Senior Free Dance Recap // Posted February 2 @ 8:53 PM (EST)

Lauren Corry & Alexander Lorello (“I’m Not Sleeping” by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy). Corry & Lorello start off with good twizzles. Cool curve lift with change of position by Corry. Unfortunate fall by both on the spin; it looks like they lost their balance/centering. Fun big-band era choreography. Straightline lift was solid. (14th in the free dance)

Elizabeth Chan & Jason Deveikis (“That’s Life” by Michael Buble). Serpentine lift to start. Nice positions. Curve lift on one foot shaky. Twizzles off. Spin very slow. (15th in the free dance)

Grace Cho & Dmitry Ponomarev (“Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen). Decent speed on opening spin. Twizzles off. Stumbles in footwork sequences. Nice speed and position on rotational lift. Fun choreography that the crowd really got into. (13th in the free dance)

Katie Wyble & Justin Morrow (Music from Dr. Zhivago). Wyble & Morrow show improvement from last season and are with a new coach. They skated with good speed throughout. Their spin was a stronger element with good speed and positions. (12th in the free dance)

Stephanie Zastrow & Michael Lueck (“Harem” by Sarah Brightman). It was a solid skate by Zastrow & Lueck in the free dance. Their elements looked steady and it showed in their GOEs; they received only two -1s. Their expression was not as strong at the start of the performance, but got better as the program went on. Lueck had a slight stumble near the end of the program on footwork. (11th in the free dance)

Jane Summersett & Todd Gilles (“Whole Lotta Love” and “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” by Led Zeppelin). The program starts with sexy opening choreography. Summersett had trouble on the first twizzle, which cost the team on levels and GOEs. They rebound with a secure lifts with great change of positions. Overall, it was a decent performance to great music with matching choreography. Gilles especially sold it. (8th in the free dance)

Madison Hubbell & Keiffer Hubbell (“American Woman,” “Can’t Get You Out of My Mind,” and “Fly Away” by Lenny Kravitz). Rock was a popular theme this year, and the Hubbells went more modern choosing Lenny Kravitz. The coaching change has been good for them as they look more confident and skate with more speed. Clean skate and standing ovation! (6th in the free dance)

Lynn Kriengkrairut & Logan Giulietti-Schmitt (“Dreams on Fire” and “Mausam and Escape” from Slumdog Millionaire Soundtrack). Kriengkrairut & Giulietti-Schmitt start off with choreography, moving into a curve to rotational lift, for which they receive +1 and +2 GOEs. The program flows nicely and the entry and exit from their lifts looks seamless. Their only negative GOEs are for their twizzles which were slightly off unison. (7th in the free dance)

Shannon Wingle & Tim McKernan (Music from The Piano). Wingle & McKernan, fourth at junior last season, skated an expressive and elegant performance, telling the story of The Piano. McKernan missed catching his blade on the twizzle which dropped the element to a level 2. The spin travelled a bit which resulted in negative GOEs. Wingle fell near the end of their program, pulling McKernan down, too, but the team got back into it and finished. (10th in the free dance)

Trina Pratt & Chris Obzansky (“Since I’ve Been Loving You” by Led Zeppelin). Pratt & Obzansky had some nice choreography and elements in their performance. A hiccup on the second part of their combination spin cost the team GOEs, but it was still rated level 4. Pratt really seemed to get into character. Their final rotational lift was wonderful. (9th in the free dance)

Tanith Belbin & Ben Agosto (“Ave Maria” by Giulio Caccini, performed by Sumi Jo and “Amen” from Gioachino Rossini’s “Stabat Mater”). Belbin & Agosto skated with speed and power in their free dance performance, with their step sequences receiving level 3 rating and all other elements receiving level 4. Only five of their GOEs were +1 with the remainder being +2 or +3. Having seen the program at Skate America several months ago, it’s obvious they have been working on the expression and smoothness of the performance as it’s improved since then. (2nd in the free dance)

