U.S. Nationals

Junior Pairs


Place Team SP FS
1 Tracy Tanovish & Michael Chau 3 1
2 Brynn Carman & Christopher Knierim 1 2
3 Marissa Castelli & Simon Shnapir 2 3
4 Britney Simpson & Nathan Miller 4 5

Molly Aaron & Daniyel Cohen

7 4
6 Brittany Chase & Andrew Speroff 8 6
7 Lauren Farr & Mac Kern 5 7
8 Ameena Sheikh & Aaron Van Cleave 9 8
9 Kloe Bautista & Galvani Hopson 6 10
10 Megan Gueli & Grant Marron 10 9
11 Erika Smith & Nathan Bartholoamay 12 11
12 Rachel DeRita & Brandon Accardi 11 12
13 Emily Glassberg & Gabe Woodruff 13 13

Text and photos copyright 2009 by George S. Rossano


Short Program

Starting Order - Short Program
  1. Erika Smith & Nathan Bartholoamay

  2. Lauren Farr & Mac Kern

  3. Megan Gull & Grant Marron

  4. Molly Aaron & Daniyel Cohen

  5. Britney Simpson & Nathan Miller

  6. Brynn Carman & Christopher Knierim

  7. Brittany Chase & Andrew Speroff

  8. Marissa Castelli & Simon Shnapir

  9. Ameena Sheikh & Aaron Van Cleave

  10. Rachel DeRita & Brandon Accardi

  11. Tracy Tanovish & Michael Chau

  12. Emily Glassberg & Gabe Woodruff

  13. Kloe Bautista & Galvani Hopson


Short Program Placements


1 Brynn Carman & Christopher Knierim
2 Marissa Castelli & Simon Shnapir
3 Tracy Tanovish & Michael Chau
4 Britney Simpson & Nathan Miller
5 Lauren Farr & Mac Kern
6 Kloe Bautista & Galvani Hopson

Molly Aaron & Daniyel Cohen

8 Brittany Chase & Andrew Speroff
9 Ameena Sheikh & Aaron Van Cleave
10 Megan Gueli & Grant Marron
11 Rachel DeRita & Brandon Accardi
12 Erika Smith & Nathan Bartholoamay
13 Emily Glassberg & Gabe Woodruff

The Junior Pairs Short Program was tightly contested, with the top four teams scoring within two points of each other, and with teams five through nine mathematically within reach of moving up into the top four.

Brynn Carman & Chris Knierim, skating to "Czardas" placed first in the Short Program.  (A Csárdás is a Hungarian folk dance.)  The team started with three strong elements including a superb double twist with mostly twos and threes for GoEs.  On their double Lutzes, however, both fell and the program went a little bit downhill from their.  The Lutzes were followed by a side-by-side flying combination spin that was also scored negative.  Their last three elements were called at level 4 and received GoEs mostly from plus one through two, with the judges spread out more than one would like to see.  Their performance was a reasonable attempt to capture the ethnic flavor of the music, with component marks averaging in the low fives, and ranging from 'yes your routine was really nice' (6.75), to 'no we really hated it' (3.75).

Only 0.74 points behind the leaders, Marissa Castelli & Simon Shnapir placed second in the short.  They skated to music from "Survivor," which had a South American flavor to it.  The team had only two minor problems.  There spiral sequence was called level one and GoEs of minus one and two.  Later, on their flying change foot combination spin, four on the nine judges wnet to minus one, while the remainder were at zero.  The spin was painfully slow, and the unison was way off, the latter perhaps the reason for the minus ones.  Their double twist was nicely done, as was the group four (star) lift.  Their closing death spiral also received some nice GoEs, but was only at level one.  Overall, lack of speed, and a tendency to skate too far apart was another problem for this team.  Their component scores were mainly in the low fives, with somewhat better agreement among the judges (4.00 though 6.25).

Tracy Tanovich & Michael Chau currently lie 1.47 points behind the leaders.  They skated a Latin themed routine to "Espana Cani."  The team sustained a decent skate for the first six (of eight) elements.  Their GoEs were mostly zero through plus two, with only a few random minus ones.  Their levels were threes and fours.  Then in element seven, their forward inside death spiral had an ugly entry after which they both fell out of it.  (He lost his toe pick in the pivot.)  The element was called no level and the team lost two points on deductions.  This error alone cost them nearly five points, had they completed even a level one element adequately, and cost them the lead in this segment.  Though scored near base value, their closing pair spin was sloppy and had too many positions to suite the music.  It was a fine example of how IJS drives some skaters towards excessive complexity just for the sake of complexity, and no other purpose.

