Moran Memorial Free Skates

By Lynn Rutherford

Junior Menís Free Skate

Performing to a techno version of Rachmaninoffís "Variations on a Theme by Paganini" and a piano concerto, Daisuke Murakami turned in an outstanding early-season performance featuring his first-ever quadruple jump.

The 17-year-old, who competes for Japan, opened the program with a high, well-executed quad toe that was ratified by the technical panel. Although he fell on his next jump, a triple Axel, he landed six other triples: a flip; triple loop-double toe; triple Lutz; triple flip-double toe-double loop; triple loop; and a triple Salchow-double toe. The last three or four jump elements were completed after the halfway mark.

Murakamiís spins were not as strong as his jumps, and he will need to do more rotations in several of his positions to gain the higher levels. In particular, his closing combination spin was far too short to gain more than a Level 1.

He earned 118.32 points (63.94 TES + 55.38 PCS), with program components ranging from 5.31 up to 5.69.

"Iím very excited; it was my first attempt at a quad (in competition) and I did it," the 17-year-old skater said. "I started landing it this past summer. I had to change the technique a little bit and now Iíve got it under my belt. I hope to do it in Mexico [at the Junior Grand Prix]."

Murakami added that heís worked on other quads as well.

"I landed the quad Salchow before the quad toe, but never attempted it in competition," he said. "Iíve also worked on the quad loop."

Junior Ladies Free Skate

Samantha Cesario (SC of New York) won with 82.95 points (TES 45.15 + PCS 37.80) with program components ranging from 4.56 up to 5.

An elegant skater with superior spins, she opened with a strong double Axel-double Axel sequence, followed by a triple Salchow-double toe. An intricate straight-line step sequence slowed the program a bit, but she made up for it with a nice triple toe and a layback with nicely rounded arms.

Cesario hit another solid triple Salchow, as well as an Ina Bauer into a double flip; a double Lutz-double toe-double loop; a sit spin with a strong, straight back; a spiral into a double Axel; and a spread eagle sequence to a flying sit spin to close.

Kristiene Gong (SC of New York) was second with 64.18 points (TES 32.18 + PCS 33) with program components ranging from 3.94 up to 4.69.

The speedy Gong performed to music from Phantom of the Opera. She hit a solid double Axel-double toe; triple Lutz (may have been under rotated); triple Salchow-double toe; triple toe-double toe-double loop; and a fine camel combination to upright spin with a deep inside edge.

The final section of the program fell off a bit, as Gong turned out of a triple Salchow, fell on a triple toe and popped an intended double Axel into a single.

Kelsey Rowley (U of Delaware SC) was third with 55.30 points (TES 26.28 + PCS 30.02 points) with program components ranging from 3.56 up to 4.13.

Skating to the theme from Love Story, she opened with a triple toe-single toe, followed by a triple Salchow and a layback spin that failed when she attempted to change edge. She "waxeled" on a double Axel attempt but quickly recovered with a solid double Lutz and a challenging straight-line step sequence. Rowley gained strength with her final two triples, a triple Salchow-double toe and a triple toe, and a combination spin including illusions to a low sit spin position. She fell out of her final double Axel but closed with a nice combination spin.

Anastasiya Kononenko (North Jersey FSC) was fourth with 51.05 points (TES 21.35 + PCS 31.70) with program components ranging from 3.75 up to 4.25.

Camille Menendez (American Academy FSC) was fifth with 50.74 points

Victoria Calderone (SC of New York) was sixth with 49.70 points

Taylor Chang (SC of New York) was seventh with 47.66 points

Jessica Wai (North Jersey FSC) was eighth with 46.71 points

Molly Novello (Garden State SC) was ninth with 45.59 points

Tiffany Wu (SC of New York) was 10th with 44.62 points

Tasnova Rouf (SC of New York) was 11th with 44.08 points

Senior Menís Free Skate

Nobunari Oda of Japan won with 132.67 points (71.77 TES + 60.90 PCS) with program components ranging from 6 up to 6.38.

Performing to "Warsaw Concerto," Oda wore a simple but effective costume of black pants, black gloves and a white shirt with black trim. He opened with a solid triple Axel-triple toe; triple Lutz; and triple Salchow, all with good speed and easy rotation. The 2005 world junior champion had good footwork into a sit spin-change-sit spin, with his arms raised behind him. He popped his second Axel before hitting a triple flip-triple toe and triple Lutz-double toe, as well as a triple loop and an Ina Bauer into a double Axel.

