2017 JGP Belarus Dance Preview

Carreira and Ponomarenko are the only team in this field looking to solidify their spot in the Junior Grand Prix Final.  They had a breakout season last year, winning two silver medals and qualifying for the Final, before winning bronze at Junior Worlds.  They started this season with their first gold medal at JGP Austria.  They earned an impressive Level 4 on both segments of the pattern in their short dance at that event, but a fall cost them valuable points.  They earned just a Level 2 on the twizzles and Level 3 on the non touching step sequence.  Their free dance received Level 4 on everything but the step sequence, which received a Level 3.  They had all positive GOEs, including mostly +2s and program components nearing the 8s.  While they did not reach their personal best, as a whole scores seem to be lower this season compared to last year.  They have the 5th best short dance, best free dance, and 2nd best total scores so far this season.  They need a medal of any color to qualify for the Final.
Skoptcova and Aleshin placed 5th at Junior Worlds, however they were only two points behind Carreira and Ponomarenko.  They earned two medals on the Junior Grand Prix last season, but it wasn’t good enough to qualify for the Final.  In their two seasons on the Junior Grand Prix they have won four total medals and qualified for the Final once.  However, they have never taken home a gold.
Ushakova and Nekrasov won two bronze medals on the Junior Grand Prix last season.  Despite that strong showing, they finished just 7th as juniors at Russian nationals.
My podium predictions:
Gold: Carreira/Ponomarenko
Silver: Skoptcova/Aleshin
Bronze: Ushakova/Nekrasov
Bios of the competitors:
Kalehanova/Palkhouski, BLR: They placed 16th at Junior Worlds.  They finished 10th at JGP France and 12th at JGP Estonia last season.  Their personal best is 118.81.  She is 16 and he is 19.
Sidarenka/Yalenich, BLR: They finished 14th at JGP Latvia.  Their personal best is 72.65.  She is 15 and he is 18.
Zayats/Balanovich, BLR
Mizuki/Volskis, CAN: This is their international debut.  She is 16 and he is 16.
Stairs/Royer, CAN: They placed 14th at Junior Worlds.  They finished 5th at JGP Austria.  Their personal best is 124.14.  She is 17 and he is 19.
Guo/Zhao, CHN: They finished 23rd at Junior Worlds.  They placed 9th at JGP Russia last season.  Their personal best is 105.37.  She is 18 and he is 19.
Burton/Ingall, CZE
Wagret/Couyras, FRA: They placed 5th at JGP Russia and 4th at JGP Estonia last season.  Their personal best is 127.27.  She is 18 and he is 18.
Fear/Waddell, GBR: They finished 7th at JGP Australia.  Their personal best is 110.32.  She is 15 and he is 18.
Nauryzova/Datiev, KAZ: This is their JGP debut.  She is 16 and he is 18.
Skoptcova/Aleshin, RUS: They placed 5th at Junior Worlds.  They won bronze at JGP Slovenia and silver at JGP Estonia last season.  Their personal best is 152.53.  She is 16 and he is 20.
Ushakova/Nekrasov, RUS: They won bronze at JGP Czech Republic and bronze at JGP Germany last season.  Their personal best is 140.21.  She is 15 and he is 16.
Popova/Byelikov, UKR: They finished 12th at Junior Worlds.  They placed 8th at JGP Czech Republic and 7th at JGP Estonia last season.  Their personal best is 126.88.  She is 15 and he is 18.
Carreira/Ponomarenko, USA: They are the reigning World Junior Bronze Medalists.  They won gold at JGP Austria.  Their personal best is 157.19.  She is 17 and he is 16.
Nguyen/Kolesnik, USA