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Lake Placid Junior Grand Prix - Day 3

by Alexandra Stevenson

(1 September 2012)  Lake Placid, NY

Free Dance - Aldridge and Eaton Move Up to Gold

Alexandra Aldridge and Daniel Eaton jumped from second to win the Free Dance and overall gold with an energetic and polished performance to music from the enormously popular Broadway show, Fidler on the Roof.

Their advance was aided by the Russian early leaders, Evgenia Kosignina and Nikolai Moroshkin, making a major error on a lift in their Free Dance, which was set to a medley of Michael Jackson music including Beat It and Keep it in the Closet.

Kosignina and Moroshkin had been 5.96 points ahead of the US couple after the Short Dance, but they struggled with her center of gravity on the second of their three lifts. This version, done in a straight line, received only the basic Level 1 with -0.30 Grade of Execution. That lost them many points and they finished 1.56 lower overall than Aldridge and Eaton.

Aldridge, in a light pink knee-length dress, and Eaton, in a grey suit, interpreted most of the major songs from the musical including Matchmaker; Sunrise, Sunset; and To Life. For their eight elements, their 72 Grades of Execution were all +2 or +1 with the exception of one zero (which still means “satisfactory in all aspects”).

They had been displeased over their low levels for their Blues in the Short Dance but that was forgotten during the Free, after which they said they felt relaxed and were happy with their performance.

They had drawn to skate first in their group of four couples and showed off their superiority with five of the seven elements which get Levels receiving the maximum 4. Their circular steps were Level 3 and the diagonal steps Level 2.

Canada’s Adreanne Poulin and Marc-Andre Servant, performed last of the 11 couples from seven countries, interpreting Alexandre Deplat’s Mr. Fox in the Fields. Despite earning only Level 1 for both footwork sequences, they advanced from fourth to earn the bronze medals, 3.42 points ahead of the Russians, Daria Morozova and Mikhail Zhirnov, who had lain third after the initial round.

Morozova and Zhirnov’s Tristan & Isolde Free Dance, in which she fell, was ranked only sixth best but they still finished fourth overall, only 0.82 ahead of Noa Bruser and Timothy Lum from Vancouver. Bruser and Lum, who interpreted Pirates of the Caribbean and Moonlight Serenade, took fourth in the Free Dance, and, despite a Level 1 on their last lift, a rotational version, they advanced two places to finish fifth overall.

Americans Elliana Pogrebinsky and Ross Gudis, gave an impressively smooth interpretation of three pieces by Khatchaturian, and were unfortunate to finish sixth overall, since they had earned fifth place in both sections of the event. They finished 0.82 behind Bruser and Lam.

Madelaine Heritage and Nathaniel Fast presented a selection of Beatles music, Here Comes the Sun, Blackbird and Yesterday. They were eighth in both sections of the event but finished seventh overall, a substantial 6.92 points ahead of the Ukrainians, Lolita Yermak and Alexei Khimich who dropped from sixth to eighth with a Free Dance which was ranked ninth best.

(This moving up and down is a far cry from the old system in which couples almost always stayed in the same place they established after the first compulsory dance!!)

Pairs Free Skate - Canadians Overtake Russians to Take Gold

The 2010 Canadian Junior champions, Margaret Purdy and Michael Marinaro, overtook the Russian initial round leaders Vasilisa Davankova and Andre Deputat to claim gold by a huge 11.61 points. The US pairs made errors but showed significant potential finishing third, fourth, fifth and 12th in the field of 14 pairs from seven countries.

Skating to music from the soundtrack of the movie, The Artist, first in the last group of four pairs, Purdy and Marinaro, both in black with her in a backless outfit, opened with a -0.40 Level 1 triple twist, a +0.20 triple toe to double toe combination of jumps and a +0.50 double Axel. Their forward inside death spiral was only Level 1 but their side-by-side combination spins were the maximum Level 4 with +0.50 GoE.

As the point where the bonus marks click in, they executed a Level 3 Axel lift and throw triple loop. They concluded with a Level 4 Group 3 lift and a throw triple Salchow but she under-rotated and landed on two feet. However, they got the very sparse crowd cheering with their final move, a Level 4 pair combination spin.

