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2013 U.S. National Championships

 Polina Edmunds Takes Narrow Short Program Lead in Crowded Junior Ladies Short Program

 by Doris Spicer Pulaski





(23 January 2013)  Polina Edmunds won the 2013 U.S. National Junior Ladies short program, and she may or may not triumph in the free skate tomorrow, but it is unlikely that she will be able to compete at the 2013 Junior Worlds Championship in any case. To qualify for Junior Worlds, a skater must have obtained a TES score of at least 20.00 in the short program, and a TES of at least 35.00 in the free skate in an ISU event during this season or last season. Edmunds has never competed for the U.S. in an ISU sanctioned completion. The only ISU competition that is scheduled prior to Junior Worlds, and for which the entry application date has not yet passed, is the 2013 Challenge Cup at The Hague, Netherlands. The Challenge Cup competition is scheduled for February 21-24. Junior Worlds begins the day after, February 25th, in Milan, Italy.

Polina Edmunds

If the fourteen-year old Edmunds is unable to compete, the audience at Junior Worlds will be missing seeing a talented skater perform a special program, choreographed by Olympic gold medalist in ice dance, Marina Klimova to the Russian Gypsy song “Two Guitars.”

Polina Edmunds, who trains with her mother, Nina Edmunds, and David Glynn, starting skating at the age of 2, landed the only triple Lutz-triple toe combination in the competition, and did so for positive GOE. In fact, it was that combination that made the difference between Edmund’s score of 58.17 and Mariah Bell’s score of 56.63.

Bell, who is the 2012 US National Novice bronze medalist, is coached by Cindy Sullivan, Erik Schulz, and Billy Schneider. The fourteen-year old picked to perform to “I’m a Doun for Lack o’Johnnie,” as performed by Vanessa Mae, because the song has special meaning for her. Her emotional connection truly shone in her presentation, and helped her earn the highest PCS marks of the event.  Bell has seemingly effortless speed across the ice, and floated gracefully and seemingly joyously through her entire performance..

The third place finisher in the short program was Karen Chen, 13, the 2012 US Nationals Novice champion, with a score of 54.34. Chen chose to skate to the soundtrack of the “House of Flying Daggers” composed by Shigeru Umebayashi for that martial arts based film. Chen and her coaches, Sherri Krahne-Thomas and Gilley Nicholson, made a brave decision to place her attempted triple Lutz – triple loop combination late in the program to earn the bonus. However, Chen severely under rotated her triple loop in the combination, and received an edge call on her triple flip and so did not benefit from attempting such a difficult technical feat. The highlight of her program was the exciting, quick paced step sequence to the driving drum beats of Umebasyashi’s composition, executed at the very end of her program.

Barbie Long, 16, is not out of contention for a medal, even though she is currently in fourth place with a score of 51.05. The student of Susan Liss skated a playful routine to “The Pink Panther Theme” by Henry Mancini in which it was easy to detect the influences of the dance background of her choreographer Tanith Belbin. Long fell on her triple flip attempt, and had to wait, a forced smile on her face, behind the pictures of Puff’s tissue boxes in the kiss and cry area.  A slightly off landing on triple Lutz pulled down her marks on her jump combination (with double toe loop) but it was an otherwise technically strong program.

Maria Yang is in fifth place nearly ten points pack with a score of 48.75.  Skating to music from "The Secret Garden" she had an edge call on her triple Lutz - double loop combination and an under-rotation on triple flip.

Ssixth place and a score of 46.04 points, belong to Katia Shpilband, the daughter of renowned ice dance coach, Igor Shpilband.  Skating to music from "That's Entertainment" had an edge call on Triple Lutz (in combination with double toe loop)  and was also severely marked down on her triple flip, and also lost points on her flying camel spin and layback spin.

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