2018 Eastern Sectionals Senior Dance Results

Place Start Name Short Dance Free Dance Total Score
Place Score Place Score
1 2 Julia Biechler, SC of Wilmington
Damian Dodge, IceWorks SC
1 59.80 1 89.38 149.18
2 3 Elicia Reynolds, Ice Line FSC
Stephen Reynolds, Ice Line FSC
2 45.85 2 73.20 119.05
3 1 Cassidy Klopstock, Centennial 7k SC
Jacob Schedl, University of Delaware FSC
3 38.73 3 61.70 100.43

2017 US Nationals Senior Dance Preview

Ice Dance is by far the United States’ most competitive event.  Three teams qualified for the Grand Prix Final for the second year in a row, and these same three teams all placed in the top 6 at Worlds last season.  This is the one discipline where the US is consistently a medal threat and there is the potential of walking away from Worlds with two medals.

As a group, they have 28 national medals (although 12 of them belong to the Shibutanis).  They have won four Worlds medals, seven Four Continents medals, and two World Junior Medals.  They won seven Grand Prix medals and seven Challenger Series medals this season.  The 1st-5th, 7th, 8th, 11th, and 13th place finishers from last season will be competing here.  Only the 3rd and 5th place finishers from last year’s junior event moved up.  The short dance will be held on Friday, January 20th with the free dance on Saturday, January 21st.

