by Gina Capellazzi | Photo by Daphne Backman
Twelve teams took the ice to contest the junior short dance event at the 2015 U.S. National Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina. Heading into Friday’s free dance, reigning U.S. junior silver medalists Lorraine McNamara & Quinn Carpenter have less than a four point lead over the brother and sister team of Rachel and Michael Parsons, who won the bronze medal last season. With the 2014 U.S. junior champions Kaitlin Hawayek & Jean-Luc Baker making the jump to the senior level, it was expected that these two would be looking to grab the top spot in junior ice dance in Greensboro.
McNamara & Carpenter skated their samba to “Heart of Africa” by Nature Lounge Club. They showcased loads of sass in their elements, receiving level 4 on both sections of their samba as well as their straight line lift. Their twizzles and midline not touching step sequence received level three.
The Parsons went in a different direction for their samba, skating to a frightening music mashup of “Fruta Fresca (Club Mix)” by Carlos Vives. They received level 4 for their twizzles and straight line lift, but only received level 3 for both sections of their samba as well as their midline not touching step sequence. They sit less than four points out of first place.
Less than two points out of second is the new team of Elliana Pogrebinksy & Alex Benoit. Pogrebinsky finished in fifth place at this event last year with then-partner Ross Gudis. Benoit finished in eighth with his former partner Olivia Dilorio. Pogrebinsky & Benoit skated to “Straight to Memphis” by Club des Belugas, “Beijos” by DJ Vadim and “Banto” by Kaoma. They earned level 4s for their twizzles, first samba sequence and rotational lift and level 3 on their midline not touching step sequence and their second samba sequence. Their total element score was higher than the Parsons, but did not score as high as the sibling team in the program component score.
In fourth place after the short program is the new team of Christina Carriera & Anthony Ponomarenko. Ponomarenko was the 2014 Novice Dance bronze medalist with Sara Feng, who competed Thursday evening in the junior ladies short program. Ponomarenko is the son of Marina Klimova and Sergei Ponomarenko, the only ice dance team to win an Olympic medal of every color. Carriera skated with Simon-Pierre Malette-Paquette. The young team skated an energetic samba to “Chica Boom” and “Let’s Get Loud” by Jennifer Lopez. They received similar levels on elements as the top teams, but lower GOEs.
Sitting in fifth place and just five points out of third is 2014 U.S. Junior Pewter medalists Holly Moore & Daniel Klaber. Moore & Klaber skated a fierce samba to a medley of Shakira. They received level fours on three of their elements, but only received a level 2 for their midline not touching step sequence and a level 1 for second samba sequence.
The event concludes on Friday with the free dance.