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2014 U.S. National Championships

 Amber Glenn Wins Junior Ladies Short Program, Karen Chen Withdraws From Junior Ladies

 by Doris Spicer Pulaski





(11 January 2014)  Competition was very strong at the US Nationals Junior Ladies Championships. The top four ladies all landed clean triple-triple combinations. Amber Glenn, the first place finisher in the Short Program at the US National Junior Ladies Championship, scored 63.99 points, a new record for a U.S. junior lady at a US National Championships. Glenn, who was a recipient of a 2013 Michael Weiss Foundation Scholarship award, landed her first ever triple flip - triple toe loop combination, a beautiful pair of jumps where the second jump was higher than the first, but her jumps take second place to the excellence of her spins, particularly her layback spin which was perfectly centered and blindly fast, even in the Biellmann position. Every element was well done, and received positive grades of execution from every judge. Her program to "Summertime" by Giovanni, started on a rather wistful tone, but broke into jazzy exuberance during her level four footwork. The fourteen-year-old, who is described by her coach and choreographer Ann Brumbaugh as a hard worker, commented on her website about her upcoming trip to the 2014 US Nationals Junior Ladies Championship, "There is a lot of work to be done, but I can wait.” The fourteen-year-old clearly did not have to wait long, and her hard work is definitely being rewarded!

Tyler Pierce, currently in second place, with 62.38 points, also completed all her elements for positive grades of execution, but she opted to do an easier combination jump than Amber Glenn, a triple toe loop-triple toe loop. Pierce seemed to really feel her short program music, "Voices of the Forest," by Mramia, even landing her jumps on the beat, and accenting every musical highlight with purposeful movement. The fifteen-year-old former gymnast and target-shooting and archery enthusiast started skating at the relatively late age of nine. She is coached by Tammi Gambill and Diane Kovacic. The 2013 US National Novice Ladies Championship declares on her website, "I am currently in 2nd place after the short program. I scored my highest score of the season, 62.38. I am feeling ready for the long at the TD Gardens!"

The third place finisher, Ashley Shin, earned 57.91 points for her routine to "Salut d'Amour" by Elgar. The best element in her routine was a gorgeous, flowing triple flip-triple toe loop combination, but the student of Aleksey Letov and Olga Ganicheva stepped out of her triple loop. Like Glenn and Pierce, Shin also received level 4 for all her spins and also for her step sequence. However, her skating skills and interpretation of her music was not up to the high standard set by Glenn and Pierce. Shin’s program components score was only 23.91, over two points lower than the first and second place competitors.

Bradie Tennell earned fourth place, with a score of 55.34 points for her lyrical skate to "Sozo," by Kijiro Kojiki. Her final spin, which included three consecutive illusions, and which speeded up as she continued spinning was a remarkable end to a beautiful routine. Tennell, who is coached by Denise Myers, Sandi Delfs and Susie Wynne, also landed a high quality triple toe loop-triple toe loop combination, but could not land her triple loop cleanly.

Karen Chen finished in fifth place, having earned only 51.78 points. Chen who broke her ankle last fall, and had to withdraw from the Junior Grand Prix Final, did not return to the ice until three weeks ago. The 2012 US Novice Ladies Champion did not appear at her best here; perhaps she should have waited a little long to return to competition: she stepped out of her double Axel, entered from a counter, and then fell on her triple loop. The 2013-2014 Junior Grand Prix Final bronze medalist has withdrawn from the US National Junior Ladies Championships, and will not compete in the Free Skate.

Elena Taylor, sixth place, 50.30 points, had much lower technical content than the other junior ladies. She only planned and performed a double loop and a triple toe loop-double toe loop combination.

Maria Yang, now in seventh place, scored 49.61 points. Yang was unable to take off for her required loop jump, and so received no credit at all for the element.

Elizabeth Nguyen, eighth place, 47.22 points, fell on her triple Lutz, and so was unable to complete her required combination jump. She also had problem with her change-foot, combination spin, which received only a level 1, and negative grades of execution.