U.S. Nationals

Senior Pairs


Text and photos copyright 2007 by George S. Rossano


Place Team SP FS
1 Brooke Castile & Benjamin Okolski 3 1
2 Rena Inoue & John Baldwin 1 2
3 Naomi Nari Nam & Themistocles Leftheris 2 3
4 Amanda Evora & Mark Ladwig 6 4
5 Tiffany Vise & Derek Trent 4 6
6 Kendra Moyle & Andy Seitz 5 9
7 Julia Vlassov & Drew Meekins 9 5
8 Rhea Sy & Cole Davis 8 7
9 Bridget Namiotka & John Coughlin 7 8
10 Chloe Katz & Joseph Lynch 10 10
11 Meeran Trombley & Laureano Ibarra 12 11
12 Marisa Sharma & Ethan Burgess 11 13
13 Katie Beriau & Alexander Merritt 15 12
14 Stephanie Kuban & Steven Pottenger 13 14
15 Shantel Jordan & Steven Elefante 14 15
16 Amber Wehrle & Nicholas Kole 16 16


Short Program

Starting Order - Short Program
  1. Amber Wehrle & Nicholas Kole

  2. Rena Inoue & John Baldwin

  3. Rhea Sy & Cole Davis

  4. Naomi Nari Nam & Themistocles Leftheris

  5. Marisa Sharma & Ethan Burgess

  6. Kendra Moyle & Andy Seitz

  7. Chloe Katz & Joseph Lynch

  8. Katie Beriau & Alexander Merritt

  9. Shantel Jordan & Steven Elefante

  10. Tiffany Vise & Derek Trent

  11. Brooke Castile & Benjamin Okolski

  12. Stephanie Kuban & Steven Pottenger

  13. Amanda Evora & Mark Ladwig

  14. Bridget Namiotka & John Coughlin

  15. Meeran Trombley & Laureano Ibarra

  16. Julia Vlassov & Drew Meekins


Short Program Placements


1 Rena Inoue & John Baldwin
2 Naomi Nari Nam & Themistocles Leftheris
3 Brooke Castile & Benjamin Okolski
4 Tiffany Vise & Derek Trent
5 Kendra Moyle & Andy Seitz
6 Amanda Evora & Mark Ladwig
7 Bridget Namiotka & John Coughlin
8 Rhea Sy & Cole Davis
9 Julia Vlassov & Drew Meekins
10 Chloe Katz & Joseph Lynch
11 Marisa Sharma & Ethan Burgess
12 Meeran Trombley & Laureano Ibarra
13 Stephanie Kuban & Steven Pottenger
14 Shantel Jordan & Steven Elefante
15 Katie Beriau & Alexander Merritt
16 Amber Wehrle & Nicholas Kole

The Pairs Short Program is one of those events where I wish I had immediate access to the marks in my computer so the split of the panel, the effect of the single trimmed mean, and any silly marks from individual judges could be instantly analyzed.  Unfortunately, it takes a few days to get the marks into the computer, s that will have to wait.  But it is clear from casual inspection of the marks, that this was split decision, and a close one at that.

The Short Program was won by Rena Inoue & John Baldwin with a margin of 0.44 points.  They had the highest element scores, but even with the throw triple Axel, they only managed a 0.92 point lead in elements.  The throw Axel was around but had a major step out, and was maybe two footed, or had a touch of the free foot.  That error cost them at least 1.30 points.  They also received GoEs of -1s and -2s on their Group 4 lift, which went up with difficulty, and for a moment looked like it would not stay up, though at last Baldwin was able to stabile the lift.  In Program Components they were second, in a decent skate, though one that showed no improvement in these skills since last season. Their marks mainly in the mid 6s.

In second place, according to the panel, were Naomi Nari Nam & Themi Leftheris.  Though they attempted a program with significantly lesser base value than Inoue & Baldwin, the overall quality of the elements was judged higher, with just minor errors on two elements, and the ended trailing in elements by just 0.92 points.  They had the highest Program Component scores in the group, leading Inoue & Baldwin by 0.48 points in those skills.

When the marks were posted, they were loudly jeered by the audience, who felt, as did this observor, that Nam & Leftheris' program was clearly the superior of the two, and deserved first place. There tango routine was well  presented, with a well developed interpretation that was painfully lacking in Inoue & Baldwin's routine.

Third and fourth place were also a close contest, with 1.33 points separating those places.  Like first and second place there was again a split, with one team leading in element scores and the other in Program Components, and again the team with the higher element scores placed higher in the segment results.

Third place went to Brooke Castile & Benjamin Okolski.  Many of their elements were better than average quality, particularly their throw triple Salchow, that received GoEs of 2s and one 3.  On double Axel, however, Okolski stepped out, for GoEs of -2, and on their change combination spin, the unison on the second foot was dreadful and resulted in a majority of -1s for GoEs.  Their Program Components were mostly in the mid 6s, except for transitions, which were lacking in number within the routine.  Their average mark there was only 5.79.

Tiffany Vise & Derek Trent placed fourth.  They two had errors on two elements, one major and one minor.  On triple toe loop, Trent put his hand down and the jump was cheated for a downgrade.  They also received mostly -1 GoEs for their closing pair combination spin.  Their Program Components were also in the mid 6s.  In total they were 0.55 points higher than Castile & Okolski, but not high enough to overcome the deficit in element scores.

Below fourth place, the scores in the Short Program drop rapidly, with a 4.14 point difference between fourth and fifth place.

One interesting aspect of the scoring of this event is the overall rage of the Program Component marks for all the teams.  The scores for elements and Program Components are supposed to be balanced so that for the average event, the element scores match the Program Component scores.