Kimberly Navarro & Brent Bommentre (“One” by U2 and Mary J. Blige). Navarro & Bommentre were up next with their popular “One” free dance. Their twizzle sequence was graded level 2, as Navarro missed her foot grab on the first twizzles. Their lifts and connection to each other in the performance were strong and the program was well-skated, but lacked some of their usual spark in the performance.
(4th in the free dance)

Madison Chock & Greg Zuerlein (Waltz). Chock & Zuerlein skated at their first Nationals together in Spokane in 2007, finishing fifth at novice. The 2009 World Junior champions skated their first free dance as a senior team this visit to Spokane, receiving all level 3 and 4 for their elements and no negative GOEs. The Waltz was light and elegant. Chock’s expression was lovely. (5th in the free dance)

Meryl Davis & Charlie White (“Music of the Night” by Andrew Lloyd Webber from Phantom of the Opera). The defending national champions did not disappoint when they delivered a fast and furious free dance program. Only their step sequences and spin received level 3, while the remainder of their elements were rated level 4. Their twizzles, and two lifts received all +3 GOEs for execution. Both really sold this program and drew the audience into the performance. (1st in the free dance)

Emily Samuelson & Evan Bates (“Canto Della Terra” by Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli). Samuelson & Bates closed the competition with their spot-on performance. They have been skating together for ten years and have the third longest running partnership in the U.S. They also received level four for all elements with the exception of their step sequences. Their unison was excellent and the lifts highlighted Samuelson’s flexibility. The choreography fit their strengths. (3rd in the free dance)

Senior Original Dance Recap // Posted February 2 @ 7:08 PM (EST)

Stephanie Zastrow & Michael Lueck (Russian folk). Zastrow & Lueck started with their spin almost immediately, which had nice speed and positions. Decent footwork. Stumble on second twizzles (Lueck). Good speed and position on lifts. (13th in original dance)

Grace Cho & Dmitry Ponomarev (Russian folk). Fun, cute choreography that matched their theme and a much improved performance compared to Sectionals, but still a bit sloppy and it was reflected in their GOEs. They received a -1 time violation deduction. (14th in original dance)

Lauren Corry & Alexander Lorello (Arabian folk). Corry & Lorello skated a much better OD than their CD the day before. Despite a mistake on the twizzles, which caused them to lose GOEs, the performance contained solid lifts and footwork. (11th in original dance)

Elizabeth Chan & Jason Deveikis (Chinese folk). Chan & Deveikis were up next. Their costumes are beautiful (red and gold) and she has ribbons on her wrists. Solid, but slow lifts. Twizzles were off. (15th in original dance)

Shannon Wingle & Tim McKernan (Irish folk). Wingle & Mckernan presented a spirited dance to music from Lord of the Dance. Good unison on straightline footwork and much more speed than the teams before them. Stumble on first twizzle (Mckernan). Great expression throughout the program. (10th in original dance)

Tanith Belbin & Ben Agosto (Moldavian folk). Belbin & Agosto’s original dance was fun and fast with choreography that fit the theme. Some parts of it were frantic at times, but still well executed with wonderful expression and smooth skating throughout the performance. (2nd in original dance)

Katie Wyble & Justin Morrow (Greek folk). Wyble & Morrow started off with a solid first lift (straightline). Stumbles in footwork and rough twizzles caused them to lose GOEs. Good expression and solid lifts, and skated with decent speed. The final rotational lift was fast and secure. (12th in original dance)

Meryl Davis & Charlie White (Indian folk). Davis & White’s performance was superb with authentic choreography and excellent expression. They had fabulous unison on their footwork sequence and their entries and exits on lifts were smooth. Twizzles were fast, but slightly lost unison. (1st in original dance)

Jane Summersett & Todd Gilles (Peruvian folk). Summersett & Gilles skated a soft performance to Peruvian pan pipes music. The choreography flows nicely from element to element, though they are not as fast as the previous team. Good unison on twizzles and straightline footwork. Final lift into ending pose was seamless. (7th in original dance)

Kimberly Navarro & Brent Bommentre (African folk). Navarro & Bommentre did a plethora of research for this program and it showed in the costuming, choreography and performance. The lifts and step sequences were well-executed. (4th in original dance)

