Harghita Cup – Miercurea Ciuc, Romania

Heading into the second Junior Grand Prix event of the season, Vanessa Crone and Paul Poirier of Canada appear to be favorites for a podium spot at Harghita Cup. Crone and Poirier, who have been competing on JGP since 2005, won their first Junior Grand Prix medal – a bronze – at the 2006 Spin of Norway. The team have been skating together for six years and are coached by Carol Lane. They are currently ranked 34th in the ISU’s world standings and finished 9th at the 2007 World Junior Figure Skating Championships. Their personal best score is 138.06.

Poland’s Joanna Budner and Jan Moscicki have been competing on the JGP circuit since 2004. Coached by Bozena Bernadovska in Poland and Alexei Gorshkov in Russia, the duo from Lodz are ranked 28th on the ISU’s world standings list. Their highest placement at a Junior Grand Prix event was a 5th place finish at the Spin of Norway in 2006. Budner and Moscicki finished 13th at the 2007 World Junior Championships and competed in their first senior event, Europeans, where they finished 21st. The duo’s personal best score, also from the Spin of Norway, is 129.23.

Russia’s Ekaterina Riazonova and Jonathan Guerreiro are entering their second season on the Junior Grand Prix. They competed at Harghita Cup in 2006, finishing 9th and posting their personal best of 120.58. Guerreiro previously competed for Australia before teaming up with Riazanova. Riazanova and Guerreiro finished 5th at the Russian Junior National Championships last year, which is extremely competitive as Russia has a number of talented teams and boasts a competitive field at their Junior Nationals each year.

Looking to break out at their debut Junior Grand Prix event are two teams from the US.

Isabella Cannuscio and Ian Lorello finished fourth at the 2007 US National Championships at the novice level and had a strong debut at the Lake Placid Ice Dance Championships where they won the free dance and finished third in the original dance against tough fields. Cannuscio and Lorello are coached by Karen Ludington and Brian Helgenberg and train at the University of Delaware.

Tiffany Hyden coaches the new team of Rachel Tibbetts and Collin Brubaker. Tibbetts is a former US Junior National medalist and teamed up with Brubaker earlier this year. Brubaker is the younger brother of World Junior Pairs Champion, Rockne Brubaker and the team trains in Colorado Springs.