2005 U.S. Nationals

Novice Pairs

by Martha L. Kimball

 

 
Standings
Place Team SP FS
1 Claire Davis & Nathan Miller 1 1
2 Bianca Butler & Joseph Jacobsen 4 2
3 Lisa Moore & Nicholas Girardi 3 3
4 Molly Aaron & Taylor Toth 2 4
5

Amanda Hrbacek & Trevor Young

6 5
6 Chelsea Roach & Gregory Benton 10 6
7 Lara Shelton & Neil Shelton 8 7
8 Kelsey Syme & John Pfoh 7 8
9 Lilly Pixley & John Salway 5 9
10

Molly Schleicher & Christopher Schleicher

9 10
11 Kalie Budvarson & Christopher Anders 11 11
12 Alyssa Murray & Anthony Giunipero 12 12

 

Short Program

 
Starting Order - Short Program
  1. Lara Shelton & Neil Shelton

  2. Molly Schleicher & Christopher Schleicher

  3. Alyssa Murray & Anthony Giunipero

  4. Kelsey Syme & John Pfoh

  5. Kalie Budvarson & Christopher Anders

  6. Amanda Hrbacek & Trevor Young

  7. Claire Davis & Nathan Miller

  8. Molly Aaron & Taylor Toth

  9. Chelsea Roach & Gregory Benton

  10. Lisa Moore & Nicholas Girardi

  11. Lilly Pixley & John Salway

  12. Bianca Butler & Joseph Jacobsen

 

Short Program Placements

Place

Team
1 Claire Davis & Nathan Miller
2 Molly Aaron & Taylor Toth
3 Lisa Moore & Nicholas Girardi
4 Bianca Butler & Joseph Jacobsen
5 Lilly Pixley & John Salway
6

Amanda Hrbacek & Trevor Young

7 Kelsey Syme & John Pfoh
8 Lara Shelton & Neil Shelton
9

Molly Schleicher & Christopher Schleicher

10 Chelsea Roach & Gregory Benton
11 Kalie Budvarson & Christopher Anders
12 Alyssa Murray & Anthony Giunipero



Claire Davis, 14, from Littleton, CO, and Nathan Miller, 16, from Oklahoma City, OK, emerged on top in Novice Pairs after a rather cleanly skated and pleasant opening Short Program event. They received seven first-place ordinals.

Miller, doing double duty here as a Novice ice dancer, deemed their first senior Nationals "a big step up." The duo presented a measured and expressive program to "Moonlight Sonata" wearing understated pale violet costumes.

The program, chosen and choreographed by co-coach Dalilah Sappenfield, showed off strong side by side double loops, a lasso lift, and solid spins. A team for just a year and a half, Davis and Miller were proud of their presentation, a notable strength.

"Iím so excited," said Miller. "My adrenalineís going. Just to be here is awesome." He admitted that part of his competitive challenge is to reign in his natural energy and enthusiasm.

The sole flaws of the day were a scraping boot on the death spiral and a less-than-perfect split twist.

Molly Aaron, 14, from Scottsdale, AZ, and Taylor Toth, 16, from Kittaning, PA, squeaked in next on a majority of seconds. Their "Tico Tico" program a la Christopher Bowman displayed energy, speed, and a take-charge attitude. No shrinking violets, the pair wore black and Da-Glo orange to romp through a high split twist, a step-overhead lift, solid jumps and spins with attitude.

Asked if a small dead spot near the end of their program, before the footwork sequence, was an error or a dramatic pause, both skaters, here at their first senior Nationals together, laughed and claimed the latter, with winks implied.

Coach Doug Ladret promised double Axels and "monster throws" in the Long Program.

Lisa Moore, 14, and Nicholas Girardi, 18, both of Fort Collins, CO, glided to a majority of third-place ordinals with a light and lovely interpretation of Cinderellaís "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes" based on a well-received number that they had done for a local ice show, choreographed with a dancey feel by coach Heidi Thibert.

Evoking the fairy tale princess, Moore wore a light blue dress, gloves, and a tiny tiara, with a black velvet ribbon around her neck.

The split twist was high, the step-overhead lift solid, and the presentation deliberate and relaxed.

Asked if there was anything that he and his partner could have done better, Girardi replied, "I think thereís always something you can do better. Skate faster, better."

He identified the teamís strengths as "skating to the music" and "our lifts."

With ordinals from first to seventh, Bianca Butler, 15, of Dana Point, CA, and Joseph Jacobsen, 17, of Lake Arrowhead, CA, finished the Short Program event in fourth place with fast side by side spins but off-synch double loops, an imperfect split twist, and a finish ahead of their music.

A program that went over well with knowledgeable audience members nevertheless left Kelsey Syme and John Pfoh in just seventh place. Dressed in graduated shades of blue into white, they skated to a lyrical number with subtle choreographic flourishes called "Winter Games." Their presentation, posture and speed all rate honorable mention.

