2009 Eastern Sectional Championships – Live from Boston Blog

Sunday, November 16, 2008
Goodbye Boston, and thank you!

The Skating Club of Boston did a wonderful job hosting Sectionals, and I hope they’ll get an opportunity to host a National Championships sometime soon. From the event program that was well put together and contained photos and information on all of the competitors, to the refreshment booth that had more options than any that I’ve ever seen, to the friendliness of the LOC staff, the week was a successful experience.

It’s hard to sum up an amazing week of ice dancing in the few paragraphs of a blog. From the juvenile dancers who took the ice on Wednesday to the senior dancers who wrapped up the competition on Saturday, those in attendance were treated to an array of performances from the dramatic to the comedic and many themes in between.

Due to the number of competitors, only the novice level had more teams competing (eight) than could qualify for Nationals (four), which meant four teams would not advance. I hope those four teams will look back on this event as a point to build on for next season.

In closing I want to thank Alexandra Sherman, Tammi McManus and the IDC staff (Michelle, Katie, Melanie) for their hard work throughout this event. Though Katie, Michelle, and Melanie were not in Boston, they were working hard from home to post event content and make sure IDC continued to run smoothly.

And now, we’re on to Nationals!

2009 U.S. Junior National Championships

December 10-13, 2008 — Lake Placid, NY

2009 U.S. National Championships
January 18-25, 2009 — Cleveland, OH


Saturday, November 15, 2008
Last Dance in Boston

On the final day of competition, the dancers did not disappoint the audience as they presented their free dances.

Since there are only three entries for senior and four entries for junior, all of the teams will qualify to compete at the 2009 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. Teams could use this opportunity to “go for it” and present their programs without fear of not making the cut. At the junior level, all four entries train at the University of Delaware Figure Skating Club and are good friends off the ice. This could be witnessed by their support of each other during performances and their camaraderie off the ice.

In second place after the compulsory and original dance phases, Isabella Cannuscio & Ian Lorello won the free dance phase of the competition and the gold medal for the event. Skating to Edvin Marton’s “The Godfather,” the team’s performance was powerful and technically sound as they received level fours on all of their elements except their step sequences. They are one of only a few teams that received a level three on a footwork sequence, as the requirements for achieving higher levels for footwork sequences have gotten stricter.

After finishing fourth at this event last season, the duo took a huge leap to the top step of the podium, aided by their powerful free dance performance. While coach Karen Ludington initially introduced “The Godfather” theme to the team, Cannuscio & Lorello received additional help from a training mate.

“Actually it was Colin McManus who gave us the hint on the whole techno part of the music,” Lorello said. “I’m really happy with it. [The music] is really intense.”

Training mates and leaders after the first two phases of the competition, Sara Bailey & Kyle Herring presented a well-trained performance to “A Day in the Life” by the Beatles. The program tells the story of a couple finding love at first sight and then being separated, and the team presented it well. The duo feels an added ownership of the program as they picked the music themselves.

“We’re both avid Beatles fans and we love their music, so I think it really allowed us to get into the mood of it and enjoy our program,” Herring said.

“It’s one of those programs that you don’t get sick of the music,” Bailey added. “When you get halfway through the season, you’re still loving it.”

Bailey & Herring received a range of levels including level four on their straightline + rotational lift and their curve lift. The team also received level three on their circular step sequence.

Anastasia Cannuscio & Colin McManus, a new team are looking to establish themselves this season, won the bronze medal skating to music by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. They are excited about qualifying for Nationals and have definite plans for the two months leading up to the January event.

“[We plan to] work on our footwork and try to get higher levels,” Cannuscio said.

“Cleaner programs and lay the groundwork for next year,” McManus added.

Finishing in fourth place, the 2008 U.S. novice champions presented a fun program to music from The Matrix. Their free dance score of 61.83 is an improvement on their scores from Lake Placid and the JGP event in Courchevel earlier this season, and with mileage, the program flows better and the team presents it well. The performance received a range of level 2s and 4s, with their straightline lift receiving five +1 GOEs.

In the senior event, Morgan Matthews & Leif Gislason continued to enjoy their successful competitive debut and added to their overall point total to win the gold medal. Their “The Muse” program was marred only by a freak fall during their diagonal step sequence, which reduced the element’s technical level and earned the team negative GOEs. Even with the fall, the performance of the program is much improved since they skated it at Evening With Champions last month. The lifts are innovative and the choreography fits the music.