To be competitive internationally, these teams need at least 72 points in the short dance, 107 points in the free dance and 180 points overall.
While this is the deepest and most competitive discipline in the US it is also fairly predictable.  The Shibutanis, Chock and Bates, and Hubbell and Donohue have dominated the scene for the last 2.5 years and it would be a major upset if any other team were to steal one of the top three spots.  But there are several teams vying for that final spot on the podium and the placement of the top three teams is not set in stone.
The Shibutanis are coming off a World Silver medal and the first US senior title of their career.  They have the 3rd best short dance, 3rd best free dance and 3rd best total scores.  They have struggled a bit with their levels this year, earning a Level 2 in the short dance on their partial step sequence at Skate America and Cup of China and a Level 2 on the non-touching step sequence at Skate America.  However, their GOEs have more than made up for the technical deficits, earning between 8.5 and 9.5 points between events.  Their program components have been strong throughout the season, and their best short dance components came at the Grand Prix Final where they received 9.11-9.36.  They have perhaps the best execution of the combination of Blues and Hip Hop of any team this season.  After last season’s iconic Fix You program, I thought it would be difficult for them to top that free dance, yet they have been successful.  Again, they’ve had Level issues, receiving a Level 2 on one of their step sequences at Cup of China and the Grand Prix Final.  They earned 15.5 points from GOE at all of their events and at Cup of China and the Grand Prix Final their program components ranged from 9.21-9.50, even receving a few 10s from the judges.
Chock and Bates established themselves as the #1 team in the US after Davis and White retired following the 2014 Olympics.  They won a national title, medaled at Worlds and had never lost a competition to any of their US teammates.  However, they were overtaken by the Shibutanis last season at nationals and haven’t been able to catch up.  They have the 4th best short dance, 4th best free dance, and 4th best total scores internationally.  They have done something no other team has done this season, beating Virtue and Moir in the free dance at Skate Canada.  However, their scores have been steadily slipping throughout the season and they finished 6th at the Grand Prix Final behind the Shibutanis and Hubbell and Donohue.  They have consistently dropped Levels in the short dance with all but one of their elements receiveing Level 4 at Skate Canada, while only two received Level 4 at the Grand Prix Final.  They earned 9 points from GOE at Skate Canada, but only 6.5 points and the GPF.  Their best program components for the short came at Rostelecom Cup, where they earned 8.93-9.36.  Their free dance was fairly similar between Skate Canada and the Grand Prix Final with Rostelecom Cup being a bit of a blip in the road.  At their two best events they earned Level 4 on everything but the step sequences (and they earned one Level 4 step sequence at Skate Canada).  They earned between 12.5 and 14 points from GOEs with their best program components ranging from 9.07-9.29.  Interestingly, their best program components came at Rostelecom Cup, which was their weakest technical performance.
Hubbell and Donohue have steadily moved up in the world standings, qualifying for the Grand Prix Final two years in a row, and placing 6th at Worlds last season.  They even bested Chock and Bates for the first time at the Grand Prix Final.  They have they the 8th best short dance score internationally.  They have been improving throughout the season, with their best short dance coming at the Grand Prix Final where they received Level 4 on everything but the partial step sequence and earned 7 points from GOE.  Their best program components were also at that event, scoring 8.61-8.79.  While their free dance had better Levels at Skate America and Trophee de France, their program components were much better at the Grand Prix Final, scoring between 8.75 and 9.14.  They consistently scored around 13 points from GOE in the free dance.
Hawayek and Baker had a bit of a disappointing season last year.  They won the pewter medal in their senior debut in 2015, but fell to 5th place last year.  They had a free dance they were very passionate about and invested in, but they couldn’t find the scores to move them forward.  They have had some Level issues this year, receiving Level 2 on the partial step sequence in their short program at Skate Canada and Level 2 on the non-touching step sequence at NHK Trophy.  They earned between 5 and 6 points from GOE at their two events and their best program components were at Skate Canada where they scored 7.64-8.00.  Their free dance improved throughout the season.  While they earned Level 2 for their twizzles at Skate Canada, they received Level 4 at NHK Trophy.  Their GOE in this segment at that event earned them 13 points and their program components were 8.07-8.43.  However, they may be closer to the top 3 after a strong performance at Golden Spin saw them score only 2 points less than Chock and Bates and Hubbell and Donohue.
Pogrebinsky and Benoit are the reigning US Junior Bronze Medalists and placed 4th at Junior Worlds last season.  They still had junior eligibility but decided to make the jump to the senior ranks where they earned two Grand Prix assignments and won a medal on the Challenger Series.  Their best short program came at Rostelecom Cup where they improved the levels on their twizzles and the non-touching step sequence and earned 4 points from GOE.  Their program components are a bit low, but on par with a first year senior team.  Their best short dance program component marks came at Skate Canada where they scored 7.00-7.29.  For the free dance, their Skate America levels were better, earning 2 and 3 on their step sequences and 4 on everything else.  Their GOE and program components were similar at their two GP events, earning +9-9.5 and 7.21-7.61.
Cannuscio and McManus had a breakout season last year, winning the pewter medal at nationals.  Like many of the teams here, they’ve struggled with some of their levels this season.  Their best short dance came at Cup of China where they earned Level 4 on their lift, Level 3 on their twizzles and Level 2 on the step portions.  Their program components were a little low ranging from 6.57-7.04 at NHK Trophy.  They had similar performances in their free dance, earning Level 4 on everything but the step sequences, which earned Level 2.  They earned between 6 and 7 points from GOE and had program components ranging from 6.57-7.36.
Biechler and Dodge are making their senior debut after placing 5th in juniors last year.  At Eastern Sectionals, their short dance earned Level 4 on the twizzles and Level 3 on everything else.  They received 4.5 points from GOE and their program components scored 6.42-7.00.  They earned Level 4 on the lifts and spin in their free dance and Level 3 on the twizzles and steps.  They earned 11 points from GOE and had program components ranging from 6.42-6.92.
Manta and Johnson also had a strong showing at Sectionals.  Their short dance received Level 4 on the twizzles and lift, Level 3 on the non-touching step sequence, and Level 2 on the Blues and partial step sequence.  They earned 4.5 points from GOE with program components from 6.63-7.31.  They earned Level 4 on the lift, twizzles and spin in their free dance with Level 2 on the step sequences.  They were awarded 7 points from GOE with program components ranging from 6.58-7.25.
What this event is going to come down to is program components.  The Shibutanis were under marked in this category for years and even though they were exceptional technicians, they couldn’t keep pace on the artistic side.  Now, their levels have been holding them down a bit this season, but their GOEs and program components are keeping them on podiums.
Top 5 TES Scores, Short Dance
40.85 Shibutanis, Grand Prix Final
40.61 Chock/Bates, Skate Canada
38.35 Chock/Bates, Rostelecom Cup
37.66 Hubbell/Donohue, Grand Prix Final
36.87 Shibutanis, Cup of China
Top 5 PCS Scores, Short Dance
37.12 Shibutanis, Grand Prix Final
36.83 Shibutanis, Skate America
36.69 Chock/Bates, Rostelecom Cup
36.36 Shibutanis, Cup of China
35.60 Chock/Bates, Skate Canada
Top 5 TES Scores, Free Dance
57.44 Chock/Bates, Skate Canada
56.95 Shibutanis, Skate America
55.59 Shibutanis, Rostelecom Cup
55.45 Shibutanis, Grand Prix Final
54.88 Hubbell/Donohue, Trophee de France
Top 5 PCS Scores, Free Dance
56.31 Shibutanis, Cup of China
56.18 Shibutanis, Grand Prix Final
55.76 Shibutanis, Skate America
55.30 Chock/Bates, Rostelecom Cup
54.59 Chock/Bates, Skate Canada
Note that despite receiving lower levels in the short dance and free dance than their other competitors, the Shibutanis are receiving much higher GOE marks, giving them technical scores equal to or better than the other teams here.  Add on to this the higher program component marks and scores that are trending upward, and they are on the right track to repeat their national title.

