by Geri Walbert
(19 January 2017) The Junior Ladies Short Program is a competition in search of the next up and coming “ice princess” looking forward to the next Olympic quadrennial. Required elements for the Junior Ladies Short Program include a double Axel, a double or triple loop preceded by connecting steps or other comparable free skating movements, a jump combination of two double jumps, a double/triple combination or a two triple jump combination, a flying camel spin, a sideways or layback spin without change of foot or sit spin with one change of foot and a step sequence utilizing the full ice surface.
The twelve ladies vying for the overall title included 15 year-old Elizabeta Kulik, the daughter of two Olympic champions, Ekaterina Gordeeva (with pairs partner Sergei Grinkov – 1988 & 1994)) and Ilia Kulik (1998), but a fall on the triple loop, the second jump in her performance to “Forbidden Love” from the film “Romeo & Juliet” left her with a one point deduction, scoring a somewhat lackluster 48.36 points for an 8th placement.
The winner of the short program was the very first skater in the competition, Emmy Ma, a 16 year-old from Boston, coached by former three-time US men’s medalist Mark Mitchell and Peter Johannson. Wearing a salmon pink dress, Ma opened her program with music from “Samson & Delilah” with a solid triple loop, followed by a triple Lutz/double toe loop combination with an arm raised on the second jump. It was a pretty skate showing an overall elegant style. She ultimately led the competition with an unbeatable score of 60.31.
Ma said she had been working on the arm-raised special feature on her combination and was happy to include it even if it was only on the double toe loop instead of the triple toe loop she had originally planned.
Placing second overall with a total score of 57.83 was 15 year-old Starr Andrews, who trains in Lakewood, CA with former men’s competitor Derrick Delmore. Wearing a black leotard with pink accents, Andrews skated to music from the “Pink Panther.” She opened with a solid triple toe loop/triple toe loop combination, also including both arms raised on the ending triple toe loop. The performance was an audience pleaser as well, completing a triple loop and double Axel with flare and confidence.
Andrews later commented that she felt strong and confident as this was her second season performing the program.
Wafer-thin, Kaitlyn Nguyen, a 13 year-old from Torrence, CA, coached by former Senior Ladies two-time bronze medalist Angela Nikodinov (1999, 2001) and Ivan Dinov, skated to music from Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” opening with a strong triple Lutz/triple toe loop combination generating the highest base value of the competition at 10.30, but lower scores on other elements of her program left her with a third placement at 57.80 points.
Fifteen year-old Angela Paganini, representing the SC of New York, placed 4th in her presentation to music ”On Golden Pond” by Dave Grusin opening with a double Lutz/triple toe combination instead of the triple toe loop/triple toe loop she had planned, ending with a score of 52.90.
Fifth place finisher, Ashley Lin, 13, from the Dallas FSC, stepped out of her ending triple toe loop in her triple/triple combination in her program to “Memory” from the musical “Cats” with a score of 52.38.
In 6th place with a score of 52.37 was Maxine Marie Bautista, of the DuPage FSC, wearing a gorgeous ivory dress, performed to Duke Ellington’s version of “Caravan” by Billy May.
Nna Ouellette, 14, who trains in San Jose, CA skated to Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good” in a bright orange dress, opening with a strong triple Lutz/double toe loop but under-rotated the following triple loop to score 49.65 and finish in 7th place.
Skating to “Sabre Dance,” 17 year-old Brynne McIsaac from the Washington FSC, landed in 9th place with a score of 44.84 after having under-rotated the triple Lutz in her opening combination, and later under-rotating a triple loop.
Washington FSC skater Haley Beavers, 17, placed 10th when she singled the required double or triple loop jump with a score of 44.29 in her program to “Espana Cani.”
Madalyn Moree, 16, of Minneapolis, MN immediately followed Ouellette in the lineup also skating to “Feeling Good” but performed by singer Lauryn Hill. She placed 11th with a score of 42.76. after under-rotating her opening triple Lutz in the combination and later also under-rotating the triple loop.
12th place finisher, Shannon Porter, 15, of the Broadmoor SC, scored 42.60 with her “Summertime” program after under-rotating her triple flip in her opening combination jump as well as a later double Axel.