Clare Farrell & Chase Fishpaw’s free dance to “Sarabande” by Globus was revised since its debut in Lake Placid and included all new lifts. They took home the silver medal. The team has been working on the presentation aspect of the program and will now focus on increasing their levels and continuing to grow the program to its potential.

Winning bronze were Lauren Corry & Alexander Lorello. During their program to a modern version of “La Donna Mobile” by Puccini, it was evident in their expression that the duo enjoys skating together. While Lorello has previously competed at U.S. Nationals at the novice level, Corry has not. Cleveland will mark their debut as seniors at the U.S. Championships. Corry & Lorello received additional support from their UDel training mates, including Alex’s brother Ian, who won the sectional junior title moments earlier.


Friday, November 15, 2008
Grooving to rhythms on a Friday evening in Boston

The junior and senior dancers entertained us with original dances set to music from the 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s (or at least music that sounds like it was from that era).

Chloe Wolf & Rhys Ainsworth took the ice first for the juniors skating to “Friendship” and “Anything Goes” by Cole Porter. The program and their expression looked improved since I saw them at the Lake Placid Ice Dancing Championships in August, though they did have problems with the twizzles that were reduced to level 2 with negative GOEs. They did receive level 4s for their rotational lift and spin.

Up next were Anastasia Cannuscio & Colin McManus who rocked the audience with their program to “Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue” by Spike Jonze and “I Wanna Be Loved By You” by Marilyn Monroe. The team received the highest TES marks of the event phase, 26.69, and received level 4 on their rotational lift, spin and twizzles and level 2 on both step sequences. The performance seemed extroverted, which made the program enjoyable to watch.

Sara Bailey & Kyle Herring skated to “Minnie the Moocher” and “Dancin’ Fool,” and the choreography matched the program really well. In Lake Placid, the team had a lift where Sara took Kyle’s hat off and put it on her own head, but it was no longer in the program – – a testament to how a program can change throughout the season. The team received a rarity in ice dancing this season: a level 3 awarded for their diagonal step sequence.

Isabella Cannuscio & Ian Lorello ended the junior original dance event with a bang, skating to “In the Mood” by Papini Sisters and “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” by Bette Midler. The team received only one negative GOE (on their rotational lift) and level 4s on their spin and twizzles. Their twizzles and midline step sequence each received four +1 and one +2 GOE.

Morgan Matthews & Leif Gislason started things off for the seniors. Their program was a departure from those skated by the junior teams as they presented a sultry dance to piano version of the blues classic “Summertime.” They received no negative GOEs, instead garnering 16 +1s and five +2s while being awarded level 4 for their straightline lift, twizzles, and spin and level 3 on the remainder of their elements.

The next two teams took a more relaxed approach to their programs. Lauren Corry and Alex Lorello were playful in their performance to “String of Pearls” and “Pennsylvania 6500” while Clare Farrell & Chase Fishpaw were comedic with their expression to “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” In the OD, the teams flip-flopped from their CD results with Corry & Lorello besting Farrell & Fishpaw in the OD. Corry & Lorello had a higher TES score of 24.00 to Farrell & Fishpaw’s 22.46, while the latter scored 18.03 to Corry & Lorello’s 17.40 PCS. Only .35 separates the two teams heading into the free dance.


Friday, November 14, 2008
Results Update – Friday

Thanks to Sasha who typed these up.

Junior Combined standings after the OD:
1. Sara Bailey & Kyle Herring 78.11 1 1
2. Isabella Cannuscio & Ian Lorello 76.60 2 2
3. Anastasia Cannuscio & Colin McManus 71.41 4 3
4. Chloe Wolf & Rhys Ainsworth 68.43 3 4

1. Sara Bailey & Kyle Herring 46.51 25.96 20.55 5.50 5.25 5.33 5.42 5.50
2. Isabella Cannuscio & Ian Lorello 46.17 26.20 19.97 5.08 5.17 5.33 5.25 5.42
3. Anastasia Cannuscio & Colin McManus 45.60 26.69 18.91 5.00 4.67 4.92 5.08 5.17
4. Chloe Wolf & Rhys Ainsworth 40.02 22.66 17.36 4.75 4.42 4.67 4.67 4.42

Senior Combined standings after the OD:
1. Morgan Matthews & Leif Gislason 88.45 1 1
2. Clare Farrell & Charles Fishpaw 67.96 2 3
3. Lauren Corry & Alexander Lorello 67.61 3 2

OD Results [TSS TES PCS]
1. Morgan Matthews & Leif Gislason 54.43 30.47 23.96 6.25 6.08 6.42 6.25 6.50
2. Lauren Corry & Alexander Lorello 41.40 24.00 17.40 4.58 4.58 4.58 4.58 4.58
3. Clare Farrell & Charles Fishpaw 40.49 22.46 18.03 4.83 4.67 4.58 4.75 4.83


Friday, November 14, 2008
Junior/Senior CDs and senior ladies

Last night the junior and senior dancers entertained us with four elegant Starlight Waltzes and three fierce Paso Dobles. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a dance phase that began and ended so quickly as last night’s. I took a turn with the camera to shoot junior, and it seemed like it all went by so quickly.