Madison Hubbell & Keiffer Hubbell (Ukrainian folk). The Hubbells skated a happy performance to Ukrainian folk music. They maintained the character of the dance throughout the program, despite a slight hiccup by Keiffer on the second twizzle which caused him to end after her and they lost GOEs. (6th in original dance)

Madison Chock & Greg Zuerlein (Afro Cuban folk). Chock & Zuerlein start off with good footwork and great unison on their twizzles. The performance had good speed and expression. (5th in original dance)

Emily Samuelson & Evan Bates (Country folk). Samuelson & Bates presented a program to music by the Dixie Chicks and captured the audience enough to get the largest standing ovation of the night. At times, the choreography was comedic, but the duo had impeccable unison on their twizzles and footwork and decent speed throughout. (3rd in original dance)

Trina Pratt & Chris Obzansky (Country folk). Back to back country & western numbers, as Pratt & Obzansky also skated to modern country music. The program was full of country-esque nuances. The straightline lift looked labored to start. They looked happy with their performance at the end. (8th in original dance)

Lynn Kriengkrairut & Logan Giulietti-Schmitt (Mexican folk). Kriengkrairut & Giulietti-Schmitt were the most improved of the senior dancers. You could tell they’ve spent time working on their connections to each other in the performances. The straightline lift was unique and effortless. Stumble by Giulietti-Schmitt on the second twizzle, but they kept the character throughout the program. (9th in original dance)

Final Recaps // Posted January 31st @ 8:11 PM (EST)

Final reports should be posted in the next day or two. Since I was covering U.S. Nationals (photography and blogs) it took more time than anticipated. I appreciate your patience.

Junior Free Dance Recap // Posted January 31st @ 8:11 PM (EST)

Kristen Nardozzi & Robert Cuthbertson (“Cyberworld” by X-Ray Dog). Nardozzi & Cuthbertson started with a decent spin, but it travelled. The performance had nice elements, but the team had trouble with the second set of twizzles and lacked speed at times. Nice unison for a new team. (13th in the free dance)

Katie Donaldson & Brock Jacobs (“Mr. Pinstripe Suit” and “Maddest Kind of Love” by Big Bad Voo Doo Daddy).
Lively program for the Kansas team in their first appearance at Nationals. The choreography fit the program well and the team sold it, although at times the skating appeared rough and the team lost levels and GOEs on elements. (14th in the free dance)

Janine Halstead & Robert Knopf (“Georgia on my Mind” and “Let the Good Times Roll” by Ray Charles).
Halstead & Knopf are another team competing in their first Nationals. The duo had trouble on their second set of twizzles, but received positive GOEs and level 4 on their combination lift and level 3 on their spin. (12th in the free dance)

Natalie Wojton & Michael Soyfer (“Pas de Deux”). Wojton & Soyfer’s performance was smoother than the teams before them and they had decent speed throughout. They also had problems with twizzles and were downgraded and received negative GOEs, but their lifts were good and rated level 4. (11th in the free dance)

Lauri Bonacorsi & Travis Mager (“River Flows in You” by Yiruma and “I Giomi” by Ludovico Einaudi). Bonacorsi & Mager started off the second group of junior free dances with an expressive performance, with strong lifts (L4) and solid elements. In the second year of their partnership, the team has really gelled together and their movements appeared more fluid. (6th in the free dance)

Anastasia Cannuscio & Colin McManus (Love Story). Cannuscio & McManus are the most improved of the teams at junior and their free dance performance highlighted the team’s connection. With the exception of their step sequences (L2), their elements were graded all level 4s and they received only three -1 GOEs. Their spin was well-centered and fast. (8th in the free dance)

Gabrielle Friedenberg & Benjamin Nykiel (Music from Schindler’s List). Friedenberg & Nykiel drew the audience in with their emotional performance to the main score from “Schindler’s List.” They were the first team of the event to receive no negative GOEs for their twizzles (L4). Though they received positive GOEs for their rotational lift, it was graded only a level 1. (9th in the free dance)

