Home Archive Photos Slideshows Database


2022 Nationals: Junior Men

by Liz Leamy


Annis Edges Out Top Spot in Junior Men’s Short Program

(4 January 2022)  The junior men’s short program event was for the most part, exceptional, with all of the 16 qualifying contenders, all who accrued the highest scores to compete at this U.S. Championships putting out performances that were defined by notable technical expertise and terrific artistic development.

In the final tally, the skaters with the most difficult technical merit, namely the triple Axel, rightfully wound up the top three positions, with the winner of this skate off knocking out a triple Lutz-triple toe loop and triple flip combination in addition to the Axel as well.

Will Annis (SC of Boston) wowed the crowd at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville this afternoon in the junior men’s event with his compelling and technically packed short program to Green Day’s ‘Wake Me Up When September Ends’ in which he racked up a stellar 75.81, putting him nearly seven points ahead of the 19-entry field field.

Annis, who is trained by Olga Ganicheva and Aleksey Letov in Boston and whose program was designed by Adam Blake, reeled off top-notch elements with triple Axel, triple Lutz-triple toe loop and triple flip with tremendous power, confidence and ownership, holding the full attention of the audience throughout the start all the way up to the finish of his performance.

Annis was pleased with his program, although he felt the spins could’ve been a little bit stronger.

“I thought it went pretty well and overall I’m pretty happy with it,” said Annis, adding that he focused particularly on presentation. “Today I cast myself out more.”

Annis, who had competed in the ISU Junior Grand Prix series earlier in the season, also said that experience helped give him added confidence and also incentive.

“I think that helped because I got more experience,” said Annis. “It was also fun so if I do well here, maybe I’ll get some more [opportunities] to do those [again].”

Kai Kovar (Wasatch FSC) claimed second with a 68.70 for his compelling interpretation of Maxim Rodriguez’s ‘Ninja’ in which he executed a fluid triple Axel, triple flip and triple Lutz-double toe loop with the aptitude of a premier global junior men’s competitor.

Wearing a black costume embellished with red-dragon beaded accents, Kovar also held the attention of the audience and officials due to his visible confidence, command and comfort out on the ice.

“I tried really hard going after this, so I was pleased with myself and what I did,” said Kovar, adding in terms of the Ninja theme of his program, “I’ve loved this program the whole year.”

Kovar trains in Ogden, Utah with Amanda Kovar (his mother) and Jozef Sabovcik, the 1984 Czechoslovakian Olympic bronze medalist.

His programs were choreographed by Alex Chang, Director of The Rinks & Great Park Ice in Irvine, California and President of the Professional Skaters Association and Molly Oberstar, a former U.S. ladies contender.

Maxim Zharkov (Dallas FSC) clinched third with a rock-solid performance to ‘Blues for Klook’ by Eddy Louiss that garnered a 67.07 segment score.

This talented athlete, who trains in Coral Springs, Florida with Andrei Zharkov, his father and Artem Torgashev, reeled off such showstopping technical elements as a triple Axel and triple flip. He did, however, falter on a triple Lutz-triple toe loop, which caused him to lose some technical points.

Asked about his performance, Zharkov said he was happy with his triple Axel.

“I think my triple Axel was my strongest element,” said Zharkov adding that in regard to the program “I’m pretty happy with the outcome of it.”

This past year, Zharkov set his intentions on practicing his programs with the idea of consistency and confidence in order to perform at optimal level.

“I’ve developed a more positive outlook on running my programs and consistency with my elements,” said Zharkov. “I’ve brought that into my training and I feel a lot better and stronger about my programs.”

Zharkov, notably, has started the process of developing his own clothing line this past year as well, GTHS.com, which is inspired from by music and fashion from the 1980s.

The junior men’s competition, which features 16 contenders, all of who qualified for this event by accruing points at the 2022 Championship Series competitions leading up to this showdown, will conclude on Wednesday, January 5th at 12pm with the free skate.