Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA (elevation – 6,200‘) hosted its first Junior Grand Prix event September 2-6. Pikes Peak served as a stunning background for the Olympic Training Center where the skaters were housed. Prior to arrival, many of the athletes trained with altitude masks. 14 teams from 10 countries competed in the ice dance competition.
Americans Lorraine McNamara & Quinn Carpenter (66.25) took an 11.37 point lead after the short dance. McNamara & Carpenter received Level 4s on all of their elements, except the first section of their Starlight Waltz, which was graded Level 3. Their performance to music from Edvard Grieg’s “Peer Gynt” was energetic and featured great speed and expression.
Less than two points separated the teams in second through fifth place.
The new team of Mackenzie Bent & Dmitre Razgulajevs (54.88) of Canada occupied second place after the short dance. Their short dance performance to “Time After Time” and “La Grande Valse” showed good unison and skating skills.
In third, Chloe Lewis & Logan Bye (53.57) set a personal best with their short dance to “Valse Triste” by Jean Sibelius. Sofia Polishchuk & Alexander Vakhnov (53.28) and Ksenia Konkina & Georgy Reviya (52.95) finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
“Rocky Mountain High” (score)
McNamara & Carpenter (USA) dominated the event with a personal best total of 159.31 – the highest score posted in the three 2015 JGP ice dance competitions. In the free skate, the reigning Junior World silver medalists delivered a mesmerizing performance to selections from the opera, Carmen, and received 93.06 points. The spin, lifts, and twizzles earned level 4. The gold medalists next compete at the final JGP event in Zagreb, Croatia.
Bent & Razgulajevs (CAN) were a distant second in the final standing with a total 133.27. Their strong performance to Ben Hur earned level 4 for the spin, lifts, and twizzles and a 78.39 score. Bent and her former partner were the 2013/14 Canadian Junior Champions and placed fourth at the 2014 JGP Final in Barcelona. The silver medalists next compete at the JGP in Spain.
Only 1.58 points separated teams 3, 4, 5.
Sofia Polishchuk & Alexander Vakhnov (RUS) won the bronze medal with a 129.83 total score. Their free skate to “Sabre Dance” and “Ascolat La Voce” received 76.55 points. The Moscow based team’s spin and lifts earned level 4, but they struggled with the step sequences. Their short dance, free dance, and total scores were all personal bests.
Ksenia Konkina & Georgy Reviya (RUS) placed fourth with 129.01 points, just a shade behind their Russian teammates. The free dance performed to Moonlight (Beethoven cover) by Viper earned level 4 for the lifts and twizzles. The Lake Placid Ice Dance International bronze medalists train with Alexei Gorshkov in Odintsovo, Russia, just outside of Moscow.
Chloe Lewis & Logan Bye (USA) slipped to fifth place with a 128.25 total score. The free dance was a tango program to Astor Piazzolla and Gidon Kremer selections and received 74.68 points. The lifts and twizzles earned level 4. Their unfortunate struggle with the combination spin resulted in no Grade of Execution points for the element. The team next competes at the JGP in Poland.
Payten Howland & Simon-Pierre Malette-Paquette (CAN) moved up to sixth place with 124.36 points. The free dance program to selections from The Mask of Zorro soundtrack received a 74.66 score. The lifts, spin, and twizzle earned level 4. Malette-Paquette skated through an ankle sprain suffered earlier in the week. The team trains in Canton, Michigan with Igor Sphilband. The Canadians next compete at the JGP in Spain.