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US NATIONALS SENIOR SHORT PROGRAMS RECAP

PAIRS

The 2014 Senior US Nationals opened with the Pairs’ Short Programs on January 9, 2014, to a crowded, supportive audience at TD Garden in Boston, MA. The Ladies followed.

 

Hometown favorites, Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir, reigning US Pairs Champions, wove their “Black Magic” and won the short program with a score of 73.13. Their high- flying triple twist and explosive 3S throw had the crowd on their feet before the final pose. “It was a sentimental moment skating before our friends and family, “ smiled Castelli, who along with Schnapir represents the host Skating Club of Boston. Only 2.08 points separate the next four teams. In second place are Felicia Zang and Nate Bartholomay, current US Pairs bronze medalists. Their program skated to “Carousel Waltz “by Rogers and Hammerstein was lyrical and showed a mature side of the skaters. They reworked the choreography after a disappointing fall debut and “it showed up in the component score”, grinned a very happy Bartholomay. Their total score was 66.50. The Indianapolis duo of Dee Dee Lang and Timothy LeDuc were a very close third with 66.40. They are the only team of the top five not to have participated in the Grand Prix Series this season. Their program, “The Feeling Begins” reflected their reaction of awe when the marks were announced. “ We turned to each other during our bow and said that’s the most fun we’ve had competing so far,” said Iowa native, LeDuc. Their signature ice dance twizzles placed strategically at the end of the Step Sequence was a choreographic addition to the program. Caydee Denney and John Coughlin, Trophee Bombard bronze medalists, are in fourth place with a 65.40 score, 7.73 points behind the leaders. The 2012 US Champions were sidelined last year due to Coughlin’s injury. The difference in not being in the top three was the negative GOE received for doing a 2T side-by-side jump instead of a planned 3T. Both Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim, reigning US Pairs silver medalists, fell on their 3S and landed in fifth place with a 64.68 score.

 

 

LADIES

Familiar faces and a teenager fresh off the Junior GPF led the ladies after their short programs. Reining US silver medalist, Gracie Gold, stood in first place with 72.12 points. Gold proved her daring change of coaches, program, and choreographer a few months before Nationals was a positive move. Her new style from opening pose through the 3L/3T combination and Level 4 Spins and Step Sequence captivated the audience. Reflecting on the change, Gold said, “Last year at competitions when maybe I hadn’t skated as well, I wasn’t focused on me and my training. I’ve turned off all the texting, twitter, and all the social media. It’s just my headphones warming up, and then skating the program I trained in practice. “ Fifteen year old Polina Edmunds skated last but not least. The Californian dazzled the TD Garden crowd with a 3L/3T combination, 3F, 2A and Level 4 Spins. She received a 66.75 score for second place. Edmunds confidence surpassed her young age. “My triple-triple I’ve been doing it since my second year as a junior. I was 13, so I knew I could go out there because I’ve been training it for two or three years now. It wasn’t a big surprise to hit it. I’ve been training this program all year, so I know what happens and what I needed to do”, smiled Edmunds. The youngster isn’t intimidated by the older and more experienced ladies. “I think my long should get a high score because I have the highest technical elements of all the ladies. I have two triple-triples in my program and a 3F and 3Lz. I just need to go out and skate like I’ve been training, “ quipped the confident teen. 2010 Olympian, Mirai Nagasu, received 66.44 points for third place. Looking ahead to her next skate, the shy former US Champion said, “Going into the long, I’d like to stay focused. I trust myself to do the best I can.” Reigning US Champion, Ashley Wagner, struggled with her 3F/3T combination and stood in fourth place with 64.71 points. “Going into the long program, I feel I’m exactly where I want to be. I really like being the fighter. I like going after the top prize and not being one who has to fend everybody off. I’m ready to fight,” defended Wagner.

 

DANCE

Michigan trained skaters ruled the Short Dance with the top six places. Five time US Champions, Meryl Davis and Charlie White, Finn stepped and twizzled their way into first place with all Level 4 marks and a score of 80.69. Their musical selections from Frederick Loewe’s, My Fair Lady, had the audience involved from the first to the last beat. “Today we reached a comfort level with this program that we haven’t necessarily reached in competition so far. We can now focus on just having fun with the program, which is what the program is all about, “ commented Davis. Madison Chock and Evan Bates, reining US silver medalist, danced to Irving Berlin’s, “No Business Like Show Business”, and earned 73.41 points, a distant 7.28 behind the leaders. Chock commented on the hard fall she had taken the previous day in practice, “I’m okay, but the boards are definitely in worse shape than I am. My shoulders are a little sore from the impact.” Third place belonged to Maia and Alex Shibutani. Their mixture of Level 3’s and 4’s and a break in form on one twizzle scored the 2013 US bronze medalists 68.00 points. “We left some points on the table. It’s fair to say we’re disappointed with that, but we’re very excited about how we’re performing the program as a whole” said Alex. The music is a Michael Buble medley. Madison Hubbell and Zack Donohoe, 2013 Skate Canada bronze medalists, danced to Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and finished in fourth place with 66.69 points. “There were a few stumbles that took away our levels. Our strength is our free dance and we’re ready to go kick some ice”, quipped Donohoe. 2012 and 2013 US Junior Champions, Alexandra Aldridge and Daniel Eaton used “The Mask” music for their Finn step Level 3’s skate and earned 63.71 and fifth place. Lynn Kriengkrairut and Logan Giulleti-Schmitt, placed sixth with a 61.22 score.

 

MEN

Jeremy Abbott, 2013 US bronze medalist, set a short program record with his 99.88 score. Opening with a 4T+3T combination for 16.84 points, followed with a 3Lz and 3A, Abbott captivated the audience with his light and lyrical presentation of the Robin Cousins and Yuka Sato choreographed program to “Lilies of the Valley” by Jun Miyake. Abbott received all Level 4’s for his spins and Step Sequence. “I could hear people behind me saying ‘100’! I guess 99.86 is pretty darn close. Considering my previous highest score was 90, I’m pretty darn happy. I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks”, laughed Abbott. Richard Dornbush captured second place with his Personal Best score of 92.04. His 4S opened the program skated to Henry Mancini’s, “Sons of Italy”. The Californian said, “This is a night that I’m never going to forget. This event is magical and it’s special especially for me. What a great way to end by US career short programs.” Third place belonged to Jason Brown, 2013-14 World Junior silver medalist, who skated to the music, “The Question of U” by Prince. An audience favorite, Brown was greeted by loud cheers before he reached center ice and struck his opening pose to the Rohene Ward choreographed program. He received 87.47 points. Commenting on the jiggle at the ending pose, Brown said, “I end facing toward the judges and I come straight out of a spin, but I knew that I was facing the audience if I stopped. I tried to spin and jump at the same time and I kind of fell a little backwards. I didn’t want to risk a time violation at all, so I got out and tried to stay still as much as I could. “ Reining US Champion, Max Aaron, stands in fourth place. The former Arizona hockey player, opened with a strong 4S/2T. His Latin program skated to “Historia de un Amor”, by Perez Prado and choreographed by Pasquale Camerlengo scored 88.95 points.

 

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