 

Free Skate

 
Starting Order - Free Skating
  1. Kalie Budvarson & Christopher Anders

  2. Molly Schleicher & Christopher Schleicher

  3. Chelsea Roach & Gregory Benton

  4. Alyssa Murray & Anthony Giunipero

  5. Amanda Hrbacek & Trevor Young

  6. Lilly Pixley & John Salway

  7. Lara Shelton & Neil Shelton

  8. Kelsey Syme & John Pfoh

  9. Lisa Moore & Nicholas Girardi

  10. Molly Aaron & Taylor Toth

  11. Bianca Butler & Joseph Jacobsen

  12. Claire Davis & Nathan Miller

 

Free Skating Placements
Place Team
1 Claire Davis & Nathan Miller
2 Bianca Butler & Joseph Jacobsen
3 Lisa Moore & Nicholas Girardi
4 Molly Aaron & Taylor Toth
5 Amanda Hrbacek & Trevor Young
6

Chelsea Roach & Gregory Benton

7 Lara Shelton & Neil Shelton
8 Kelsey Syme & John Pfoh
9 Lilly Pixley & John Salway
10 Molly Schleicher & Christopher Schleicher
11 Kalie Budvarson & Christopher Anders
12 Alyssa Murray & Anthony Giunipero

Two of the top four pairs maintained their Short Program positions after the Free Skating, while second and fourth places flip-flopped.

Claire Davis and Nathan Miller of Colorado remained solidly in first to win the Novice title with another beautifully choreographed Dalilah Sappenfield thematic program, this one to selections from the film Prince of Egypt.

The Egyptian flourishes were well woven into the content, with perhaps one small break in character on Millerís part.

"I kind of tripped and pulled back, and then I was just trying to focus and stay with the music, focus on the hardest part, which is my double flip [emphasis on mine, not hers]."

Davis & Miller opened with a high double split twist that will become a triple for next season in Juniors, followed by throw double Salchow, star lift and side by side double Axels. Other key elements were a creatively entered back inside death spiral, side by side double flip Ė double toe loop combinations, a throw double loop, and an excellent final combination spin.

Miller, who competes in both Pairs and Dance, was asked how he "juggles" two women.

"I donít know. It just seems like they both kind of have the same type of personality," he laughed when comparing Davis and his dance partner, Stacy Kim. While Davis was at liberty to rest upon her laurels, Miller had yet more work to do on the same day at the late-evening Novice Free Dance event.

Bianca Butler and Joseph Jacobsen of southern California, who had slightly bobbled their double twist landing, gone off-synch in side by side double loops, and finished ahead of their music in the Short Program event settled down and finished second overall with a free skate that earned two first-place ordinals.

The skaters coached by Jenni Meno and Todd Sand, whose own style was somewhat evident in the program of their proteges, were even more strongly evocative of Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner. The John Nicks influence that first informed the work of Starbuck & Shelley, then matured with Babilonia & Gardner and continued through Meno & Sand found further expression, specifically in a pull-Arabian and closely matched moves like the pair spiral and Ina Bauer.

Butler & Jacobsen, who had been twice cut off in the warm-up while heading into their throw triple twist, made no excuses for the rough catch that marred their opening move. In fact, they were very proud of the maneuver, the only triple twist in the competition, recently added to their repertoire. Certainly that twist helped them to climb to the second spot on the podium.

Other elements of note in the "Spartacus" program included side by side double Axels and flip combinations, a throw double loop, and inventive, difficult lifts.

Lisa Moore and Nicholas Girardi of Colorado remained in third place thanks to a tiebreaking total of marks. The "Cinderella" kids of the Short Program floated through "Camelot" selections, including the lyrical "If Ever I Should Leave You."

The duo opened with a pair camel spin, high double twist, throw double Salchow and double Lutz Ė half turn Ė double flip. Girardi powered Moore into two impressive one-arm press lifts. The program ended with a heel stretch (catch-foot extension) into back outside death spiral.

In between, there were two errors. Girardi ran afoul of his double flip. He put a hand down and later demonstrated the art of positive spin: "I was just happy that I wasnít on my bottom."

Moore went up onto her toe in her half of side by side camel spins, causing Girardi to remark that he knew things were getting dicey when he saw his partner lose her edge on the very first revolution.

"I was a little worried when I saw a blade on the first turn," Girardi deadpanned. "That made my life a little bit more frightening."

Nonetheless, solid ordinals ran from second to fourth for a majority of thirds.

The unlucky team to slip to the bottom of the podium was the Arizona-trained duo Molly Aaron and Taylor Toth. To the ethnic sound of "Hungarian Dance," "Two Guitars," and "Tzigano," they opened with a double twist and went into side by side double Axels. Ominously, Aaron fell. Later she fell again during the double Axel combination, and the side by side spins that followed fell out of synch.

Aaron and Toth accomplished a throw double Salchow, pair spreadeagles, and attractive lifts and combination spins to earn ordinals from second to fourth and relinquish the bronze medal only in a tiebreaker.

 

Judges

          J1:  Carolyn Clausius
          J2:  Susan Juohnson
          J3:  Kathleen McBride
          J4:  Joyce Komperda
          J5:  Jan Serafine
          J6:  Sam Singer
          J7:  Lynn Goldman
          J8:  Wendy Enzmann
          J9:  Sharon Watson

 

Ordinals

Short Program
Place Skater J1 J2 J3 J4 J5 J6 J7 J8 J9 Maj. TOM
1                        
2                        
3                        
4                        
5                        
6                        
7                        
8                        
9                        
10                        
11                        
12                        

 

Free Skating
Place Skater J1 J2 J3 J4 J5 J6 J7 J8 J9 Maj. TOM
1                        
2                        
3                        
4                        
5                        
6                        
7                        
8                        
9                        
10                        
11                        
12                        

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