by Liz Leamy
(22 January 2021) Isabeau Levito, the talented 13 year-old Mount Holly, New Jersey native who has scored consecutive National Juvenile, Intermediate and Novice medals through to this season, continued her incredible ascent toward the illustrious American skating summit by victoriously clinching the 2021 U.S. Junior Ladies title in Las Vegas Thursday afternoon earning the highest total of the competition, a 187.48.
In her dazzling performance to Malaguena by Ernesto Ieguono, Levito, who was first in the short, racked up big points for a triple Lutz, triple Lutz-half loop-triple Salchow, triple loop, triple flip-triple toe and two double Axels, all of which she did with the ease, acumen and skill of a seasoned premiere skating contender.
Levito, scoring the second-highest marks in the free skate with a 121.82, also did gorgeous spins as well as connecting steps and footwork skated in perfect harmony with the music.
Notably, Levito’s positions, body lean and edges on each of her turns, steps, crossovers and edges were performed with the same standard as that of a top competitive ice dancer while her jump and spin positions were superior.
For Levito, it’s all about getting better.
“I definitely feel [pleased] but like I could’ve done a lot better,” said the driven Levito, adding she likes to focus on doing her personal best, something achieved through hard work. “The more time you spend working, the better you get.”
Levito represents the Skating Club of Southern New Jersey and is coached by Yulia Kuznetsova.
Kanon Smith, the firecracker 12 year-old and 2019 U.S. juvenile champion from the All Year Skating Club scored the silver medal with her winning free skate to ‘A Million Dreams’ from the ‘The Greatest Showman’ soundtrack, for which she was awarded a 123.36 for a 185.88 total.
Smith, second in the short program, flew around the ice with the confidence, poise and presence of a premiere U.S. contender, reeling off a triple Lutz-double toe, triple Lutz, triple flip, triple loop, triple flip-triple toe, double Axel-half loop-triple Salchow, second double Axel and fantastic spins, among other standout elements.
Smith, upon completion of the competition, was pleased with her performance and her standings.
Last year, Smith had placed fifth at the 2020 Pacific Coast Championships in the novice division.
“I did what I wanted to do and accomplished a clean program, so I’m really happy with the performance,” said Smith, who trains two hours a day five to six days a week. “I’m pretty proud of myself.”
Like Levito, Smith was distinctive in regard to her program narrative, skating style and messaging, which made this performance extremely riveting in terms of its overall delivery.
Smith, a San Diego native, is coached by Tammy Gambill and her choreographer is Alex Chang.
Clare Seo, the high-octane 14 year-old representing the Broadmoor Skating Club, claimed bronze with a power-charged free skate to ‘Jean de Fleurette’ from ‘Manon of the Spring’ for which she was awarded a 113.24 and 173.51 total.
Seo’s technically packed program featured a triple flip, triple loop, triple Lutz, triple loop and two double Axels (one done in combination with a half loop-triple Salchow), all of which were all done from top speed and performed with attack.
Seo’s program and style, like that of the other medalists in this event, were distinctive, strong and left an imprint, things that are ultimately reflective of the famous American ladies’ skating style that has been so globally celebrated and honored for so many decades.