My podium predictions:

Gold: Shibutani/Shibutani

Silver: Chock/Bates

Bronze: Hubbell/Donohue

Pewter: Hawayek/Baker

 

Bios of the competitors:

Biechler/Dodge: She is 18 and represents the Skating Club of Wilmington and he is 22 and represents the Peninsula Skating Club.  They finished 4th at Lombardia Trophy.  They placed 5th as juniors last season, 8th at juniors in 2015, 7th as juniors in 2014 and 9th as juniors in 2013.

Cannuscio/McManus: She is 24 and represents the University of Delaware Figure Skating Club and he is 26 and represents the Skating Club of Boston.  They placed 7th at Cup of China and 8th at NHK Trophy.  They finished 7th at Ondrej Nepela Memorial.  They are the reigning Pewter Medalists, finished 5th in 2015, 7th in 2014, 6th in 2013, 6th in 2012, are the 2011 Junior Bronze Medalists, finished 7th in juniors in 2010 and 10th in juniors in 2009.

Chock/Bates:  She is 24 and represents the All Year Figure Skating Club and he is 27 and represents the Ann Arbor Figure Skating Club.  They are the reigning World Bronze Medalists and reigning Four Continents Silver Medalists.  They won silver at Skate Canada and silver at Rostelecom Cup to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where they placed 6th.  They won silver at Nebelhorn Trophy and silver at Ondrej Nepela Memorial.  They are the 2015 World Silver Medalists, 2015 Four Continents Silver Medalists, and 2013 Four Continents Bronze Medalists.  They are the reigning Silver Medalists, 2015 Champions, 2014 Silver Medalists, 2013 Silver Medalists and finished 5th in 2012.

Hawayek/Baker: She is 20 and represents the Detroit Skating Club and he is 23 and represents the Seattle Skating Club.  They finished 6th at Skate Canada and 4th at NHK Trophy.  They won silver at Autumn Classic International and silver at Golden Spin of Zagreb.  They are the 2014 World Junior Champions.  They finished 5th last season, are the 2015 Pewter Medalists, 2014 Junior Champions and 2013 Junior Silver Medalists.

Hubbell/Donohue: She is 25 and he is 26 and they represent the Lansing Skating Club.  They placed 6th at Worlds and 4th at Four Continents last season.  They won silver at Skate America and silver at Trophee de France to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where they placed 5th.  They won gold at the US International Classic and silver at Finlandia Trophy.  They are the 2014 Four Continents Champions.  They are the reigning Bronze Medalists, 2015 Bronze Medalists, 2014 Pewter Medalists, 2013 Pewter Medalists and 2012 Bronze Medalists.

Manta/Johnson: She is 20 and represents the Coyotes Skating Club of Arizona and he is 22 and represents the Broadmoor Skating Club.  They placed 5th at the US International Figure Skating Classic.  They finished 7th last season and 10th as juniors in 2015.

Maxwell/Devereaux: She is 27 and represents the Arctic Figure Skating Club and he is 27 and represents the Pittsburgh Figure Skating Club.  They placed 6th at the Warsaw Cup.  They finished 8th last season and 9th in 2015.

Pogrebinsky/Benoit: She is 18 represents the Peninsula Skating Club and he is 21 and represents the Skokie Valley Skating Club.  They finished 4th at Junior Worlds last season.  They placed 7th at Skate America and 6th at Rostelecom Cup.  They placed 4th at Nebelhorn Trophy and won bronze at Tallinn Trophy.  They are the reigning Junior Bronze Medalists and 2015 Junior Bronze Medalists.

Ponomaryova/Altukhov: She is 28 and represents the Skokie Valley Skating Club and he is 33 and represents the North County Figure Skating Club.  They placed 11th last season, 12th in 2015, 16th in 2014 and 14th in 2013.

Reynolds/Reynolds: She is 26 and he is 23 and they represent the IceWorks Skating Club.  They finished 13th last season, 11th in 2015, and 14th in 2014.

Shibutani/Shibutani: She is 22 and he is 25 and they represent the Skating Club of New York.  They are the reigning World Silver Medalists and reigning Four Continents Champions.  They won gold at Skate America and gold at Cup of China to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where they won bronze.  They are the 2011 World Bronze Medalists, 2011 Four Continents Silver Medalists, 2015 Four Continents Bronze Medalists, and 2009 World Junior Silver Medalists.  They are the reigning Champions, 2015 Silver Medalists, 2014 Bronze Medalists, 2013 Bronze Medalists, 2012 Silver Medalists, 2011 Silver Medalists, 2010 Junior Champions, 2009 Junior Silver Medalists, 2008 Junior Pewter Medalists, 2007 Novice Champions, 2006 Intermediate Champions and 2005 Juvenile Silver Medalists.