Oda finished with a high flying entrance to a sit spin combination and good straight line footwork (including a series of brackets at the end). He closed with a combination spin including camel and sit spin positions.

"I love training in Hackensack and I love being near New York," the 21-year-old said. "I have gone to several Broadway shows, like Mary Poppins, Hairspray and Lion King, and they were all very good."

The skater had only one complaint: the man sent to his apartment to install cable didnít believe his age.

"He asked, ĎAre your parents here?í People still think Iím 15," Oda laughed.

Adam Rippon (SC of New York) was second with 130.56 points (TES 68.42 + PCS 63.14) with program components ranging from 6 up to 6.56.

The world junior champ performed to a medley of "Send in the Clowns" and the aria from Pagliacci. After opening with a solid triple flip-triple toe, he two-footed and fell on a triple Axel, then doubled his next jump, a loop.

Overall, the program had good pace and flow, but the skater waved his arms excessively and, as in yesterdayís short program, had trouble with his a few of his spins. He wobbled on a camel combination while trying to grasp his blade, but got back on track with a triple Lutz-double toe-double loop and rockers into a triple flip. Rippon ended with a triple Salchow; a double Axel-double Axel sequence; and a fine combination spin including sit spin, camel and layback positions.

All of Ripponís non-jump elements, save his final combination spin, gained Level 3. (His final spin was Level 4.) The score was close because judges assigned a negative GOE to only one of the spins; in addition, his PCS were higher than Odaís.

Senior Ladies Free Skate

Fumie Suguri of Japan won with 98.52 points (51.29 TES + 48.23 PCS), with program components ranging from 5.63 up to 6.38.

The three-time world medalist, who now trains in Hackensack under Nikolai Morozov, debuted her new free choreographed (by Morozov) to Raul DiBlasioís "Ottonal." The elegant yet exciting program promises well.

The 27-year-old opened with a triple Lutz-double toe (looked like a late change to an inside edge "flutz"); the Lutz was slightly two-footed. She followed with a superb triple flip; a triple Salchow with a Mohawk entrance; and a lovely spiral sequence. Her straight-line footwork was impressive, with flowing curves.

Suguri popped her second Lutz into a single, and fell on a triple toe, but finished strong with a triple flip-double toe and double Axel.

"Iím happy with my program," Suguri said. "Itís much better than the run-throughs I did at our camp in Andorra [earlier this summer]."

Joelle Forte (SC of New York) was second with 79.04 points (40.42 TES + 38.62 PCS) with program components ranging from 4.56 up to 5.

The veteran competitor had an inspired skate to a medley including music from Much Ado about Nothing. She opened with a triple loop (it pitched forward a bit on the landing but looked clean), followed by a solid triple Lutz-double toe and a triple flip with a turned-out landing. Her flying sit spin had fine amplitude, and was followed by a stunning Ina Bauer into a double Axel and a spread eagle into a triple Salchow. Her sit spin combination showed an excellent straight back position.

Elene Gedeshvanishvili of Georgia was third with 77.54 points (37.74 TES + 40.80 PCS) with program components ranging from 4.69 up to 5.56.

The skater performed to a sultry Latin medley including the classics "Besame Mucho" and "Rumba díAmore." She appeared a bit constrained by a tight bustier and continually adjusted her neckline. She opened with counters and rockers into a big triple Lutz, and then doubled her flip before hitting a solid double Axel-triple toe.

Gedeshvanishvili had trouble with spins; she fell out of her camel combination attempting to change feet. The latter part of her program included a double Lutz-double toe-double loop; a solid triple Salchow; a double flip-double toe; and a fall on a double Axel. She fell out of a final, labored combination spin.

Amanda Gordon (Amherst FSC) was fourth with 67.55 points (32.04 TES + 37.51 PCS).

Performing to "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)," Gordon opened with a double Axel-double toe; a triple toe-double toe; and double Lutz before whiffing an attempt at a triple Salchow. She had a good combination spin and charming footwork sequence, and hit another triple toe, but fell on her final two jumps, a triple Salchow and a double Axel.

Jazmyn Manzouri (SC of New York) was fifth with 57.38 points

Zsa Zsa Riordan (SC of New York) was sixth with 44.59 points

Rachel Manning (Glissad Academy) was seventh with 38.56 points

Xiao Shan Liao (Cantiague) was eighth with 33.49 points

Disclaimer (of sorts): The spelling of all names, and the clubs of all skaters, is as featured in the event program. Judgesí details were not available, so mistakes in elements Ė including jump rotations, edges, etc. Ė are possible.

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