2009 U.S. Nationals

Junior Men


Place Skater SP FS
1 Ross Miner 1 2
2 Keegan Messing 2 3
3 Alexander Johnson 7 1
4 Grant Hochstein 9 4

Austin Kanallakan

8 5
6 Armin Mahbanoozadeh 3 8
7 Alexander Aiken 10 6
8 Andrew Gonzales 4 10
9 Michael Chau 12 7
10 Daniel O'Shea 11 9
11 Juran Yang 5 12
12 Peter Max Dion 6 11
13 David Wang 13 13
14 Pine Kopka-Ross 14 14

Text and  photos copyright 2009 by George S. Rossano


Short Program

Starting Order - Short Program
  1. David Wang

  2. Richard Dornbush

  3. Alexander Aiken

  4. Alexander Johnson

  5. Daniel O'Shea

  6. Peter Max Dion

  7. Keegan Messing

  8. Armin Mahbanoozadeh

  9. Austin Kanallakan

  10. Michael Chau

  11. Pine Kopka-Ross

  12. Andrew Gonzales

  13. Ross Miner

  14. Grant Hochstein

  15. Juran Yang


Short Program Placements
Place Skater
1 Ross Miner
2 Keegan Messing
3 Armin Mahbanoozadeh
4 Andrew Gonzales
5 Juran Yang
6 Peter Max Dion
7 Alexander Johnson

Austin Kanallakan

9 Grant Hochstein
10 Alexander Aiken
11 Daniel O'Shea
12 Michael Chau
13 David Wang
14 Pine Kopka-Ross
w Richard Dornbush

Ross Miner who in recent years has gone the "character" route for his program, went with a cowboy motif, skating to music from the TV show Bonanza, and the southern folk song "Cotton-eyed Joe."  You would think at 18 he would be past playing cowboy, but what the heck, he won, so it works for him.

Minor won the Short Program by nearly seven points.  A slam dunk victory for a Short Program.  He received a few negative GoEs for his flying camel spins, but the jumps were big and clean.  His opening triple flip triple toe loop combination was huge and three judges went to plus two for the GoE.  That was followed by a gig triple Lutz out of a spread eagle.  Most of hte judges went to plus one on that element, with one at plus two, but also with one malcontent at minus one. Except for the flying camel, the other spins and steps were called at level three or four.  The routine was great fun and well done throughout with component marks in the mid to upper fives, and a few marks into the sixes.

This is the first year Keegan Messing has put a triple Axel into the Short Program and it was a beauty.  Scored mostly with plus ones, one judge went to plus two, while another was at zero.  This opening element was followed by a brain seizure where he had a poor landing on triple flip which forced doubling a planned triple toe loop to a double.  Due to the error between the jumps it was scored as 3F+Combo, with GoEs of minus twos and threes.   Two of his spins were at level four, but another and his step sequence were at level 1.  The performance was workmanlike, with the emphasis on athletics and not performance.  His component marks were mostly in the mid fives.

Third in the Short Program was Armin Mahbanoozadeh, who was the Novice champion in 2007 and placed eighth in Junior men last year.  He opened with a big triple flip- triple toe loop combination, then popped a Lutz into a single.  Minus threes for GoEs there, since a double or trple is required, and a total of 0.3 points for that element.  His spins and step sequence were mostly called level three, with one at level two and another at level four.  His main problem howver, was a performance that was slow, stiff and cautious.  And yet he had the second best components which averaged in the mid fives.  Go figure.  One judge, however, had him down at 4.00 for components.  Works for me.

Andrew Gonzales placed fourth in the Short Program, but only 1.04 points behind Messing.  Skating to music from "Sweeny Todd" this routine could have been an over top artistic disaster, but wasn't and was generally well skated.  Except for a minor error on triple LUtz, his first four elements were decently executed.  But at element five, he fell out of a flying camel spin, which ended up called level one, with GoEs of minus twos and threes.  He finished with the require step sequence and two level four spins.  His component marks were mainly in the mid fives.

Only 0.39 points behind Gonzales, Juran Yang placed fifth.  He was not on our radar for this event, and skating last, was a delightful surprise.  He had just a smattering of minus one GoEs, with only triple Lutz scored slightly negative.  He also landed triple Flip - double toe loop.  Except for the flying camel, his spins and step sequence were level three and four.  On the required camel spin he made no obvious attempt to reach higher levels, other than an inverted position which was not very strong.  Cleary the camel position is an issue for him, but other than that the program was well done.  His component marks were in the mid fives, with his presentation marks the best of the five.

One of the favorites for this event was Ricky Dornbish who placed third at the Junior Grand Prix Final.  He skated the warmup, and looked like hell (as in ill).   Immediately after the warmup it was announce that he had withdrawn.