 

Biechler and Dodge bring “untraditional” style to senior debut

Biechler and Dodge have been competing together since May of 2012.  After four seasons competing as juniors, they are moving up to compete as seniors for the first time.  Their best finish at nationals came last season when they placed 5th.  They had their best international season last year as well, earning a bronze medal at JGP Austria.  They had the opportunity to compete internationally this season, placing 4th at Lombardia Trophy.

How did you two pair up?

Dodge (DD): We paired up through ice partner search as well as through mutual connections between coaches.  Julia had seen my former partner (Cassandra Jeandell) and I at a competition and stopped to watch us because we spray painted our hair multiple colors for our program.  She remembered me because of this and as soon as she saw my name on partner search she reached out.  We had one tryout and I had basically decided I wanted to skate with her, even before having any other tryouts.  She had other prospects but luckily chose me.

How would you describe yourselves as a team?

We would describe ourselves as a unique and powerful team.  We have always tried to steer away from being “traditional” ice dancers and enjoy coming up with programs we feel show our personalities in some capacity or another.  As partners, we are up front with our expectations for ourselves and each other and this has allowed us to continue to work together without causing tension.  We are our own biggest critics and this helps us to continue moving forward to avoid complacency.

Tell me about yourselves outside of skating.

Biechler (JB): I’m currently a high school senior at Commonwealth Charter Academy (online school) and will be attending Wilmington University this fall.  I also have recently started coaching kids at the rink in Aston where we train.

I’m a senior at Drexel University with a major in health services administration and a minor in organizational management.  I coach most afternoons between our training and going to class.  My intermediate dance team, Olivia Sebastiani and Dillon Berry, are competing at nationals as well.  I also volunteer for the Crisis Text Line (741741), as a crisis counselor, to help those in imminent risk of harming themselves or others.  I try to volunteer for the Special Olympics, when time permits, because I have met some of the most amazing athletes through my time spent volunteering.

Tell me about your programs this season.

Our short dance is Why Don’t You Do Right from Who Framed Roger Rabbit with a swing remix of Tainted Love.  The overall theme is the wealthy male hoping for the attention of the attractive woman.  She continues to tease him until they start to have somewhat of a fling.  She goes for the money and he goes for the looks.

Our free is a program we both feel extremely passionate about.  Sia’s song is about a recurring negative thing and we decided to portray it as addiction.  Most people become addicted to something negative at some point in their lives.  Sometimes it’s love or money, or sometimes it can be drugs and alcohol.  Our goal is to try to show Julia’s struggle with the addiction and Damian’s strong support throughout.  Once she gets past the tough point, both can rejoice in the fact that she is “recovered.”

You won your first international medal last season at JGP Austria (a bronze).  What was it like to stand on an international podium?

JB: It was surreal.  I felt a huge amount of honor and pride to have been able to compete and win a bronze medal for our country internationally.  It was an overwhelming feeling being up there and knowing that what you have been working for and dreaming about is finally happening.

DD: It was amazing!  Being an “older team” has always been incredibly difficult and it seemed like we would never achieve our goals of being on Team USA, let alone medaling at a JGP.  Last season was our last year of age eligibility, and taking the bronze in Austria was the perfect cap to our Junior international career.

Both of you have active volunteer schedules.  Why is giving back so important to you?

DD: I love volunteering because I think it’s extremely important to give back whenever possible.  When I was growing up, with a single mother, many people helped us along the way and I will always remember how far little acts of kindness can go.  I also have learned so much about myself through giving back.  When helping with the Special Olympics, I’ve met some of the most down to earth athletes and it reminds me that sports are all about having fun and enjoying the act of competing as opposed to the results.  With my time volunteering for the Crisis Text Line, I’ve talked to people at, potentially, their lowest point in life and helped them to find the positives to realize their life is worth living. Having a person’s life essentially in the palm of my hand has shown me how valuable every day is and how just listening to a person can save their life.

Damian—you received the junior coach of the year award at your rink last year.  What do you like best about coaching and what do you think it has added to your own skating?

DD: Coaching has been such an eye-opening experience in my life.  I started teaching Learn to Skate when I was 13 and deciding coaching was something I’d never want to pursue.  Over time I started to realize how beneficial coaching was towards my own skating and how much passion I had towards helping others learn the sport I love.  The last few years I have started to coach almost as much as I skate, and my favorite thing is being able to help and watch skaters of all ages achieve their goals. There are many times I find myself telling students things I’ve been told by our coaches or judges in the past and I find myself having “aha” moments when it happens.  This, by far, has been the most valuable aspect towards my own skating because it helps me truly understand where my coaches are coming from when they make certain comments.

What are you looking forward to most skating as seniors at nationals for the first time?

We’re excited to be competing against some of the teams we’ve looked up to for most, if not all, of our skating careers.  It’s surreal to even be in the same event and we are looking forward to the learning experience this competition will provide for us.  It feels like we can relax a little and try to enjoy the event in order to learn as much as we can about being a senior US team.

