JGP Estonia Pairs Preview

This is the last stop on the Junior Grand Prix and spots in the Final are on the line.  Simpson and Blackmer have the 4th best score of the season and the top score in the field.  This is their first season together and they made a big splash by winning gold in their first event.  They have a very nice flowy style and good elements and should be very competitive for their second gold medal.  They need a 1st-6th place finish to qualify for the Final.

Bobak and Beharry are another new team that have impressed this season.  They took home a silver from their first event and have the 8th best total score of the season.  The strength is really their free skate, and they have typically placed lower in the short and had to pull up in the free.  If they can start with a strong short program, they should be in the mix for the gold, otherwise they should easily land on the podium here.  They need a 1st-5th place finish to qualify for the Final.

Calalang and Sidhu are another North American team in contention here.  They competed last season on the JGP as well, but showed improvement by placing 4th at their first event this season.  They need a gold or silver or a bronze with a score of 149.53 or higher.

Already in the Final are Chinese teams Sui/Han and Yu/Jin.  Petaikina and Kurduykov of Russia are on the bubble waiting for the outcomes of Calalang/Sidhu and Fedorova/Miroshkin.  If neither team is able to earn the points to take over Petaikina and Kurduykov, Calalang and Sidhu can earn the final spot if they finish 4th and Fedorova/Miroshkin finish lower and Fedorova/Miroshkin can earn the final spot with a bronze.

My podium predictions:
Gold: Simpson/Blackmer
Silver: Bobak/Beharry
Bronze: Calalang/Sidhu

Bios of the competitors:

Kestila/Bullard, AUS: They finished 20th at their international debut in Austria.  Their personal best is 75.84.  She is 13 and he is 17.

Paliakova/Fomichev, BLR: They finished 18th at Junior Worlds.  They placed 8th at their JGP debut in Poland.  Their personal best is 102.74.  She is 19 and he is 20.
 
Bobak/Beharry, CAN: They won silver at their JGP debut in Poland.  Their personal best is 132.54.  She is 17 and he is 20.
 
Kadlecova/Bidar, CZE: They finished 15th at Worlds, 7th at Europeans and 8th at Junior Worlds.  They placed 8th at JGP Austria.  They placed 6th at Trophee Eric Bompard last season.   Their personal best is 139.94.  She is 16 and he is 20.
 
Zabijako/Kulbach, EST: They finished 16th at Worlds and 13th at Europeans.  This is their JGP debut.  Their personal best is 12656.  She is 17 and he is 18.
 
Mendozza/Boyadji, FRA:
 
Epstein/Epstein, NED: They finished 17th at Junior Worlds.  They finished 18th at their JGP debut in Austria.  Their personal best is 86.33.  She is 18 and he is 18 (they are twins).  
 
Klatka/Chruscinski, POL: They finished 14th at Junior Worlds.  They placed 7th at JGP Poland.  Their personal best is 104.82.  She is 14 and he is 19.
 
Grechukhina/Filonova, RUS: They finished 6th at their international debut at JGP Poland.  Their personal best is 110.44.  She is 13 and he is 18.
 
Krutskinkh/Morozov, RUS: They finished 6th at their JGP debut in Latvia.  Their personal best is 121.95.  She is 13 and he is 18. 
 
Rodriguez/Maestu, ESP: They finished 17th at their international debut in Austria.  Their personal best is 90.97.  She is 14 and he is 21.
 
Usmantseva/Lysoy, UKR: This is their international debut.  She is 14 and he is 15.
Calalang/Sidhu, USA: They finished 4th at JGP Poland.  Their personal best is 122.81.  She is 16 and he is 19.
Simpson/Blackmer, USA: They won gold at their international debut at JGP Poland.  Their personal best is 141.42.  She is 15 and he is 19.