Charlotte Lichtman & Dean Copely (Music from the movie Limelight by Charlie Chaplin). The choreography in Lichtman & Copely’s program gave Copely an opportunity to showcase his comedic side on the ice. The team’s performance was not as strong as previous outings this season, as they were plagued by problems on their twizzles and diagonal steps, receiving negative GOEs, but the team rebounded with solid lifts (L4) and spin (L4). (7th in the free dance)

Katharine Zeigler & Baxter Burbank (“I Put a Spell on You” by Joe Cocker). Zeigler & Burbank presented a bluesy number highlighted by solid lifts and spin. The performance lacked the speed and unison of some of the teams that finished ahead of them. The team lost GOEs and levels on their twizzles due to a stumble, and their diagonal steps were graded level one with negative GOEs. (10th in the free dance)

Rachel Tibbetts & Collin Brubaker (“En Aranjuez Con Tu Amor” by Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman). In a close fight for the silver medal, Tibbetts & Brubaker left it all on the ice with their elegant performance with strong elements. The Colorado duo received levels 3 and 4 for all of their elements — except for their L2 midline steps — and their lifts received +1 and +2 GOEs. Brubaker was pumped at the end of their performance. (3rd in the free dance)

Isabella Cannuscio & Ian Lorello (“Hernando’s Hideaway”). Cannuscio & Lorello showed an expressive free dance, and it was obvious the experience of competing at the JGP Final had given them a new level of confidence. Although their step sequences were graded level 2 and 3, their lifts and spin were rated level 4. (4th in the free dance)

Anastasia Olson & Jordan Cowan (“Tanguera” and “Auerer”. Olson & Cowan rebounded from a severe injury earlier in the season to present a solid free dance. Their expression could have been stronger, but their elements were good and the choreography was well skated. (5th in the free dance)

Maia Shibutani & Alex Shibutani (“Tango Rhapsody” by Luis Enriques Bacalov). The Shibutanis displayed smooth skating coupled with well-executed lifts and footwork sequences. All of their elements received level 3 or 4, with GOEs from +1 to +3. Each movement flowed seamlessly into the next and showed why the siblings are the top U.S. junior team. (1st in the free dance)

Piper Gilles & Zach Donohue (Music from The Man Who Knew Too Much, Vertigo, and North by Northwest). Gilles and Donohue closed the event with a fast and furious free dance to music from Alfred Hitchcock films. Other than the Shibutanis, the team was the only one to receive +3 GOEs (lifts). The performance was frantic at times and rough around the edges, but still very strong overall. (2nd in the free dance)

Novice Free Dance Recap // Posted January 31st @ 8:11 PM (EST)

Madeline Heritage & Nathaniel Fast (“Silsila Ye Chaahat Ka”). The 2007 juvenile champions maintained good speed and unison throughout their Indian-themed program, particularly on the twizzles and the spin. The choreography suited the program well and their opening rotational lift was eye-catching, with Heritage in a low position, horizontal to the ice. (6th in free dance)

Hannah Rosinski & Paul Shapiro (“Parisenne Walkways”). Rosinski & Shapiro’s free dance was choreographed by Brandon Forsyth, the 2000 World Junior silver medalist in ice dance. The team has improved since last season, but were not quite as polished as the teams who finished ahead of them here. Their good speed and choreography fit the music well. (10th in free dance)

Amanda Bertsch & Sam Rashba (Russian folk). Bertsch & Rashba struggled from the beginning, with a fall on their step sequence and another on their twizzles. Negative GOE coupled with two mandatory one-point deductions dropped them from 9th to 11th overall. Though they are a new partnership, the duo displayed some of the great unison that is typical of the Ann Arbor teams. (11th in free dance)

Kassy Kova & Justin Ross (Mambo medley). Kova & Ross just missed qualifying for Nationals in 2009 and were sidelined for the first half of the season with an injury (to Kova), but pulled off a respectable skate in Spokane.