Rounding out the top teams, Brittney Simpson & Nathan Miller lie in fourth place, 1.92 points back.  Four of their elements were scored negative, while their double twist, throw double loop, and group four lift received were rewarded with mostly plus one GoEs.  Their side-by-side spin had dreadful unison, with six judges scoring it at minus one or two.  Their closing pair spin was sloppy slow and travelled, but only two judges scored it with negative GoEs (-1).  There performance was adequate for a Junior team, with scores in the mid to upper fours, with the judges in the range 4.00 through 5.25.

Free Skate

Starting Order - Free Skating
  1. Rachel DeRita & Brandon Accardi

  2. Emily Glassberg & Gabe Woodruff

  3. Erika Smith & Nathan Bartholoamay

  4. Ameena Sheikh & Aaron Van Cleave

  5. Brittany Chase & Andrew Speroff

  6. Megan Gueli & Grant Marron

  7. Kloe Bautista & Galvani Hopson

  8. Lauren Farr & Mac Kern

  9. Molly Aaron & Daniyel Cohen

  10. Brynn Carman & Christopher Knierim

  11. Marissa Castelli & Simon Shnapir

  12. Tracy Tanovish & Michael Chau

  13. Britney Simpson & Nathan Miller


Free Skating Placements
Place Team
1 Tracy Tanovish & Michael Chau
2 Brynn Carman & Christopher Knierim
3 Marissa Castelli & Simon Shnapir

Molly Aaron & Daniyel Cohen

5 Britney Simpson & Nathan Miller
6 Brittany Chase & Andrew Speroff
7 Lauren Farr & Mac Kern
8 Ameena Sheikh & Aaron Van Cleave
9 Megan Gueli & Grant Marron
10 Kloe Bautista & Galvani Hopson
11 Erika Smith & Nathan Bartholoamay
12 Rachel DeRita & Brandon Accardi
13 Emily Glassberg & Gabe Woodruff



Tracy Tanovich & Michael Chau presented a delightful "Swan Lake" and vaulted from third in the Short Program to first in the Free Skate and First overall.  Their elements were mostly cleanly done, though the two through were a problem.  On throw triple Salchow Tanovich put both hands down, and on throw triple loop she had a reach for the ice, but not a touch.  Their closing pair spin was only a level one, and two judges scored it negative.  The presentation of the program was not only the finest of this division, but was superior to much of what was seen in the Senior event.  Their Program Component marks averaged from the mid fives to near six, with many individual marks in the sixes, and some judges going to 6.75.

And speaking of component marks in the sixes, how is it that for this team their skating ability (something that does not changes in two days) was scored below 5.0 in the short, and near 5.5 in the long, with some judges at 6.25 in the long? Could the less clean elements in the short have something to do with it, even though it shouldn't?  But we digress.

After their performance Tanovich said, "The program was fun and that was my goal.  I was surprised at the standing ovation and was glad they liked the performance,"  while Chau added, "It was great today and we have something to be proud of.  Especially with me not being 100% well today [lungs].  I was basically going on adrenaline and had to keep calm.  I am very proud."

Brynn Carman & Christopher Knierim placed second in the Free Skate and ended up second overall.  Skating to music from "City Slickers" it was a fun program, but their strength was in the elements.  Only one element, singe flip, was scored negative, with GoEs of minus twos and threes.  The element was supposed to be double flip, but Knierim singled it, and the hit was for unequal rotations in the jump.  On the plus side, their opening triple twist was outstanding with three judges giving it plus three for GoE.  The team was scored highest of the group in elements, but they gave up ground in components, where they were scored second, 2.7 points behind the leaders.  Their component marks where mainly in the mid fives.

The bronze medal in this event went to Marissa Castelli & Simon Shnapir who placed second in the Short Program and third in the Free Skate, performing to music from "Gladiator."  While a good enough performance for the bronze, with a few difficult tricks pulling in big points, it was still a program riddled with problems.  Five elements were scored negative and Castelli had two deductions for falls, one on a double toe loop and the other on throw triple Salchow.  There was also a hand down on throw double Axel and unequal rotations on side-by-side Lutz.  The performance was respectable enough for the first seven element, but started going south after that.  The phrasing for the last four elements was totally off and overall Castelli had to struggle to get through the whole program.   This was reflected in there component marks where Performance and Execution was scored the lowest, followed by Interpretation, while their highest component was Skating Skills.  This variation in component marks pretty much captured what was put in the ice.

Britney Simpson & Nathan Miller placed fifth in the Free Skate, but had enough points from the short to end up in fourth place overall.  The program opened with a fine triple twist, and included two nice double throws, Salchow and loop.  Their two lifts were also better than average.  After that, however, a lot of problems, with four elements scored negative, two of them jumps (with one fall) and two of them spins.  The performance itself was not very engaging.  It was only modestly expressive and more mechanical than not.  Their component marks were in the mid to upper fours, with Skating Skills their highest component.

Molly Aaron & Daniyel Cohen placed fourth in the Free Skate and moved up from seventh in the Short Program to fifth overall.

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