You competed as seniors internationally for the first time at Lombardia Trophy.  What was that experience like?

It was surprisingly relaxed.  Although we were not completely satisfied with our performances, it was crazy to see how different the atmosphere is at a Challenger Series event than at a Junior Grand Prix.  Although it was still nerve-wracking and stressful to compete, especially as first time seniors, it was amazing to see the difference in attitude our competitors had.  It’s almost as though, in junior, everyone is so eager to gain the attention of everyone watching they let it control their skating, while in senior, the mindset is to focus on making the skating look so effortless that it forces people to watch.

You’ve traveled to a lot of European countries through skating.  What has been your favorite so far and why?

JB: Austria and Germany.  Both are such beautiful countries and everything was easy to get to once there. We also skated extremely well at both.

DD: Italy was my favorite so far for several reasons.  This was the first competition we’ve had where we had multiple days of “sightseeing time.”  In most of the other countries we’ve been to, we had one good day of sightseeing, and usually a few hours here and there throughout the week.  Slovenia was also one of my favorites because it was the first place in Europe I had ever been.

Julia—you still compete in singles skating, winning South Atlantic Regionals and finishing 6th at Eastern Sectionals in the junior ladies division.  What do you like best about singles skating?  How do you balance the training since it is a different skill set from ice dance?

JB: I love jumping, spinning, and being able to have the freedom to express myself out on the ice.  Both disciplines complement each other more than people realize.  Dance helps freestyle with footwork, edges, and everything that has to do with the components side.  It helps me be graceful.  Freestyle helps dance with lifts, spins, and even things like the one foot part of a step sequence.  It helps me be able to hold my own while skating with Damian.

Have you made any changes to your programs for nationals?

After Lombardia, we essentially scrapped all choreography in both programs, and decided to keep only the few things we felt had potential to bring the programs where they needed to be.  Sectionals helped to show us we were on the right path and we have made several small changes since.  Most of our changes have been a result of working with Galit Chait on improving our technical skating and we have worked to improve our step sequences especially.

What are your goals for nationals? For next season?

Our main goal for nationals is to stay as relaxed as possible in order to show the work we have put in this season.  We tend to stray from setting numerical goals because they do not necessarily help motivate us in preparing for competitions.  When focusing on a score, or placement, we’d like to achieve, it takes the focus away from our own skating and does not provide us with the necessary steps needed to advance our skating.  Also, as mentioned, our goal for nationals is to use it as a learning tool towards the coming seasons.  Our goals for next season are to improve on our overall finesse and look on the ice.  There are times we still feel we don’t quite look like a senior team yet and are eager to continue developing our basic skating skills.

Is there anything else you want people to know?

We’re excited to compete our first senior nationals and appreciate all the support we’ve received the last few seasons.  Skating has opened up the world to us and are we are extremely grateful for the opportunities we’ve been given while being optimistic toward more to come.  You can follow us at:

Facebook: facebook.com/teamJBDD

Instagram: @j_biechler and @tazdamiandevil

Twitter: @JuliaBiechler and @TazDamian_Devil

2017 Eastern Sectionals Senior Dance Results

Place Start Name Short Dance Free Dance Total Score
Place Score Place Score
1 2 Julia Biechler, SC of Wilmington
Damian Dodge, Peninsula SC
1 60.60 1 91.97 152.57
2 1 Elicia Reynolds, SC of Wilmington
Stephen Reynolds, SC of Wilmington
2 39.34 2 69.13 108.47

2016 US Nationals Junior Dance Preview

This is the most competitive group competing in the junior division at nationals.  All three teams who went to Junior Worlds last season are competing at this event, and 5 of these teams have top 10 scores internationally.  As a group they have won 24 nationals medals and 9 JGP medals this season.  The Junior gold, silver and bronze medalists from last season along with the 5th, 7th, 8th and 9th place teams will be returning.  The novice silver medalist and 9th place team are moving up to compete here.  The short dance will be held on Wednesday, January 20th with the free dance on Friday, January 22nd.

McNamara and Carpenter are competing in the junior event for the 6th time, after winning gold last year and medaling each of the last 5 seasons.  They’ve won every event they’ve entered this season, including the Grand Prix Final and have set themselves up for a run at the Junior World title.  Their best outing came at JGP Poland.  They earned Level 4 on both segments of their Starlight Waltz, twizzles and lift in the short dance with a Level 3 on their non touching step sequence.  They had all positive GOEs earning 6 points.  Their program components ranged from 7.79-8.17.  Their free dance included Level 4 lifts, spin, twizzles and Level 3 step sequences.  They earned all positive GOEs totaling 9 points.  Their program components were again strong, earning 7.96-8.50.