Davankova and Andrei Deputat performed to Edvin Martin playing Romeo and Juliet. They were obviously interpreting a modern version of this tragic story. She was wearing a two-piece outfit exposing her midriff with a garter which may have been a holder for a knife. He was in beige. Though they were third in the Free Skate, 2.48 points below the Americans Madeline Aaron and Max Settlage, they finished up second overall, 2.67 above Aaron and Settlage, who lay fourth after the Short Program after missing an element.

The Russian junior champions, who were fifth at senior level in their nationals earlier this year, got off to a bad start. He messed up the landing of his triple toe jump which was meant to be a combination. They brushed that off by executing a great Level 2 +0.80 triple twist, but she stepped out of their throw triple loop. Later on they made a mistake on the choreographed step sequence. They also received no marks for their final element, the pair spin.

Aaron and Settlage, who drew to do their Free last, performed to a fiery version of Carmen, with her in red and he in black and white. Settlage admitted they made mistakes but their coach, Dalilah Sappenfield, said this was early in the season and events like this are useful to get the kinks out. He messed up their opening move, a triple Salchow, but they had only two other negatives, just a -0.04 on their choreographed sequence and a -1.40 on their Level 1 back outside death spiral. They also plan to work on their final element, the pair combination spin for which they received only the“basic” mark.

Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier, who are also trained by Dalilah Sappenfield, were lying third after the Short Program but were fourth in the Free, and overall. Interpreting the poignant music from the movie, La Strada, they opened their routine with a -0.20 triple twist which was classified as “basic”. However, they followed that with a lovely +0.70 throw triple Salchow. She fell on her double Axel and then over-rotated their double Salchow which was planned as a sequence. She later also fell on a throw triple loop. However, they also were rewarded with the top Level 4 for their Group 5 and Group 3 lifts and their pair combination spin. Their final forward inside death spiral, however, was only Level 1.

Denney and Frazier were fourth in the Free and overall, finishing 3.11 points behind their rink mates, Aaron and Settlage.

Fellow Americans Jessica Pfund and AJ Reiss, who are trained by Peter Oppegard held onto their fifth place from the Short Program although they were seventh in the FS, which they performed to music from the opera, Tristan and Isolde. They were 2.91 points behind Denney and Frazier and 1.99 points ahead of the German Junior champions, Annabelle Prolss, 13, and Ruben Blommaert, 20, who were seventh initially and moved up to sixth overall with a sixth place for their Free.

Although they were eighth in both sections, the Russians, Kamilla Gainetdinova, 14, and Ivan Bich, 19, who train in St. Petersburg, were seventh overall, a mere 1.18 ahead of the Canadians, Shalena Rau, 13, and Phelan Simpson, 16. These Canadians were 11th in the Short Program but earned fifth place in the Free, which was performed to music from the show, My Fair Lady. Overall, they finished ninth. Gainetdinova and Bich performed their FS to Die Fledermaus.

Tenth throughout were Krystel Desjardins, 15, and Charlie Bilodeau, 19, who are from Montreal. They performed their Free to The Umbrellas of Cherbourg by Michel Legrand. They were making their international debut after placing fifth and second in the Canada Junior championships of the past two years.

Olivia Oltmanns, 15, and Joshua Santillan, 20, who are from Shakopee, Minnesota, performed their Free to Time to Say Goodbye by Dimo Dimov, dropping from ninth after the Short Program to 12th with a Free which was scored 13th best. They didn’t fall but got only the basic for their pair combination spin no marks at all for their final element, the forward inside death spiral.

(2 September 2012)  Lake Placid, NY

Free Dance - Japanese Junior Champion Takes Ladies Event

Satoko Miyahara, the 14-year-old current Japanese junior champion, gave a dazzling performance to Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet, to build on her early lead and claim gold with 161.65, 7.88 points ahead of the silver medallist American Courtney Hicks. Miyahara’s Free Skate score was 106.89 (57.55+49.34).

Dressed in fuchsia and gold, Miyahara performed third of the five in the final group of 25 competitors from 21 countries, opening with a triple Lutz to triple toe which looked good but was saddled with an “e” for wrong edge takeoff. Every other move, apart from her second triple Lutz which was combined with two double toe loops and also got an “e”, earned at least its base value.

Miyahara also presented a triple flip, triple loop, a second double Axel combined with a triple toe, and a triple Salchow. Her spins were all the maximum Level 4 and her straight line sequence was Level 3. (The steps are now called a sequence because skaters can choose to incorporate a spiral.) Her components ranged from a low of two 5.50 for transitions, up to a high of one 7.25 for Skating Skills. She told icenetwork.com, “I was a little nervous but I did my best. I’m really happy.”