Free Skate

Starting Order - Free Skating
  1. Daniel O'Shea

  2. Michael Chau

  3. David Wang

  4. Pine Kopka-Ross

  5. Alexander Johnson

  6. Peter Max Dion

  7. Grant Hochstein

  8. Austin Kanallakan

  9. Alexander Aiken

  10. Andrew Gonzales

  11. Armin Mahbanoozadeh

  12. Ross Miner

  13. Keegan Messing

  14. Juran Yang


Free Skating Placements
Place Skater
1 Alexander Johnson
2 Ross Miner
3 Keegan Messing
4 Grant Hochstein

Austin Kanallakan

6 Alexander Aiken
7 Michael Chau
8 Armin Mahbanoozadeh
9 Daniel O'Shea
10 Andrew Gonzales
11 Peter Max Dion
12 Juran Yang
13 David Wang
14 Pine Kopka-Ross



The Free Skate really shuffled the deck on this event!

Alexander Johnson had placed seventh in the Short Program, where he had errors on the first two elements, a fall on triple flip, and doubling an attempted triple Lutz.  His Short Program was nicely lyrical, which helped by putting him fourth in Program Components.

He came back strong in the Free Skate, scoring first in both elements and components.  Said Johnson, " To be honest I was really really frustrated with m Short Program on Wednesday and I've been skating clean Short Programs all season long ... I got my Junior Grand Prixs and at Liberty and all the other competitions I've done, and to fall on a triple triple flip and pop my triple outside double was a really really big deal for me and I was really frustrated about that so I used that frustration for my long and I took that out on the ice with me and used that as motivation to skate a good program so I was really happy with that."

In the long Johnson, skating to the "Rondo Capriccioso" and the "Meditation" from Thais,  again had trouble with the triple flip and also with a double Axel on a triple Salchow - double Axel sequence.  His spins and step sequence were called level three and four, and his component marks were in themid and upper fives.  His margin of victory in the Free Skate was 2.22 points, which was enough to pull him up to third place overall.

 Ross Miner, placed second in the Free Skate, but his lead in the Short Program carried him over the top to win the event.  The first half of the program was a mess technically, but he finished the second half stronger.  Four of his jump elements were scored negative, the more troublesome of these a hand down on triple Axel and a step out of triple flip.  His spins an step sequences were called levels three and four, and were scored barely above zero for GoEs, except for a nicely executed serpentine step sequences that received mostly plus ones.  His program, set to a medley of Gershwin songs was a bit of a confused artistic muddle but was well skated nonetheless.  His component marks ranged from 4.75 to 7.25, so there was a bit of a difference of opinion there regarding the artistic merit of the performance.

Also benefiting from the greater importance of the Short Program under IJS was Keegan Messing, who placed third in the Free Skate but was second overall on the strength of his second place finish in the Short Program.  Skating on his birthday, to music from the "Gremlins" soundtrack, the newly 17 year old Messing presented a weird but fun routine in which he was actually trying to interpret the music.  Three of his jump elements were scored negative, including both triple Axel attempts.  On his first he fell.  The second looked clean to us, but four judges gave it a minus one, and another had it a plus one.  Go figure.

His spins and step sequence ranged in level from two to four, with his spins highly regarded by the judges, with GoEs of ones and twos. His program components ranged from 4.75 though 7.50, averaging in the mid fives.  Again, and interesting spread of opinion among the judges for the artistic merit of the performance.

Another skater who made a significant move in the Free Skate was Grant Hochstein who had placed ninth in the Short Program.  He placed fourth in the Free Skate and garnered enough points to pull up to fourth overall.  His Short Program had errors on two jump elements, including a fall on one of these, and his performance, in our view was nothing more than skating to background music.

In the Free Skate Hochstein again had issues with his jumps, and was scored negative on four of them, with one fall.  A triple Lutz and two double Axels were landed cleanly.  His spins were call level four, while the step sequence was level three.  The elements were nicely executed, with quite a few plus ones given by the judges.  Skating to "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini," his program had some glimmers of expression, but the whole program looked forced in its presentation and in the second half of the program he looked tired more than anything else.

Armin Mahbanoozadeh, after placing third in the short, tanked in the long, where he placed eighth for a sixth place finish.  Five jump elements were scored negative.  The performance was slow, and for it least half the program his use of music from "The Mummy" was just so much background music.

Andrew Gonzales, who had placed fourth in the Short Program, also tanked in the Free Skate.  He placed tenth in the long to finish eighth overall.  His decently skated short, was followed here by a program in which the content was significantly dumbed down, with repetitive gestures and spotting of the jumps.  He looked exhausted the whole time, so either he was completely unprepared for the long, or (giving him the benefit of the doubt) ill.

Return to title page