Tuesday, 17/7/2018 | : : UTC-7
Skate Today

Davis and White Deliver

The senior dance competition came to a close Saturday after crowning new national champions at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Cleveland. Meryl Davis and Charlie White took home their first gold medal of their career in the absence of Olympic silver medalists Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto who are out due to injury. This is their third senior championship taking silver in 2008 and bronze in 2007. 2008 World Junior Champions Emily Samuelson and Evan Bates took second and Kimberly Navarro and Brent Bommentre captured third.

“I think that we all wish Tanith and Ben a speedy recovery,” Davis stated in reference to their old training mates injuries. “They have done so much for our sport. We really miss them here.”

Davis, 22, and White, 21, put out a passionate performance set to the music of “Samson and Delilah” by Camile Saint-Saens that featured gorgeous lifts and intricate step sequences. Their lifts were all called level four as was the combination spin receiving high GOE’s for those elements. They skated aggressively causing the duo to struggle on their twizzles dropping their level to level two. The midline step sequence (level three) was equally strong in execution.

“It’s kind of surreal,” Davis stated about winning the title. “We have been dreaming about this for years. It’s just amazing.”

The duo that live and train in Michigan under coaches Igor Shpilband and Marina Zoueva picked up a segment score of 99.82 points. The Grand Prix bronze medalists earned an event total of 201.66 points – over twenty points higher than their closest competitors.

“We wanted to give the whole package today, and we are really happy with the performance,” White commented about the program. “It was especially great to do it in front of a great crowd in Cleveland.”

Skating to “Amazonic” 2008 Junior World Champions Emily Samuelson and Evan Bates produced a season’s best skate, highlighted by well-timed synchronized twizzles and outstanding lifts with complicated changes of position. The midline and circular steps sequences were first rate but the combination spin had problems. The problems cost them dearly earning severe penalties from the judges.

“A few years ago on the junior level, we lost to Charlie and Meryl by 21 points, now 20 points,” Bates said laughing. “Maybe in another 40 years, we can beat them.”

They packed away 88.39 points in their free dance and posted an event total of 181.64 points.

“We had one mistake on one element, but the rest of the program was good,” Bates stated. “With all the waiting around we still were able to skate well and overall we are really happy.”

Kimberly Navarro and Brent Bommentre who placed third last season again repeated as Bronze medalists.

The Four Continents bronze medalists turned in a third place showing in their “Fat boy slim” free dance which earned them a segment score of 86.78 points. The totally revamped program looks much stronger than earlier in the season.

They earned a level four on five of their eight elements and the execution of the program appeared much improved. The curve lift to rotational lift was especially well-done earning the duo +2 GOE’s from six of the nine judges.

“I think we skated great,” Bommentre said with confidence. “This program we are doing is pretty tough. And up until nationals we had made some changes. A lot of the changes are in the transitions, the music, and the lifts. After our Grand Prix’s we took a hard look at the program. We (really) focused on making the music stand out.”

The duo pocketed 176.30 points en route to the bronze medal.

Brother and Sister Madison and Keiffer Hubbell compete in the senior ranks for the first time. They did themselves proud with a pewter medal finish with 171.51 points.

The Junior Grand Prix silver medalists executed wonderful highlight moves which accentuated the music and drew applause from the audience.

Skating to “Sognami” the duo displayed a sophisticated presentation which included five level four elements and smooth transitions from one element to the next. The audience gasped when the duo executed a complicated hydro blade move which is not considered an element.

Madison and Keiffer earned a segment score of 84.48 points.

The final spot on the national team went to the American/Canadian match-up of Morgan Matthews and Leif Gislason who finished sixth in the compulsory dance, third in the original dance, and fifth in the free dance. They accrued 83.00 points in the free dance and 169.35 points in their national debut set to “The Muse”.

Both Matthews and Gislason skated with former partners and had success at an early age. Matthews skated with Max Zavozin winning both national and international titles. The partnership ended in 2007. Gislason skated with Lauren Flynn for nine years and in 2000 when they won gold in the Novice division in 2000 at Canadians. He later skated with Lauren Senft but the partnership ended in 2007. Matthews and Gislason joined forces in 2008.

The top three couples will represent the United States at the Four Continents Championships next month in Vancouver. Kimberly Navarro and Brent Bommentre will be replaced on the World team by Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto who should be healed and ready to compete.

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Skate Today was created in November 2004 to showcase the people of the skating world, skaters and coaches and others, who make figure skating and ice dancing a pleasure to watch for fans from around the world. The goal was to create a site that would give viewers an insight into the personalities of the people involved in this sport and to give you a more personal connection when watching them live at an event or on the television. Our staff knows how much time and dedication is put into this sport and that's why Skate Today was created.

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