Theodore Dupont, All Year FSC 26.71
[Protocols are linked from here]

JUVENILE ICE DANCE
GOLD – Jenna Hauer, SC of Wilmington / Benjamin Starr, Charter Oak FSC 40.98 (1) 42.86 (1) 83.84
SILVER – Zoe Sensenbrenner, Peninsula SC / Matthew Sperry, SC of Northern Virginia 34.70 (3) 34.81 (4) 69.51
BRONZE – Kristina Bland, Detroit SC / Gabriel Francis, Detroit SC 34.85 (2) 33.74 (6) 68.59
PEWTER – Emma L’Esperance, SC of Boston / Mika Amdour, SC of Boston 32.69 (5) 35.79 (3) 68.48

5 Macy Halim, Amherst SC / Noah Lafornara, Niagara University SC 31.08 (7) 36.89 (2) 67.97
6 Olivia Ilin, Washington FSC / Dylan Cain, Washington FSC 33.83 (4) 33.69 (7) 67.52
7 Avery Weishaus, Detroit SC / Laurent Sainte-Marie, Detroit SC 32.41 (6) 34.50 (5) 66.91
8 Amber Clift, St. Paul FSC / Marcellus Krueger, St. Paul FSC 28.85 (8) 31.20 (9) 60.05
9 Julia Epps, IceWorks SC / Blake Gilman, Peninsula SC 27.14 (9) 28.28 (11) 55.42
10 Veronica Chunikhin, Peninsula SC / Maxim Korotcov, Washington FSC 24.57 (10) 29.25 (10) 53.82
11 Saige Chaseley, Skokie Valley SC / Aidan Bell, Skokie Valley SC 20.61 (11) 32.54 (8) 53.15
12 Juliana Newton, St. Moritz ISC / Evan Mullins, Stockton FSC 20.11 (12) 24.86 (12) 44.97

JUVENILE DANCE standings after 2 Pattern Dances:
1 Jenna Hauer, SC of Wilmington / Benjamin Starr, Charter Oak FSC 1 21.96 1 19.02 40.98
2 Kristina Bland, Detroit SC / Gabriel Francis, Detroit SC 17.69 (3) 17.16 (2) 34.85
3 Zoe Sensenbrenner, Peninsula SC / Matthew Sperry, SC of Northern Virginia 20.96 (2) 13.74 (9) 34.70
4 Olivia Ilin, Washington FSC / Dylan Cain, Washington FSC 17.51 (4) 16.32 (3) 33.83
5 Emma L’Esperance, SC of Boston / Mika Amdour, SC of Boston 17.07 (6) 15.62 (4) 32.69
6 Avery Weishaus, Detroit SC / Laurent Sainte-Marie, Detroit SC 17.46 (5) 14.95 (6) 32.41
7 Macy Halim, Amherst SC / Noah Lafornara, Niagara University SC 16.13 (8) 14.95 (5) 31.08
8 Amber Clift, St. Paul FSC / Marcellus Krueger, St. Paul FSC 16.23 (7) 12.62 (10) 28.85
9 Julia Epps, IceWorks SC / Blake Gilman, Peninsula SC 12.68 (9) 14.46 (7) 27.14
10 Veronica Chunikhin, Peninsula SC / Maxim Korotcov, Washington FSC 10.51 (11) 14.06 (8) 24.57
11 Saige Chaseley, Skokie Valley SC / Aidan Bell, Skokie Valley SC 11.63 (10) 8.98 (12) 20.61
12 Juliana Newton, St. Moritz ISC / Evan Mullins, Stockton FSC 7.78 (12) 12.33 (11) 20.11
[Protocols are linked from here]

—–

PRE-NATIONALS SKATER ARTICLES & LOCAL PUBLICITY (links will open a new window)
Pair skater Natasha Mishkutionok, 11, and her Olympic pairs champion mother/coach, Natalia (NBC Dallas-Fort Worth article/TV news report)
Dance team Noah Lafornara & Macy Halim: TV news report (WIVB Buffalo NY), TV news report (WKBV Buffalo), Article (Amherst Bee)
Jacob Sanchez, 10 (Times Herald Record, Middletown, NY)
Pair team Allison Kim & Ethan Musladin (interview clips in ABC Bay Area TV news report on 12/29/17)
Morgan Heavrin, 10, Central Pacific Regional Girls champion (Park Record, Utah)
Pair team Ashley Stark & Aiden Elswick (Fox San Diego article/TV news report)
Pairs Nadia Wang & Jaden Schwab photo and Annie & Andrew Bai mention (Pioneer Press, St. Paul, MN)

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2017-18 Regional & Sectional Championships

Posted by unseenskaters on December 31, 2017

This is a placeholder post – results/protocols links currently can be found in these sections of the blog:

https://unseenskaters.wordpress.com/regionals/

https://unseenskaters.wordpress.com/sectionals/

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