Hicks, who lay fourth after the Short Program, earned the third best score for her Free of 102.41 (51.89+50.52). Trained by Scott Wendland, she performed to The Red Violin by Ikuko Kawai, choreographed by Philipp Mills. The 16-year-old Californian drew to skate last. Dressed in a tasteful red brown-y creation, the 16-year-old she opened with a very high triple flip to triple toe but the second jump got an arrow for slight under-rotation. However, every other element except her final jump, which turned into a single Axel, earned positive Grades of Execution. She concluded with a combination spin which earned seven +2 GoEs. The two other judges settled for +1. Hicks said her technique feels stronger than before her accident, when she broke her leg badly during a Junior Grand Prix in Milan. Relearning elements has given her a more mature outlook and better understanding of the mechanics of movement.

Angela Wang, who was 8th in the last US senior championship, performed to Nigel Hess’ Ladies in Lavender. The 16-year-old, who is from Salt Lake City but trains with Christy Krall, Damon Allen and Janet Champion in Colorado Springs, soared up from eighth after the Short Program with the second best FS marks of 105.69 (55.79+49.90). She claimed bronze, 3.37 points behind Hicks and 4.72 ahead of the Russian Evgenia Gerasimova, who dropped from third to fourth overall after falling twice late in her Free, on her second triple Lutz and a double Axel. Gerasimova’s Free Skate, 93.38 (48.53+46.85 -2), was still rated fifth best. The 14-year-old from St. Petersburg skated to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.

Wang, who skated in a lavender outfit, began her performance with a jaw-dropping triple Lutz to triple toe to double toe which earned +0.70 over its base value of 11.40. Then came a +0.40 triple flip to double toe and a triple loop to double toe, which had a minimal -0.10 taken off its base value of 6.40, and a +0.14 double Axel.

After her Level 3, +0.57 layback spin, the bonus time for jumps clicked in and she earned +0.60 over the base value plus 10% for her second triple Lutz. Towards the end she struggled with a double Axel which lost a full point but pulled herself together for her final jump a triple Salchow which gained an extra +0.20. All her spins were Level 3 and the step sequence was Level 2. Her top component marks were three 7.0s from one judge. The lowest were two 5.75s for her transitions.

The third American, Kiri Baga, who is trained by Cindy Caprel, performed in a dazzling backless royal blue and silver outfit. She stayed fifth, 3.46 points overall behind Gerasimova, although she was fourth in the FS with 94.42 (46.71+47.71), 1.04 points ahead of the Russian. The 17-year-old from Bloomington, MI, performed to the Bacchanale from Samson and Delilah. The enjoyable routine opened with a +0.40 triple flip. The following triple Lutz was saddled with an arrow for slight under-rotation, but every other element except one received at least the base value. The exception was her three jump combo of triple toe to double toe to double loop, which lost -0.60. Two of her spins received Level 4 including the final layback which moved seven of the nine judges to punch in +2 Grade of Execution.

So Youn Park from South Korea, 14, who was fourth in the past senior national championship, was second after the Short Program. She performed her Free to West Side Story but fell on her last two jumps, a triple flip which got an arrow for slight under-rotation, and a triple Salchow. Her seventh place in the Free dropped her to sixth overall, 4.85 points behind Baga.

Alaine Marie Chartrant, a 16-year-old from Prescott, Ontario, who finished ninth in the last Canadian Senior championship, recovered from a fall on her opening triple Lutz, to gain sixth place in the Free, enabling her to climb from ninth to seventh overall, with 133.43. She performed to the Compilation Misa Tango by Luis Bacalov.

Making an interesting showing was Brooklee Han, 17, who has represented Australia in the last two world junior championships although she was born in California and now lives and trains across the country in Newington and Simsbury. (She is a member of the Melbourne Skating Club in Australia.) Skating to Ave Maria, Han fell on her initial jump, a triple loop, which received an arrow for under-rotation, and again later on her second triple toe.  She was seventh in the Short Program and dropped a place overall with an eighth ranked free. She scored 128.92, overtaking and finishing just 1.14 overall ahead of Kako Tomotaki of Japan, who had been sixth in the Short Program. Tomotaki, who was approaching her 17th birthday, performed to music from the movie, Amelie. She was the runner-up for the Japanese junior title this past season.

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