Complete results from the 2001 Pacific Coast Sectional Championships, one of three qualifying sectional competitions leading to the 2001 U.S. Figure Skating Championships to be held in January, can be found on the USFSA web site. We offer here a brief report on the skating in the senior level events that were held in Anchorage, AK November 16-18.
The ladies event consisted of a healthy sized group of 15 ladies. The short program was won by Biatrisa Liang the much hyped 12-year-old from Los Angeles. Liang skated a nearly clean program with only two minor errors. She landed a beautiful double Axel and a clean triple flip, but in her combination jump she flutzed the triple Lutz - double toe loop combination. Her spins were well done as were the presentation and connecting moves, except for a minor error in a straight line step sequence that did not meet requirements by failing to extend the full length of the ice. She received eight of nine first place ordinals, with one judge deciding in favor of Amber Corwin who placed second.
Corwin attempted the most difficult program of the group but was only partially successful. She landed a triple toe loop (with cheated toe Axel takeoff) - triple toe loop combination, and a decent double Axel. Her solo triple Lutz out of footwork was cheated, two-footed and then stepped out of, while her spins, step sequences and connecting moves were all of decent quality. The program, yet another attempt at a sensual jazzy number, was skated more or less in time to the music, but one had to struggle to drive from one's mind the image of Olive Oyle trying to skate seductively for Popeye.
Third in the short program was Ye Bin Mok. She fell on the opening jump of her planned triple Lutz - double toe loop combination but then went on to complete the rest of the elements. The double Axel was very well done and she also landed a solo triple toe loop. Her spins were generally well done as were the step sequences and connecting moves. She skated with good speed in a pretty program that was well presented.
Another good performance was also turned in by Alexandra Kaye, who placed fourth. She landed a triple loop - double loop combination, a decent double Axel, and a solo triple Salchow. A pause before the latter jump resulted in a minor deduction, the only one for the program. Her spins and step sequences were of decent quality and she skated with good speed and a dynamic presentation, one of the two best of the group.
Honorable mention in the short program goes to Sheileah Crisp who placed sixth under "difficult" circumstances. She landed a triple Lutz - double toe loop combination (with a cheated toe Axel takeoff), a triple flip and a clean double Axel. The solo jump out of footwork, however, lacked adequate steps before the jump, and a straight line step sequence was short. She was doing quite well with her spins until the spin combination. While reaching back to a Biellmann position on the first foot of the spin her dress shifted and she popped out of the top. She instinctively fell out of the spin and adjusted her costume, then took a few steps and pushed in again to complete the element. It was an understandable reaction, but still a hefty 0.4 deduction that cost her several places.
Going into the free skating there were five ladies who were serious contenders for the four places open to qualify for Nationals. Like the junior ladies who had competed earlier in the day and fell down one after the next, the senior ladies generally wiped up the ice from first to last, with only Amber Corwin coming close to a stand-up skate.
By the time Corwin, who skated 13th in the starting order, took the ice, the judges were desperate for a first place quality performance. Corwin obliged with a program with only three errors and five completed triples. She landed triple flip, triple loop, triple Salchow, and a triple toe loop - triple toe loop combination (again with the toe Axel takeoff on the first jump). She also landed a double Lutz. On a double Axel - double toe loop sequence she stepped out of the first jump and then landed the second. She completed three decent spins although her flying camel was one rotation short. She skated with adequate speed and an acceptable presentation despite its excruciating boredom. Nevertheless, as the most difficult and cleanest of the programs attempted it was clearly the best of the group and all nine judges placed her first.
Biatrisa Liang, who skated just before Corwin in the start order, had the opportunity to take the gold but made an uncharacteristic four major errors and one minor error in the free skating. She fell on triple Lutz, triple flip twice, and triple loop. She landed a triple toe loop - double toe loop, triple Salchow - single toe loop, double Axel - double toe loop, and a double Axel with a weak landing edge. Her spins were also off with a flying camel spin one rotation short and a wobbly change of foot in the spin combination. Seven on the nine judges placed her second and two had her third.