Parsons and Parsons have the 2nd best international score of the season and took home the bronze medal from the Junior Grand Prix Final, giving the US a shot at two medals at Junior Worlds.  Their best performance this season came at JGP Croatia.  They received Level 4 on their lift, Starlight Waltz, step sequence and twizzles in their short dance.  They earned all positive GOEs totaling 6 points.  Their program components ranged from 7.50-7.64.  Their free dance had Level 4 twizzles, lifts and a spin with Level 3 step sequences.  They received positive GOEs on all of their elements, earning 10 points.  Their program components ranged from 7.79-8.07.

Pogrebinsky and Benoit set the top score during qualifying, more than 15 points better than the next closest competitor.  They also earned a bronze medal on the Junior Grand Prix.  At sectionals, they received Level 4 on their Starlight Waltz, twizzles and lift with Level 3 on their non-touching step sequence.  They had all positive GOEs, earning 6 points.  Their best program components came at sectionals where they earned 7.25-7.56.  Their free dance had Level 4 twizzles, spin and lifts with Level 3 on their step sequences.  They earned all positive GOEs, netting 10 points at sectionals and 6 points at JGP Spain.  Their best program components came at sectionals where they earned 7.44-7.88.

Carreira and Ponomarenko set the 2nd highest score during qualifying and won a silver on the JGP circuit. They received Level 4 on their lift, one Starlight Waltz pattern and the twizzles in their short dance with a Level 3 on the other Starlight Waltz pattern, and the step sequence.  They earned all positive GOEs.  Their best program components came at JGP Poland where they earned 6.79-7.46.  Their free dance had Level 4 twizzles, spin and a lift with Level 3 on their other lift and step sequences.  They earned all positive GOEs, netting 6 points at sectionals and 8 points at JGP Poland.  Their best program components came at JGP Poland, earning 7.17-7.54.

Lewis and Bye set the third highest score at sectionals.  They only earned a Level 4 on the Starlight Waltz pattern in their short dance at sectionals.  Their levels were much better at JGP Spain, earning Level 4 on their twizzles, one pattern of Starlight Waltz and their lift with a Level 3 on their non-touching step sequence and the other Starlight Waltz pattern.  At both events they earned all positive GOEs.  Their best program components came at sectionals where they earned 6.50-6.83.  They earned Level 4 on their twizzles, spin and lifts in their free dance with a Level 3 on one step sequence.  They earned all positive GOEs, netting 5.5 points at JGP Spain and 8 points at sectionals.  Their best program components came at JGP Spain with 6.57-6.89.

Biechler and Dodge set the fourth highest score at sectionals and earned a bronze medal on the JGP this season.  Their best short dance levels came at JGP Austria, where they earned Level 4 on the twizzles, lift and Starlight Waltz with Level 3 on their non-touching step sequence.  At both events they earned all positive GOEs.  Their best program components came at JGP Austria where they earned 6.71-7.07.  Their best free dance came at sectionals with Level 4 twizzles, spin and lifts with Level 3 step sequences.  They had all positive GOEs at both events, earning 7 points at JGP Austria and 9 points at sectionals.  Their best program components came at JGP Austria, where they earned 7.18-7.43.

Grosul and Colucci set the fifth highest score at sectionals.  Their short dance includes a Level 4 Starlight Waltz pattern, lift and twizzles with a Level 3 on the other Starlight Waltz pattern and their non-touching step sequence.  They earned all positive GOEs.  Their program components ranged from 5.94-6.13.  Their free dance included a Level 4 lift, twizzles and spin with a Level 3 on their other lift.  They again had all positive GOEs, netting 6.5 points.  Their program components ranged from 6.25-6.44.

 

My podium predictions:

Gold: McNamara/Carpenter

Silver: Parsons/Parsons

Bronze: Pogrebinsky/Benoit

Pewter: Carreira/Ponomarenko

 

Bios of the competitors:

Addas/Schultz: She is 16 and represents the All Year Figure Skating Club and he is 17 and represents the Figure Skating Club of Southern California.  They finished 9th in novice last season, are the 2013 Juvenile Bronze Medalists and finished 20th in juvenile in 2012.  They won pewter at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 10th best free dance score.

Becker/Becker: She is 13 and and he is 15 and they represent the Washington Figure Skating Club.  They placed 6th at JGP Croatia.  They finished 9th in juniors last season, are the 2014 Novice Champions, 2013 Novice Pewter Medalists, 2012 Intermediate Champions and 2011 Juvenile Silver Medalists.  They won silver at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 7th best short dance, 6th best free dance and 7th best total scores.

Biechler/Dodge: She is 17 and represents the Skating Club of Wilmington and he is 21 and represents the Peninsula Skating Club.  They finished 5th at JGP Slovakia and won bronze at JGP Austria.  They placed 8th as juniors last season, 7th as juniors in 2014 and 9th as juniors in 2013.  They won gold at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 5th best short dance, 3th best free dance and 4th best total scores, nationally.  Internationally, they have the 8th best short dance and 10th best total scores.