The Southern California team’s strongest element was their curve lift, which was graded level four and received no negative GOEs, but stumbles on their twizzles cost them valuable points and prevented them from moving up. (12th in free dance)

Heather Buckner & Nicholas Taylor (The Mummy soundtrack). Buckner & Taylor received all level fours, except for a level one for their circular step sequence. Unlike several teams who skated before them, they rocked the twizzles, receiving positive GOEs for the element. Overall, it was a solid skate with strong elements. (7th in free dance)

Danielle Gamelin & Alexander Gamelin (“Lacrymosa”). Dramatic-themed programs choreographed by Evgeny Platov really suit the Gamelins’ style. An unfortunate mishap during a low-to-the-ground highlight move resulted in a fall which disrupted the program. Still, the team skated with power, speed, and maturity. (8th in the free dance)

Lorraine McNamara & Quinn Carpenter (“Bolero”). McNamara & Carpenter were in character from the moment they took the ice, both in costume and in expression. A fall by McNamara at the end of the twizzle sequence marred an otherwise strong performance featuring solid lifts and intricate choreography. (9th in the free dance)

Lauren McKernan & Adam Munday (“Caravan”). Rounding out the second group, McKernan and Munday performed well to “Caravan.” Though they lost unison on the twizzles and Munday stumbled, the rest of the program was fairly solid. (5th in the free dance)

Kristina Rexford & Michael Parsons (“Moonlight Sonata”). Rexford & Parsons’ “Moonlight Sonata” free dance was skated extremely well. They received just one negative GOE (on the circular step sequence) and a total of 17 +1s for their free dance. (4th in the free dance)

Joylyn Yang & Jean-Luc Baker (“My Heart Will Go On”). Yang & Baker’s lovely performance was highlighted by solid twizzles and two well-executed lifts, for which the team earned level 4s with +1 and +2 GOEs. The team put a great deal of emotion into their performance. (2nd in the free dance)

Alexandra Aldridge & Daniel Eaton (Man in the Iron Mask). Clearly the strongest team in the field, Aldridge & Eaton skated with more maturity than the other teams. Although this is only their first season together, they could easily pass for a more-seasoned team. Although they struggled with the twizzles, which were downgraded and received -2 and -3 GOEs, their performance overall was stronger than other teams and deservedly ranked first. (1st in the free dance)

Danvi Pham & Vu Pham (“Ghost Dances”). The Phams, at just 11 and 12 years old, skated a strong performance, except for their spin, which lost speed and lacked centering. They scored level fours, except for their spin (L2 with negative GOEs) and step sequence (L1). (3rd in the free dance)

Folk Junior Style // Posted January 21st @ 8:01 PM (PST)

Gabrielle Friedenberg & Benjamin Nykiel – “Lonely Goatherd” (Austrian). Small unison break on the twizzles (-.36 GOE), but got the rotations for a level four. Nice job skating to the music in the midline steps (L2, -.29 GOE). Curve lift fine, level four. Good energy in the performance aspect, but a bit slow in terms of ice coverage. 40.11 in OD (9th), 9th overall.

Katie Donaldson & Brock Jacobs – “Wedding Celebration”/”Bottle Dance” from Fiddler on the Roof. Pretty nice twizzles, but only a level 3 (-.14 GOE). Stumble from her on the diagonal step sequence (L2, -1.71 GOE). I’d like to see more connection between them and the music, but there were some nice moments with good flow. 29.02 in OD (14th), 13th overall.

Kristen Nardozzi & Robert Cuthbertson – Italian (“Funiculi, Funicula”). Nice level four curve lift to open (+.29 GOE). Almost collided with each other on the midline step sequence (L2, -1.14 GOE). Nardozzi went down at the end of the first twizzles, then popped back up and did the second set, but they were still a level one (-1.43 GOE). Even with the mistakes, they kept their energy level up throughout. 32.76 in OD (12th), 12th overall.

Janine Halstead & Robert Knopf – “Alpen Boarischer” (Polka). Some unison breaks on the midline, but got it back together (L1, -.29 GOE). Twizzles were slow (-.71 GOE), but they got the level four. Need more connection to the music. Good job on the rotational lift — he held her away from his body to get the level four. 32.15 in OD (13th), 14th overall.