Today, I slept a bit later, which gave me some much-needed additional rest. This morning, I realized that I really haven’t seen any of the other disciplines, so after a nice breakfast in the Joyful Garden and a quick catch up via email with Team IDC, I went to watch the senior ladies short program.

srladies-750476I struck up a conversation with an older couple sitting next to me who turned out to be the grandparents of senior ladies competitor Amanda Gordon. It was enjoyable to watch the event with them, and we would talk in between each performance about how a mistake on a jump, spin, or spiral might affect a skater. When the event was over, I asked if I could take a picture of the results that they had been writing down so I could share them with those not in attendance (and who were sitting at home wondering how it turned out). They graciously agreed.

Back at the room, I did a quick catch up with event results from Trophee Eric Bompard, the other U.S. Sectionals, and Golden Spin. No update on the latter.


Results Update

From Thursday evening:

Junior CD – Starlight Waltz
1. Sara Bailey/Kyle Herring 31.60
2. Isabella Cannuscio/Ian Lorello 30.43
3. Chloe Wolf/Rhys Ainsworth 28.41
4. Anastasia Cannucio/Colin McManus 25.81

Senior CD – Paso Doble
1. Morgan Matthews/Leif Gislason 34.02
2. Clare Farrell/Chase Fishpaw 27.47
3. Lauren Corry/Alexander Lorello 26.21


Thursday, November 13, 2008
Novice recap

Less than one point separated fourth and fifth places, and it literally came down to the final team’s performance before knowing who would advance to the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Cleveland.

Una Donegan & Andrew Korda, the reigning U.S. novice bronze medalists, took a step closer to fighting for the national title by winning Eastern Sectionals. Their free dance to “My Sweet and Tender Beast” was much improved from Lake Placid, especially in expression. The team received level four on all of their lifts and their twizzles, but they were dinged with negative GOEs on the latter. Donegan & Korda are looking forward to returning to Nationals, and they cite their hard work as what put them on the top step of the Eastern Sectionals podium.

“We’ve definitely been progressing through the season,” Donegan said. “We didn’t start off exactly where we thought we would, but that’s been pushing us. We just kept training our programs.”

“We’re going to continue working as hard as we have been for the past couple of months and especially the past couple of weeks,” Korda said.

In only her first season of competitive ice dancing, Gabrielle Friedenberg is going to U.S. Nationals. She and partner Ben Nykiel scored 97 points overall, taking the silver medal. Friedenberg has enjoyed her first Sectionals and is hoping for a similar experience in Cleveland.

“[I’m hoping for] a whole positive experience, nothing to regret,” Friedenberg said. “As far as this year goes, placement is important, but not my main focus.”

Katharine Zeigler and Samuel Rashba, who are competing in their second season together, got the audience going with their Beatles medley free dance. After the awards ceremony, I asked the team if the music was selected because the National Championships are being held in the home city of the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame, and they replied that it did not.

“We definitely wanted something really upbeat and fun,” Rashba said. “Last year we had skated to The Mask of Zorro, so we wanted a different feel and something light and exciting. It’s a really fun program to skate to.”

Qualifying for “Big Nationals” is a first for Zeigler & Rashba, as they finished eighth at the 2008 U.S. Junior National Championships at the intermediate level.

The final slot came down to a .70 difference in the score. Though Liza Branella and Paul Bellantuono finished fourth in the free dance, they ended up fifth overall behind Natalie Wojton & Michael Soyfer. Branella & Bellantuono just made the registration deadline, teaming up on September 1, and they are already showing promise as a new team.

Wojton & Soyfer portrayed birds in their free dance to “In the Upper Room” by Philip Glass and finished fifth in the free dance portion. The team finished fifth at Eastern Sectionals in 2008 and will compete at U.S. Nationals for the first time.

Ashley Halstead & Robert Knopf finished sixth skating to music from the Pink Panther, while Kirsten Seagers & Nicholas Taylor finished seventh skating to “Once Upon a December” from Anastasia.

Susan Enright & Michael Bramante of the Skating Club of Boston finished eighth.