Carreira/Ponomarenko: She is 15 and represents the Skating Club of New York and he is 15 and represents the Skating Club of San Francisco.  They placed 4th at JGP Latvia and won silver at JGP Poland.  They placed 5th in juniors last season.  They won gold at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 2nd best short dance, 2nd best free dance and 2nd best total scores, nationally.  Internationally, they have the 6th best short dance, 7th best free dance and 9th best total scores.

Efimova/MacMillan: She represents the Peninsula Figure Skating Club and he is 18 and represents the Washington Figure Skating Club.  They won bronze at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 9th best short dance and 10th best total scores.

Erdman/Shchepetov: He is 18 and they represent the Philadelphia Skating Club and Humane Society. They won bronze at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 8th best short dance, 8th best free dance and 8th best total scores.

Gropman/Somerville: She is 14 and represents the Pavilion Skating Club of Cleveland Heights and he is 15 and represents the Washington Figure Skating Club.  They placed 10th at JGP USA.  They are the 2014 Novice Silver Medalists, 2013 Intermediate Champions and 2012 Juvenile Champions.  They won bronze at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 6th best short dance, 7th best free dance and 7th best total scores.

Grosul/Colucci: She is 13 and represents the Skating Club of Novi and he is 14 and represents the Philadelphia Skating Club and Humane Society.  They are the reigning Novice Silver Medalists, 2014 Intermediate Silver Medalists and 2013 Juvenile Pewter Medalists.  They won silver at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 3rd best short dance, 5th best free dance and 5th best total scores.

Lewis/Bye: She is 15 and represents the All Year Figure Skating Club and he is 17 and represents the Skating Club of New York.  They placed 5th at JGP USA and 5th at JGP Spain.  They finished 7th in juniors last season, 6th as juniors in 2014, are the 2013 Novice Champions, 2012 Novice Pewter Medalists and finished 6th in Intermediate in 2011.  They won silver at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 4th best short dance, 4th best free dance and 3rd best total scores.

Lucas/Shedl: She represents the University of Delaware Figure Skating Club and he represents the Pavilion Skating Club of Cleveland Heights.  They won pewter at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.

McNamara/Carpenter: She is 16 and represents the Peninsula Skating Club and he is 19 and represents the Washington Figure Skating Club.  They are the reigning World Junior Silver Medalists.  They won gold at JGP USA and gold at JGP Poland to qualify for the Junior Grand Prix Final where they won gold.  They are the reigning Junior Champions, 2014 Junior Silver Medalists, 2013 Junior Bronze Medalists, 2012 Junior Bronze Medalists, finished 9th in Junior in 2011, 6th in Novice in 2010, are the 2009 Intermediate Pewter Medalists and 2008 Juvenile Pewter Medalists.  They have the 2nd best short dance, best free dance and best total scores internationally.

Parsons/Parsons: She is 18 and he is 20 and they represent the Washington Figure Skating Club.  They placed 4th at Junior Worlds last season.  They won gold at JGP Slovakia and gold at JGP Croatia to qualify for the Junior Grand Prix Final where they won bronze.  They are the reigning Junior Silver Medalists, 2014 Junior Bronze Medalists, 2012 Junior Pewter Medalists and 2011 Novice Champions.  They have the best short dance, 2nd best free dance and 2nd best total scores internationally.

Pogrebinsky/Benoit: She is 17 represents the Peninsula Skating Club and he is 20 and represents the Skokie Valley Skating Club.  They finished 13th at Junior Worlds last season.  They placed 4th at JGP Austria and won bronze at JGP Spain.  They are the reigning Junior Bronze Medalists.  They won gold at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the best short dance, best free dance and best total scores, nationally.  Internationally, they have the 9th best short dance, 10th best free dance and 9th best total scores.

Takai/Martin: She is 18 and he is 19 and they represent the Detroit Skating Club.  They won pewter at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 10th best short dance, 9th best free dance and 9th best total scores.

Eastern Sectionals Junior Dance Results

Place Start Name Short Dance Free Dance Total Score
Place Score Place Score
1 4 Julia Biechler, SC of Wilmington
Damian Dodge, Peninsula SC
1 54.33 1 82.42 136.75
2 3 Gigi Becker, Washington FSC
Luca Becker, Washington FSC
2 51.35 2 73.96 125.31
3 2 Lydia Erdman, Philadelphia SC & HS
Alexey Shchepetov, Philadelphia SC & HS
3 51.28 3 69.79 121.07
4 1 Rebecca Lucas, University of Delaware FSC
Jacob Schedl, Pavilion SC of Cleveland Heights
4 41.02 4 59.24 100.26

