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U.S. Sends Team of Eight to JGP in Istanbul

(19 September 2012)  The fourth event of the 2012 Junior Grand Prix Series runs from September 19-23, in Istanbul Turkey.  After some concern whether the U.S. should send a team to the region due to all the unrest in the Middle East, a team of eight athletes will represent the United States in Ladies, Menís and Ice Dancing as scheduled.  Pairs competition is not a part of this event.

In the Ladies event, Leah Keiser makes her JGP debut in Istanbul. The 2010 U.S. Novice Champion made her international debut last spring, winning gold at the 2012 International Challenge Cup. Nina Jiang returns to the JGP circuit after most recently competing at 2010 JGP France, where she placed fifth. Jiang is the 2008 U.S. Intermediate Ladies Champion.

Jason Brown, the reigning JGP Final Champion and World Junior bronze medallist, looks for his second medal of the season after winning silver at 2012 JGP France, the first JGP event this season.  Shotaro Omori begins his second JGP season. Last year, he competed at events in Romania and Estonia, finishing fourth and fifth, respectively.

In the Ice Dancing event Kaitlin Hawayek & Jean-Luc Baker make their competitive debut after teaming up in June. Hawayek is the 2011 U.S. Novice Bronze Medallist with former partner Michael Bramante. Baker and former partner Joylyn Yang skated together for six years and were U.S. titlists at the juvenile (2007) and intermediate (2008) levels and competed internationally in 2010. Lorraine McNamara & Quinn Carpenter are the 2012 U.S. Junior Bronze Medallists. They will compete for the second time this season after placing sixth at 2012 JGP France to open the season.

A medal result in Istanbul should secure Brown an entry in the series final.  McNamara & Carpenter have a numerical chance to make the final with a strong result this weekend.  For the other team members, this is their only JGP assignment, which severely limits their chance of making the series final.