Lauri Bonacorsi & Travis Mager – Tarantella (“Funiculi, Funicula”). Super cute and bouncy opening. All positive GOE, level four for the twizzles and the lift, level two for both step sequences. Highlight was the no-handed straightline lift with her legs wrapped around his waist (+.79 GOE). Overall, very secure and polished, tons of energy. 45.88 in OD (7th), 6th overall.

Maia Shibutani & Alex Shibutani – Japanese folk. Fantastic speed and unison on twizzles (+1 GOE), but Alex missed catching his blade, so they were only a level two. No other mistakes in the program, level four straightline lift received +2 from all the judges. All GOE marks were +1 or more. 56.17 in OD (1st), 1st overall, with almost a nine-point lead.

Natalie Wojton & Michael Soyfer – Wojton let got of her blade early on the twizzles, dropping them to a level two (-.86 GOE). A bit of trouble of the circular step sequence (L1, -1 GOE), but the midline steps were very secure (L1, base value). Cute straightline lift in character with the music (L2, base). Awesome comeback overall. 32.90 in OD (11th), 11th overall.

Anastasia Olson & Jordan Cowan – Russian folk. Good midline step sequence to open (L2, +.86 GOE), twizzles were also good (L4, +.29 GOE). Awesome highlight move where she’s holding onto his legs, parallel to the ice. Strong straightline lift (L4, +.43 GOE). Great performance, and another great comeback! 47.11 in OD (5th), 5th overall.

Piper Gilles & Zachary Donohue – “Thank God I’m a Country Boy”/”Country Roads”/”Devil Went Down to Georgia”. Good energy in the performance, especially since they switched to this dance after the JGP. Mostly +1s and +2s for GOE, level 3 midline steps (+1.43) scored 8.43. Rotational lift was a highlight — very fast (L4, +.86). 51.04 in OD (2nd), 3rd overall.

Anastasia Cannuscio & Colin McManus – French folk. Start right away with midline, very smooth (L3, +.86 GOE). Rotational lift looked a bit short, but they got the level four. Good on the twizzles (L4, +.21 GOE). Good, secure skate overall. No negative GOE marks, and they switched things up by putting their optional lift in the middle of the program. 45.84 in OD (8th), 7th overall.

Rachel Tibbetts & Collin Brubaker – “Tennessee Waltz.” Very strong rotational lift (L4, +.86 GOE) to open the program. Lost a level on twizzles (L3, base) when Tibbetts put her foot down early on the second set. Very smooth skating to the waltz, then picked up their energy level on the music change. GOE mostly 0, +1, and +2. Solid effort. 49.24 in OD (3rd), 2nd overall.

Katharine Zeigler & Baxter Burbank – Flamenco. Very strong and fairly rare stationary lift to open (L4, +.29 GOE) — highlight of the program. Trouble on the twizzles (L2, -.36 GOE) and the midline steps (L1, -.86 GOE). Didn’t quite have the feisty character of the flamenco, but they pushed through to the end. 35.21 in OD (10th), 10th overall.

Charlotte Lichtman & Dean Copely – Mexican folk. Great fuschia music! Unison problems on the twizzles (L4, -.21 GOE). Other elements were secure. She blindfolds him halfway through for a bit, then takes it off. Strong rotational lift to end (L4, +.5 GOE). Lots of energy, but this program is not a standout like their free dance is. 45.97 in OD (6th), 8th overall.

Isabella Cannuscio & Ian Lorello – Russian folk. Good speed on the twizzles, but only a level three (+.29 GOE). Neat feet on the step sequences (L2, +.86 GOE for both). Great energy, very polished, charming presentation. A bit more difficulty is all this team needs to take their skating to the next level. 47.65 in OD (4th), 4th overall.

Catching Up // Posted January 21st @ 7:49 PM (PST)

Hope everyone is enjoying the photographs and blogs by Jim McManus. Behind a bit on reports, but they’re in progress.

