First Time’s the Charm for Colorado Pairs

Articles, Articles by Barry Mittan

Brynn Carman and Christopher Knierim

Brynn Carman and Christopher Knierim won a pewter medal at U. S. Nationals in novice pairs in their first visit to a national-level competition. “Our goal was just to make it to Nationals,” Knierim said. Carman will still be ineligible for the Junior Grand Prix circuit net season, but they hope to compete there in 2008-09. The skaters plan to stay together and compete for a long time to come. “I’d like to skate all of my life because of the joy I have in it,” Carman said.

Carman, who is 12, first went skating when she was five. “My mom used to watch skating on television and I liked watching it too,” she said. Among her other interests were ballet, tap dancing, skiing and singing, but she has discontinued those activities, except for ballet. Carman has landed a double axel and is working on her first triple jump, the triple salchow. She placed fifth at Regionals in juvenile girls, but she wanted to try pairs. “I watched the pairs skaters at our rink and I looked up to them,” she said. “I like doing throws and twists and lifts.” She plans to continue competing in singles for a year or two.

Knierim didn’t start skating until he was 12. “I didn’t do any sports,” he said, “but my mom use to skate so I tried it.” He landed his first triple salchow when he was 17. Knierim has competed in singles for the past two seasons, finishing as high as sixth in intermediate men at Regionals, but noted, “I always wanted to do pairs, but I hadn’t had the opportunity so I asked Dalilah Sappenfield if I could do pairs. It’s harder but more fun. I like doing the lifts and twists.”

The two teamed up in the summer of 2006. “Brynn is energetic and a very hard worker,” Knierim said. “And she’s small and light and good looking.” Carman noted that Knierim was “trustworthy. I feel safe when he’s lifting me. We get along really well and don’t fight.”

Dalilah Sappenfield coaches the team, which trains at the World Ice Arena in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Knierim traveled back and forth between his hometown of San Diego, California and Colorado Springs for two years before settling down in the city last summer. They usually skate two 45-minute pairs sessions a day, six days a week and one or two singles sessions. Carman also does Pilates and yoga for off ice training.

The skaters included a side-by-side double lutz, double salchow sequence and double flip, a level 4 back outside death spiral, level 4 lasso and star lifts, a throw double loop and double salchow, and a double twist in their program. “We do a triple twist, but we had to leave it out because it’s illegal in novice,” Knierim said. They have landed a throw double axel and will be working on a throw triple salchow during the summer.

Sappenfield choreographed both programs for the pair. They used ” Nightmare” by Brain Bug for their short and “City Slickers” for the long. “We downloaded most of the music from the Internet and then Dalilah put it together for us,” Knierim said. “We’re planning to keep the long but get a new short for next season. We may use ‘Chopsticks’ by Mozart.” The team is planning to use “Great Balls of Fire” for their exhibition program. Off ice Carman listens to pop and jazz, while Knierim listens to all kinds of music.

Off ice, Knierim likes to hang out with friends and go fishing. “I’ll catch anything that bites,” he said. Carman likes going out with friends, shopping, and hunting. “I go hunting with my father all the time,” she said. “My brothers and sisters go too. We hunt deer, elk and moose. I’m not old enough to shoot yet but I help stalk them. I shoot a .22 at the range. She also collects stuffed cows and has about forty.

Knierim has graduated from high school and works at Sears repairing cars. The 19-year-old plans to study automotive technology in college. Carman will be in seventh grade at West Middle School in the fall. “I like science and have always wanted to be a doctor,” she said.

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