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A Brief Look at the Liberty Open, at the Ice Works Four Rink Skating Complex, Aston PA

by Alexandra Stevenson

(July 26, 2013)  This annual, early season event still attracts a huge amount of singles entries of all levels, including 41 Senior Ladies, who had the choice of doing both SP & FS or either one. But the overall numbers are falling while the entry fees for the participants are climbing. (This is one of the few competitions where entry is free, but $10 for a black & white program which listed the schedule and the competitors was a bit much.)

Rink management struggled to keep the ice, closing off entry and exit from certain doors to reduce the flow of air from the outside 100 degree heat. But, on Thursday, rink No.2 which has the main seating, went out of commission and the Junior Men's Short Program had to be rescheduled on a different surface.

This event is particularly important for those hoping to land an international assignment, either in the Junior Grand Prix Series, which opens in Riga, Latvia, on August 27-September 1, followed by Mexico City on September 4-8, or in a Senior B competition, where the necessary minimum score can be established to qualify, if his/her Association chooses, for the Four Continents, European and world championships.  Ice dancers will similarly strut out their new programs in Lake Placid at the beginning of August.

A lot of the feedback the skaters receive is kept confidential, because the US has finally wised-up on the policy of several other countries (notably Russia) of waiting to see who is entered for which JGP events.

Only at the last minute do these countries specify the actual names of their entries. That way, last minute changes can be made in determining the easiest competitive route for their future “stars” to progress to the Final.  This season the Jr & Sr Final will be held in Fukuoka, Japan, December 5-8.

Senior Ladies

Ashley Cain, 18, of the Stars FSC of Texas was sixth in the Short Program (43.66) after singling a Lutz and falling on a triple flip. She stopped after the fall and skated to the referee, showing that a hook from her boot had come loose. She was allowed to tape it up and skate the remainder of the routine. She won the Free Skating, set to “Ave Maria”, by a considerable margin with 102.78, despite a fall. She explained she had planned to get new boots next week.  

Samantha Cesario, 19, who represents the SC of NY, won the SP with 57.05, performing to “Fever”. However, her “Titanic” FS was ranked fourth with 82.32 points.

Yasmin Siraj, SC of Boston, 16, was third in both SP and FS with 46.95 and 87.41 points.

Canadian Veronik Mallet, who is 19 and therefore no longer age eligible for the Junior Grand Prix Circuit, was fifth in the Canadian Senior championships earlier this year. In Aston, PA, she placed second in both SP (51.77) and FS (92.19).

Senior Men's Free was interesting in that the majority of the competitors represented other countries. With the withdrawal of Steve Carriere and Christopher Wan, there were only three skating for the US. Keegan Messing, representing the Alaskan Association, was second with 116.60, 1.46 points behind the winner, Luis Manella, representing Brazil. Alex Zahradnicek, representing France earned third place with 107.23. Emmanuel Savary, University of Delaware, was fourth with 96.84; Manol Atanassov, Bulgaria, was fifth with 89.54; Charles Dion, Canada, took sixth with 84.85; Matej Silecky, SC of NY, received 76.15;  Kevin Alvez, who also represented the country of the winner, Brazil, earned 72.57 and Oleksil Bychenko, Israel, received 69.98.

Only two Senior Pairs competed:  Evgeni Krasnopolski, who represents Israel, showed off his new partner, Anya Davidov. But they were beaten in both Short & Free by Nataliya Zabijako and Aleksansr Zaboev from Estonia.

There was a large and helpful information desk for the coming U.S. Championships, which will be held in Boston (as will the 2016 World championships). The beaming attendant said, “We’ve already sold a significant amount of all event tickets.”