by Carly Gold
Beverly Zhu Win Novice Ladies in Landslide Victory
Beverly Zhu was the standout champion of the Novice Ladies event at the 2018 U.S. Championships. She performed both a clean short and free program to earn a total score of 167.69 points, a whopping 35 points ahead of the silver medalist.
Zhu performed a lovely short program to “Una Mattina”, landing a clean triple flip- triple toeloop combination, triple loop, and double axel. She did not receive a single negative GOE for any element. Her lyrical skating and lovely lines set her apart from the rest of the field, scoring nearly two points higher in components for the segment. She scored 54.91 points for the short program.
Her free program was even more impressive. Zhu’s “Miss Saigon” performance featured six clean triples, including an opening triple flip-triple toeloop combination, which earned 13.00 points for the element. Her technical element score was 17 points higher than Callista Choi, who placed second in the free program segment. She earned 112.78 points for the free skate.
It’s not typical to see novice ladies attempt, let alone succeed, at difficult triple-triple combinations. I was incredibly impressed with Zhu’s performances here, and look forward to see what she brings to the table in junior level competitions next season.
Emilea Zingas rallied from a sixth-place finish in the short program to win the silver medal. Her saucy performance to “Malaguena” was highlighted by an opening triple Lutz-double toe combination, as well as two other triple jumps performed cleanly. Her only mistake in the performance was a fall on a triple Salchow. She earned 89.25 points for the segment. Zingas had the second highest components in the free program, with 41.00 points. She finished with a total score of 132.68 points.
Taking the bronze medal was Violeta Ushakova with a score of 132.68 points. She struggled in her free program, with rough landings on three of her attempted triples, and also doubled an intended triple toeloop. Ushakova did not attempt harder triples like flip or Lutz, but earned level 4s on each of her spins and her step sequence. She placed fifth in the free with a segment score of 84.76 points, however her solid third place finish in the short was enough to keep her on the podium.
Callista Choi struggled in the short program, falling on a downgraded triple Salchow and placing 10th in the segment with a score of 40.90 points. She improved in the free skate to place second with a score of 90.30 points. Choi landed three triple jumps, as well as a double Axel. She had a step out on her triple loop attempt, which was the only element to receive negative GOEs.
Choi is a very pleasant skater to watch, with good speed and nice ice coverage. She earned a total score of 131.20 points.
Christina Lin, who was second after the short program, had a dismal free program showing and finished 7th. She scored 77.29 points for the segment, for a total score of 125.99 points. Lin is a very talented skater, with nice spins and interesting choreography, so I was disappointed to see her not perform to her potential.