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Bonus Points Raise the Bar in Novice Ladies

 by Karen Frank



(27 January 2016)  The biggest obstacle Haley Beavers faced in the Novice Ladies Free program was a wayward bun. The Delaware native, coached by Tammy Gambill in California already had a five point lead over second place Alexia Paganini going into the free skate. Beavers had landed a triple flip, a triple Lutz, and triple loop when her hair came undone. She went on to land a triple toe-double toe, and a triple loop. But that was just business as usual.

“I did notice it,” Beavers said, “but my programs are like my practices. My buns come out all the time.”

Skating to Quidam from Cirque du Soleil, Beavers says she finds a character in the music that she relates to her daily life. “It’s like my practice sessions. I’m tired in the beginning, a little bit sloppy, like a clown. In the middle of it, I start to extend and be more precise and pretty. And by the end, it’s so much fun.”

Paganini, who had recently bested Beavers at sectionals, skated a more technically difficult free program to Libertango by Ástor Piazzolla. Though she changed a planned triple toe-triple toe combination to a double toe-triple toe, she later landed a triple salchow half-loop triple salchow sequence, a triple loop-double toe, and additional solo triple loop, triple Lutz and double Axel. The only skater to land a triple-triple in the competition (triple toe-triple toe in the short program), Paganini, who recently turned fourteen, was slightly slower than the winner, and didn’t have quite as many transitions and linking moves in her program. She won the silver, after placing second in both the short and free programs.

In third place, also skating a consistent third in all phases of the competition, was Sierra Venetta. Venetta, who skated to Colors of the Wind in the short program and Puccini’s Un bel di vedrem in the free skate, has strong components and seemed well in tune with both her programs. Though she didn’t attempt a triple flip or a triple Lutz, her level four spins all receive high grades of execution, which kept her in contention.

As with the Novice men, the new bonus point system for attempting different triples came into play. Twenty-nine bonus points were awarded in the free program, with three ladies receiving credit for a triple Lutz, and three receiving credit for a triple flip.