In this event, the Program Component scores are systematically too low compared to the element scores -- on the average by about 50%.  Thus, the teams with stronger component scores compared to element scores have been  systematically punished by the panel being out of calibration for this event. This illustrates how critically IJS depends on the correct and consistent systematic calibration of the judges, and how hard it is to judge on an absolute marking scale.


Free Skate

Starting Order - Free Skating
  1. Katie Beriau & Alexander Merritt

  2. Amber Wehrle & Nicholas Kole

  3. Shantel Jordan & Steven Elefante

  4. Stephanie Kuban & Steven Pottenger

  5. Meeran Trombley & Laureano Ibarra

  6. Julia Vlassov & Drew Meekins

  7. Marisa Sharma & Ethan Burgess

  8. Chloe Katz & Joseph Lynch

  9. Bridget Namiotka & John Coughlin

  10. Rhea Sy & Cole Davis

  11. Amanda Evora & Mark Ladwig

  12. Kendra Moyle & Andy Seitz

  13. Tiffany Vise & Derek Trent

  14. Brooke Castile & Benjamin Okolski

  15. Rena Inoue & John Baldwin

  16. Naomi Nari Nam & Themistocles Leftheris


Free Skating Placements
Place Team
1 Brooke Castile & Benjamin Okolski
2 Rena Inoue & John Baldwin
3 Naomi Nari Nam & Themistocles Leftheris
4 Amanda Evora & Mark Ladwig
5 Julia Vlassov & Drew Meekins
6 Tiffany Vise & Derek Trent
7 Rhea Sy & Cole Davis
8 Bridget Namiotka & John Coughlin
9 Kendra Moyle & Andy Seitz
10 Chloe Katz & Joseph Lynch
11 Meeran Trombley & Laureano Ibarra
12 Katie Beriau & Alexander Merritt
13 Marisa Sharma & Ethan Burgess
14 Stephanie Kuban & Steven Pottenger
15 Shantel Jordan & Steven Elefante
16 Amber Wehrle & Nicholas Kole



Well this one didn't turn out according to the script.  No, not at all.  After the Short Program, it was expected that Rena Inoue & John Baldwin and Naomi Nari Nam & Themi Leftheris would contend for the gold and silver, while Brooke Castile & Benjamin Okolski and Tiffany Vise & Derek Trent would vie for the bronze and pewter.  Instead, Castile & Okolski gave the outstanding performance of the day, while the three other teams all faltered in the Free Skate.

Skating third in the third of four warm-ups, Amanda Evora & Mark Ladwig, gave an adequate performance to "West Side Story."  They had Decent Program Component scores, in the low to mid 6s, but five of 13 elements had a majority of negative GoEs.  There basic skating was decent, but so far as showing a relationship in the context of the music, that was pretty much non-existent.  Throw triple Lutz was two footed, and on triple Salchows, he put his hand down and she cheated the jump and stepped out, for a downgrade.  Throw triple loop, a double-double jump sequence, and their pair spin were the three other weakly executed elements.  In the end, however, it was enough to move up to fourth place overall and the pewter medal.

Vise & Trent were first to skate in the last warm-up group, and their performance was nothing short of a mess.  Their triple toe loops were downgraded, and throw triple loop was aborted on the takeoff and ended up a single.  Throw triple Salchow, which was supposed to be an attempt at a quad that didn't get close to four rotations, resulted in a fall.  A flying change combination spin was poorly executed, rotating in slow motion, and received five GoEs of -1.  Their individual Program Component marks ranged from 5.00 to 6.50.  They dropped to fifth overall in the standings.

Next to skate, Castile & Okolski, who placed 8th at the 2006 Nationals, gave an outstanding performance.  Their opening triple twist and throw triple Salchow were outstanding, with GoEs consisting of all but one +2 and +3.

Finally, an American pair team with a real triple twist!

The only element to receive a significant number of negative GoEs was their change combination spin.  Their Program Components were in the high 6s to low 7s.  On their victory, Castile said, "It is a shock, but at the same time, it's something we've always worked to attain," Castile said.

With nearly a three point lead over Castile & Okolski in the Short Program, and kind of semi-decent performance from Inoue & Baldwin would have been enough to retain their title, but even semi-decent they did not deliver.  Baldwin fell on their opening triple toe loops, which alone cost them the victory.  Throw triple Axel also ended up in a fall.  Again, alone costing them the victory.  Their back outside death spiral had a poor exit, and received four GoEs of -1.  That element too was nearly the margin of victory.  Their Program Components were in the high 6s to low 7s, 0.77 points in total behind Castile & Okolski.

Baldwin commented on the performance, saying "Just to be at this championship after everything we've been through this season is great," referring to the reported attach at the Grand Prix Final in St. Petersburg.  Some reporters remained skeptical of the report, to which Baldwin responded, "All I can say is it happened."  It is odd however, there is no supporting confirmation from the team leader or team doctor, or from the doctor, who we assume, diagnosed the reported concussion and vertigo.

After Ioue & Baldwin's skate, Nam & Leftheris were handed the championship on a silver platter, and they threw it away.  Literally.

After landing a nice triple toe - triple toe sequence, their triple twist had a poor catch.  Then on throw triple Salchow Nam fell off the landing edge of the element.  Throw triple loop also resulted in a major crash.  5.83 points shot to hell on those two elements alone.  The team needed strong element scores, since their Program Components were only in the mid 6s, fourth best of the group.  But the team looked tentative and did not attack the program.  Said Nam, After the triple twist, "we got a little overwhelmed. "  As a result the team slipped to third place overall in the standings.  "I think experience is what we need," said Leftheris.  "This is our second Nationals.  Since last year we've added the second throw triple in our program, and it's still really new to Naomi and me, and I think with every competition, whether we miss an element or not, we're improving."


Castile & Okolski Inoue & Baldwin Nam & Leftheris


2007 Senior Pairs Medalists

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