by Michelle Wojdyla
The junior ice dancers are not going to make it easy for the judges. After the Cha Cha Congelado compulsory dance, the top four teams are less than two points apart. All four competed on the Junior Grand Prix circuit this fall, proving they are world-class athletes.
Sara Bailey & Kyle Herring claimed the top spot Thursday with a total segment score of 29.96. They received only one negative GoE, and had both the highest TES and PCS. When Bailey saw the posted results, she had only one thing to say: “Wow!”
“We really weren’t skating for placement here,” Herring said. “To be honest, we had a rough start to the season. We just wanted to go out and get back to our normal selves and have a good time out there. It’s nice to see it pay off.”
Bailey & Herring competed twice this season in Lake Placid, first at the Ice Dance Championships in August and then at the Junior Grand Prix competition a few weeks later. Their first JGP did not go as they had hoped.
“I had tonsillitis. It was really bad,” Bailey said. “Couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat, couldn’t drink. It was not a good competition.”
Placing first in the compulsory gave the duo much-needed confidence.
“We’re happy with where we are right now,” Herring said. “Yeah, definitely!” added his smiling partner.
Pilar Bosley & John Corona received no negative GoEs and a few 2s in their mix of 0s and 1s towards their 29.38 total segment score.
“We thought we skated really, really well,” Bosley said. “We were very happy with it. We could always do more expression and always make it flashier, but we’re very happy with how we skated technically. But Sara and Kyle skated really, really, really well.”
The experience—and hardware—gained during their internationals made coming to sectionals less stressful.
“It makes us so much more relaxed!” Bosley said. “We’re in the U.S. Our first Grand Prix was pretty relaxed in Lake Placid, but being on the ice with the top Russian teams–they’re very feisty. It’s different. So this is a lot more relaxed and we’re happy to be here. It’s a little less pressure than our [earlier] competitions.”
Sisters Anastasia and Isabella Cannuscio are less than a quarter of a point apart in third and fourth places, respectively. Anastasia and partner Dean Copely received only one –1 in their 27.93 point program. Isabella and Ian Lorello got dinged with five –1s, giving them 27.70. Both teams scored exactly 11.72 in the Program Components.
“It felt comfortable,” Copely said, adding, “but I think we’ve done it better.”
“I don’t know,” Anastasia countered. “I thought it was pretty good.”
Big sister Isabella was pleased with her team’s performance.
“I thought we skated pretty well, probably one of our best performances of the Cha-Cha,” she said. “I love Cha Cha! It’s one of the easiest for me. I like the expression. I’m better at the expression in it than in like a waltz or something.”
“I actually thought we skated better in Romania than here,” Lorello said.
The Cannuscio sisters shrug off any family competition issues.
“We’ve competed against each other before, like a while ago when we were younger, so it’s not really that weird,” Anastasia said.
“You’d think it’d be really, really weird, but it’s not,” Copely agreed. “See, I feel like [Anastasia’s] brother, so that makes [Isabella] my sister, too.
Lili LaMar and Zachary Donohue stand less than two points behind. Two of the six judges hit them with multiple –1s, while the others awarded them base or +1s bringing their score to 25.78. Kristen Koetter and Aaron-Taylor Austin are sixth with 21.32.