Fourteen teams took the ice to contest the junior short dance event at the 2014 U.S. National Championships. When the phase was completed, Kaitlyn Hawayek & Jean-Luc Baker of the Detroit SC were in first with a three point lead over Lorraine McNamara & Quinn Carpenter who train in Wheaton, MD. The two teams finished second and third, respectively, at the Junior Grand Prix Final last month, so it was somewhat expected they would be in the fight for gold here in Boston. With each of the top five teams separated behind one another by 2-3 points, anything can happen in the free dance and we could see some movement.
Hawayek & Baker (pictured, right) skated their Quickstep sections to “Happy Feet” and “Sing Sing Sing” and a Foxtrot piece to “It Had to be You”. The second year team showcased good speed and strong elements, receiving level 4 on their twizzles, rotational lift and one section of the Quickstep. Their second Quickstep section and midline not touching step sequence received level three.
McNamara & Carpenter skated a charming performance to “Bublitchki” and “Chiribim
Chiribom” by The Barry Sisters. Their performance was highlighted by great expression and solid elements. Although they shared the same element base value as the leaders, the GOE gave the edge to Hawayek/Baker.
Roughly three points behind McNamara & Carpenter are their training mates, Rachel & Michael Parsons. The Parsons also competed at the 2013/14 Junior Grand Prix Final in December where they finished sixth. The siblings skated to music from Funny Girl and their performance was smooth. They received a lower level (3) on their twizzles which contributed to their lower score and placement.
In fourth are Holly Moore & Daniel Klaber who also train in Detroit. Moore & Klaber skated an energetic and expressive performance to music from Chicago. Their Quickstep sections were graded level 3/2 versus the 4/3 received by the top three teams.
Elliana Pogrebinsky & Ross Gudis occupy the fifth place spot. Skating to music from the Pink Panther, their expression matched the theme of the program and they sold it well. They received similar levels on elements to Moore & Klaber, but lower GOEs.
The event concludes on Thursday with the free dance.
In just their second season together, Kaitlin Hawayek & Jean-Luc Baker have built a solid competitive resume which includes two Junior Grand Prix (JGP) wins and a silver medal at the JGP Final. On Thursday, they added one more accomplishment – the U.S. junior title.
Hawayek & Baker’s elegant performance to music from the Amelie soundtrack was marred only by a fall by Hawayek on the twizzles which caused the element to be marked only a level 2 and receive negative GOEs. They received level 4s on their lifts and spin and level 3 on both step sequences. The team won the free dance with a score of 86.96, which combined with their short dance points resulted in a total score of 152.26.
Just 1.74 separated the free dance scores of the top three teams, which is a testament to the high competitive level of the junior teams. Finishing in second, Lorraine McNamara & Quinn Carpenter were third in the free dance despite a solid performance. McNamara & Carpenter had lower technical marks, including two lifts being marked level 2 and level 3 as well as two level 2 step sequences. Their PCS was just over a point behind the gold medal winners. Their performance to “Discombobulate” by Hans Zimmer and “The Godfather Waltz” by Nino Rota matched the frantic pace of the music and was solid overall.
Siblings Rachel & Michael Parsons (pictured, right) missed the 2013 U.S. Championships in Omaha due to injury and finished fourth at the junior level in 2012. The Parsons had the highest technical score of the top three teams, with element marks matching the leaders and the score for their twizzles being the difference. Their PCS was lower that both teams ahead of them. Skating last, their clean performance to music from the Twilight soundtrack was well-received by the crowd.
The 2013 pewter medalists, Holly Moore & Daniel Klaber, repeated their placement from the previous year. Skating to a medley of music by Perez Prado, Moore & Klaber had the audience engaged with their fast-paced latin program. They received level 4 marks on all of their lifts, but their step sequences and twizzles were marked level 2. In fifth, Elliana Pogrebinsky & Ross Gudis presented a spanish-themed program to “El Conquistador” by Maxime Rodriguez and “Para Mi Nicole” by Esperanza, which was a sharp contrast to their short program and showcased their expression. They received lower levels (2) on their step sequences and negative GOEs for their first lift which appeared rough.
Finishing in sixth were the 2013 U.S. novice champions, Chloe Lewis & Logan Bye.