Stephanie Chace-Bass, who had placed fifth in the short program moved up two spots to earn her first trip to Nationals as a senior lady. She skated last, and with no one skating clean before her her fate was in her own hands. She put hands down on triple Lutz and fell on triple flip, triple toe loop, and double Axel. She landed a triple Salchow - single toe loop, a triple loop - double toe loop, a double toe loop and a double Axel. She performed four spins of reasonable quality but her overall skating was a little cautious. Nevertheless, compared to the even more numerous errors made by the skaters before her it was still a respectable performance and good enough for third place in this group.
The buzz on Ye Bin Mok all season has been good, and going into the free skating after being third in the short program the judges seemed of a mind to send her to Nationals no matter what. That is the only way, at least, one can make any sense of why Mok ended up in fourth place. Mok fell on triple Lutz, and two triple toe loops. She stepped out of one triple Salchow and popped another to a single. She fell on one triple Axel and stepped out of another. She landed a double loop and omitted a combination or a sequence. She presented four decent quality spins and skated the connecting elements in a lovely performance. A lovely performance with no difficult content to speak of. Nonetheless, three judges placed her third and only one judge had the courage to tank her and place her in tenth.
Christina Gordon, who placed 12th in the short program, had been second to skate. She fell on a triple flip and a double Lutz, but landed four triples: loop, Salchow, and two toe loops (one of which should have been in a combination but wasn't). She completed four spins of reasonable quality and her connecting moves and presentation were above average. Only three judges placed her fourth or higher which is were she belonged.
Nine skaters were entered in the men's event, but two scratches reduced the field to six. First place was taken by Justin Dillon who lost but one judge of nine to Johnnie Bevan. Dillon skated a clean program with strong connecting moves, good speed, and an excellent presentation. He landed triple loop - double toe loop, triple flip, and a double Axel.
Second in the short program was Bevan with eight second place marks. He also skated a good program with strong presentation and connecting moves, but not quite the speed of Dillon. More importantly he fell on double Axel for a 0.4 deduction and his flying sit spin had a weak position following a strong takeoff. He landed triple Axel - double toe loop and triple Salchow.
Don Baldwin placed third with eight third place marks and a fourth. He made two serious errors by stepping out of a triple flip and singling the second jump in a triple Lutz - toe loop combination.
Fourth in the short program was Robert Brathwaite, the only other skater in the event to attempt a triple Axel. Brathwaite missed both jumps in an attempted triple Axel - double toe loop combination, and landed the double Axel on the toe. He landed a triple toe loop and otherwise gave a decent presentation of his program.
Standings for the top four men remained unchanged after the free skating. Dillon skated a clean program, though not the most difficult one, and was placed first by six of the nine judges, largely on the strength of the second mark. Dillon landed four triples consisting of triple Salchow, triple toe loop, 2 flutz - triple toe loop, and triple loop - double toe loop. He also landed two double Axels and two double flips. His spins were well done and his speed and connecting moves were excellent. His program, skated to "The Sorcerer's Apprentice", was fast and dynamic with outstanding expression of the music, head-and-shoulders above the other skaters in the group.
Second in the free skating was Bevan who received three marks each or first, second, and third. He also landed four triples consisting of triple Axel, triple Salchow, triple toe loop (landed on the toe), and triple Salchow - double toe loop. He also landed a double Axel, double Lutz, and a double Axel - double toe loop, with the latter toe loop barely held on to with a poor landing edge. His spins were fairly good, although he had trouble holding onto a flying sit spin. His program, skated to music from the soundtrack from the motion picture "Gladiator" was better than average for a U.S. man but well below Dillon.
Don Baldwin took the ice wearing a gladiator type costume, but mercifully he did not skate to "Gladiator" (the soundtrack du jour this season), but instead skated to "Sparticus". He attempted six triples and landed three, triple flip, triple toe loop, and a Salchow in a double Axel - steps - triple Salchow sequence, with the Salchow landed with a hop to save the landing. He stepped out of triple Lutz, could not hold the landing in a triple loop, and two footed a triple flip in a triple flip - double toe loop combination. He presented a variety of spins and had good connecting moves, skating with good speed overall. His presentation was just a hair below Bevan's and was an improvement over his typical program of recent years.