Happy Tangos // Posted January 19th @ 11:49 PM (PST)

The junior ice dance competition kicked off Tuesday evening with the Argentine Tango compulsory dance. As expected, reigning World Junior silver medalists Maia Shibutani & Alex Shibutani lead the field of 13 teams with a score of 35.72. Their GOEs were mostly +1 and +2, and they did not receive a single mark less than 0. Their PCS ranged from 6.46 to 6.75, winning that portion as well as the TES.

Just under two points behind the Shibutanis with 33.76, Rachel Tibbetts & Collin Brubaker placed second in both TES and PCS and also did not receive a single negative GOE. Their Program Component Score averages ranged from 6.04 to 6.18.

Teams standing third through eighth are within approximately two points of each other. The Technical Element Scores are just steps apart, with teams in third through sixth scoring 16.81, 16.73, 16.61, and 16.51.

Isabella Cannuscio & Ian Lorello were fourth in TES and third in PCS to stand in third place overall with a score of 30.94. They had minor difficulties in the third section of both patterns and received negative GOEs on both. Their PCS spanned a point, with scores ranging from 5.25 to 6.25.

Third in the TES went to Piper Gilles & Zachary Donohue. They had five -1s spattered throughout their GOEs, but this only amounted to a .1 deduction overall. The judges gave a wider range of Program Component Scores, with a low of 4.5 and a high of 6.5. Added together, they receive a total segment score of 30.81 to put them in fourth place.

Last year’s national novice champions, Lauri Bonacorsi & Travis Mager, took only a -.2 deduction on the second segment of their second pattern. They lost ground to the teams above them with PCS in the 4.5 to 6 range. The averages, however, were quite consistent, with Skating Skills and Performance both receiving 5.29 and Timing and Interpretation both at 5.32. Their segment total came in at 29.88.

Just a hair under that at 29.50, Anastasia Cannuscio & Collin McManus took the nod in Interpretation with their 5.46. They just missed the 13-point mark for PCS, coming in at 12.99. Only their final segment of the dance received a deduction, losing .2, and their sixth place standing keeps them in reach of the podium.

In seventh place, Charlotte Lichtman & Dean Copely skated a clean dance that received mostly base 0 GOE. Although they were actually eighth in PCS with their Performance average dropping into the 4s, their 28.78 total keeps them in the medal hunt.

Only seven one hundredths of a point behind (28.71) are last year’s novice silver medalists, Anastasia Olson & Jordan Cowan. They were sixth in PCS but lost points in the third sequence of both patterns. Even though eighth place after the CD sounds worrisome, Olson & Cowan are still only two points out of bronze.

Waltzing the Killian // Posted January 19th @ 7:28 PM (PST)
Ice dance events kicked off with the novice compulsory dances at 8:10 a.m. Despite the early hour (warm-up began at 6 a.m.!) the dozen teams floated through the Starlight Waltz and worked the perk in the Kilian. The top five couples had different placements in each dance, making it quite the battle for the podium.

Standing in first overall after a second-place Starlight Waltz and a win in the Kilian, Danvi Pham & Vu Pham take 49.60 points into Wednesday’s free dance. Their Starlight earned a split of 0 and +1 GOEs, with a lone -1. Drawing the final spot didn’t hurt them, as they placed second in both TES and PCS. Their Kilian was tops in TES and second by .03 in PCS. The GOEs had more +1s and a handful of +2s.

Joylyn Yang & Luc Baker are in second overall with 48.22 after a third in the Starlight and a second in the Kilian. They picked up some -1s in the Starlight putting them third in both TES and PCS. Their Kilian, however, was dominated by +1s and they earned the highest PCS of the field.

Alexandra Aldridge & Daniel Eaton had an up-and-down event, winning the Starlight by more than a point, but having two stumbles–one major–in the Kilian that dropped them to sixth in that dance. The judges dinged them on the Performance component as well, with scores dropping into the 3s. In contrast, they earned up to 6.5 for Performance for their waltz. After the two dances, the team stands in third with 47.75.

With 46.34 points, Kristina Rexford & Michael Parsons are fourth. The duo struggled with the third section of the Starlight on both of the patterns, losing more than half a point. Their Kilian was better, with no negative GOEs and placing third, one spot higher than the waltz.