Robert Brathwaite held fourth place with unanimous fourth place marks. He landed four of six triples attempted, but violated the rules by attempting three triple toe loops. He sat down on triple Axel and fell on a triple toe loop. He landed another solo triple toe loop and also a triple toe loop - double toe loop sequence. A triple loop was landed cleanly as were a double loop and a double flip - double toe loop combination. His spins barely met requirements and were not very original and overall his program was Boring with a capital B.
The pairs event was pretty sparse with only four teams entered.
Jessica Miller & Jeffrey Weiss won the short program in a 5-4 split over Sima Ganaba & Amir Ganaba. Miller & Weiss skated a decent program with a strong back platter, a nice double twist, and well executed back outside death spiral. They attempted side-by-side triple toe loops but Miller stepped out of the landing and Weiss fell. For the required throw they executed throw double Salchow.
Ganaba & Ganaba executed a difficult combination lift consisting of a press to lateral star to star with bent leg. Although more difficult than Miller & Weiss's lift, it did not travel down the ice with good speed. The Ganabas also completed an excellent double twist and had excellent unison on their side-by-side spin combination. Their back outside death spiral was capably executed but on triple toe loops Sima two footed an under-rotated jump. They also completed throw double toe loop. This is first year at the senior level for this team.
Third and fourth place was also a split decision with Rene Inoue & John Baldwin Jr. taking third place over Lindsay & Brian Rogeness on a 6-3 decision.
Inoue & Baldwin executed a hand-to-hand loop lift in stag position. Their twist lift was of poor quality with a marginal split and on throw triple Salchow Inoue fell. They completed side-by-side double toe loops and fairly basic spins, mostly executed in the camel position with counted against them. Their back outside death spiral was very scratchy. Despite the technical problems their connecting moves and speed over the ice was fairly good and their presentation strong.
Rogeness & Rogeness also executed a hand-to-hand loop lift in stag position. Their twist lift was well done as was the back outside death spiral. Lindsay fell on throw triple Salchow and the unison in their side-by-side combination spin started out decent but was not maintained and by the end of the element was atrocious. Their connecting moves and speed were week and their presentation was lackluster.
Only three team competed in the free skating, with Ganaba & Ganaba withdrawing due to an injury to Amir just prior to the event. Amir had just finished tying his skates, leaned back to stretch and lost his balance. He fell back on the bench he was sitting on and smashed his head on a bench behind him. He was taken to the hospital where he remained overnight and was diagnosed with a concussion. It is unclear at this point if they will be able to compete in the Junior Grand Prix Final which takes place in mid-December.
With their main competition gone, Miller & Weiss had a fairly easy time of it. They skated a nice program with good connecting moves, good speed and a strong presentation with good unison. They received eight first place marks from the panel. Their elements, however, were a mixture of good and bad. Their double twist was a no-catch but then they completed a nice lasso to one arm position. A back-platter looked nice but was turned only once and a simple star lift was a mediocre quality. They completed a nice throw triple Salchow, but later in the program could only manage a throw single loop. They both landed side-by-side double toe loops and Weiss also completed a double Axel - double toe loop sequence, which Miller totally botched. Their spins were simple but capably executed as were back outside and forward inside death spirals.
Inoue & Baldwin placed second with first place marks from one judge. Their content was a bit sparse and they made several errors. Their connecting moves were mediocre and the program was skated slowly. The program was boring and slow, skated with mediocre positions but fair unison. They attempted only three lifts. Their double twist was poorly executed but a hand-to-hand loop lift was well done. Their third lift, a lasso, never made it into an air position. For throws they completed a double loop, but Inoue fell on throw triple Salchow. Their spins were again executed mostly in the camel position but were of decent quality. Their back outside death spiral was again a struggle and they also executed a forward inside one.
Rogeness & Rogeness placed a unanimous third in the free skating. They had some pretty connecting moves in a program of decent composition, but skated in slow motion. Their unison was adequate for this level but that's all. They completed four decent lifts consisting of a nice double twist, a lasso, a back platter and a star with flip out. They also completed two double throws, a Salchow and a loop. Their jumps consisted of a double flip - double toe loop sequence and double loops, but their spins were very simple and barely met requirements. A back outside death spiral was well executed as was a forward inside.
A senior level ice dancing event was not held at this sectional competition.
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