Twins Danielle and Alex Gamelin are in fifth overall after placing sixth in the Starlight and fourth in the Kilian. Six -1s in the waltz only cost them .2 in the TES, but the program component scores seemed very low for such a beautiful dance. Miraculously, the duo’s Skating Skills improved by half a point in between the two dances and their PCS jumped in the Kilian nearly two points. They go into the free dance with 44.77 points.

Ten-year-old Lorraine McNamara and partner Quinn Carpenter placed fifth in both dances but lie in sixth overall with 44.49. They lost points on half of the sections in the Starlight, but the three -1s in the Kilian were dropped and didn’t affect their GOE.

Heather Buckner & Nicholas Taylor placed seventh in both dances and are in seventh overall. Lauren McKernan & Adam Munday, who opened the dance event by drawing to skate first in the Starlight, were eighth in both and eighth overall. The two teams go into the free dance with scores of 42.41 and 41.49, respectively.

The teams in ninth through 11th (Amanda Bertsch & Samuel Rashba, Madeline Heritage & Nathaniel Fast, and Hannah Rosinski & Paul Shapiro) are only a quarter point apart. Kassy Kova & Justin Ross are less than a point behind the trio.

Novice ice dance concludes tomorrow.

Men’s Free & More // Posted January 18th @ 12:33 PM (PST)

Standing ovation for Ryan Bradley after his free skate.

The men’s event was exciting from the beginning with Jonathan Cassar’s riveting performance to “Schindler’s List” to Ryan Bradley’s entertaining baroque program to Jeremy Abbott bringing the house down to “Symphony No. 3 in C minor” by Camille Saint-Saens; lots of standing ovations and excitement.

Side note: Elvis Stojko watched the men’s free skate from the seated media section. When Keegan Messing took the ice, he commented that Keegan was his favorite to watch in the event. Another media person mentioned to Stojko that Messing had listed in his bio that the person he most wanted to meet was him because he was the reason he started skating (after watching him in the 1994 Olympics). This prompted Stojko to pop down to the media room to introduce himself. I suggested to Stojko that Messing is an expert with the yoyo and he might be willing to give him a demonstration.

The dancers are here! Piper Gilles, Alexandra Aldridge, Daniel Eaton, Adam Munday, Ben Nykiel, Lauren Mckernan, Kassy Kova, and Justin Ross were all seen popping in to watch part of the afternoon’s skating menu.

It’s late and practice starts early! Time for rest.

Travel & Catch Up // Posted January 17th @ 2:05 PM (PST)

Travel recap: My trip from Portland, ME to Spokane, WA was pretty near on-time with no complications. The leg from Chicago to Portland, OR had Wi-Fi on the plane, which I greatly appreciated. I used to the time to catch up on preparations for the week as well as posting some updates for our coverage of the Canadian National Championships.

It’s a busy time for skating fans and media folks as within a two week time span there are three high-level competitions going on. In addition to the Canadian Championships that are wrapping up today, and the U.S. Championships that continue into next weekend, the top skaters from Europe are competing at the European Championships this week, with their event getting underway on Tuesday. Melanie Hoyt is bringing you coverage from Canadians, while Liz Chastney will be photographing the European Championships for IDC, and I (Daphne) will be the lone media force in Spokane.

My body clock is still on East Coast time, so I’m still adjusting. I got to the hotel too late to head to the Arena for the junior pairs short, so I stayed at the hotel to unwind. This was at 10 p.m. (1 a.m. EST). Within a few minutes of lying down, I was asleep and didn’t even wake up when my roommates came back from the rink. Ode to travel exhaustion.

After credentialing, Leah Adams, Jamie Blanchard (FigureSkatersOnline) and I had breakfast at “Molly’s,” a cute diner a few blocks from the hotel before heading to the Arena. We arrived just in time to see Jonathan Cassar take the ice for his “Schindler’s List” free skate program, which was SUPERB! He posted scores that kept him in first throughout the first two groups before he was eventually overtaken by Brandon Mroz. The event is still going on, so we’ll see where he ends up.

Back to work on previews! More later.