JGP Austria Dance Results

Short Dance

Pl. Name Nation TSS
=
TES
+
PCS
+
SS TR PE CC IT Ded.
StN.
1 Alla LOBODA / Pavel DROZD RUS 61.73 31.90 29.83 7.46 7.29 7.46 7.50 7.57 0.00 #11
2 Julia BIECHLER / Damian DODGE USA 59.59 31.90 27.69 6.86 6.71 7.07 6.96 7.00 0.00 #18
3 Marie-Jade LAURIAULT / Romain LE GAC FRA 59.50 32.10 27.40 6.82 6.64 6.89 6.86 7.04 0.00 #7
4 Elliana POGREBINSKY / Alex BENOIT USA 58.56 29.40 29.16 7.14 7.14 7.25 7.46 7.46 0.00 #12
5 Sofia EVDOKIMOVA / Egor BAZIN RUS 56.55 28.83 27.72 6.86 6.79 7.07 7.00 6.93 0.00 #19
6 Haley SALES / Nikolas WAMSTEEKER CAN 47.76 22.68 25.08 6.21 6.00 6.32 6.39 6.43 0.00 #4
7 Ashlynne STAIRS / Lee ROYER CAN 47.00 25.05 21.95 5.54 5.29 5.54 5.54 5.54 0.00 #2
8 Guoste DAMULEVICIUTE / Deividas KIZALA LTU 43.73 23.69 20.04 4.96 4.79 5.11 5.11 5.07 0.00 #20
9 Emilia KALEHANAVA / Uladzislau PALKHOUSKI BLR 43.03 25.17 17.86 4.54 4.39 4.50 4.61 4.29 0.00 #5
10 Nicole KUZMICH / Alexandr SINICYN CZE 41.34 17.74 23.60 5.96 5.75 5.79 6.07 5.93 0.00 #21
11 Rikako FUKASE / Aru TATENO JPN 41.03 23.92 17.11 4.21 4.14 4.32 4.43 4.29 0.00 #13
12 Olga GIGLAVA / Aleksandr SIROSHTAN UKR 40.55 22.72 17.83 4.64 4.36 4.46 4.46 4.36 0.00 #3
13 Darya POPOVA / Volodymyr NAKISKO UKR 40.21 21.61 18.60 4.64 4.50 4.75 4.79 4.57 0.00 #16
14 Julia WAGRET / Mathieu COUYRAS FRA 40.05 22.54 18.51 4.71 4.50 4.68 4.75 4.50 1.00 #17
15 Francesca RIGHI / Pietro PAPETTI ITA 39.97 22.12 17.85 4.46 4.43 4.32 4.71 4.39 0.00 #6
16 Xibei LI / Guangyao XIANG CHN 39.80 20.76 19.04 4.86 4.46 4.86 4.86 4.75 0.00 #15
17 Valentina SCHÄR / Carlo RÖTHLISBERGER SUI 38.09 21.78 17.31 4.50 4.14 4.36 4.39 4.25 1.00 #9
18 Hanna JAKUCS / Daniel ILLES HUN 37.90 20.65 17.25 4.43 4.18 4.36 4.46 4.14 0.00 #10
19 Hannah Grace COOK / Temirlan YERZHANOV KAZ 37.79 22.31 16.48 4.25 3.96 4.29 4.21 3.89 1.00 #1
20 Polina GORLOV / Eduard VISHNJAKOV GER 36.49 17.74 19.75 5.04 4.79 4.86 5.11 4.89 1.00 #8
21 Mina SVAJGER / Michael CHRASTECKY SLO 31.16 15.53 15.63 3.93 3.75 3.93 4.07 3.86 0.00 #14

 

Free Dance

Pl. Name Nation TSS
=
TES
+
PCS
+
SS TR PE CC IT Ded.
StN.
1 Alla LOBODA / Pavel DROZD RUS 91.91 45.10 46.81 7.68 7.64 7.89 7.86 7.93 0.00 #18
2 Marie-Jade LAURIAULT / Romain LE GAC FRA 84.85 41.81 43.04 7.14 6.93 7.18 7.25 7.36 0.00 #19
3 Julia BIECHLER / Damian DODGE USA 82.73 38.66 44.07 7.36 7.18 7.39 7.36 7.43 0.00 #20
4 Elliana POGREBINSKY / Alex BENOIT USA 81.55 37.84 43.71 7.21 7.04 7.32 7.36 7.50 0.00 #17
5 Sofia EVDOKIMOVA / Egor BAZIN RUS 81.05 37.83 43.22 7.25 7.04 7.18 7.25 7.29 0.00 #21
6 Haley SALES / Nikolas WAMSTEEKER CAN 75.11 36.51 38.60 6.50 6.21 6.46 6.50 6.50 0.00 #13
7 Nicole KUZMICH / Alexandr SINICYN CZE 74.96 35.47 39.49 6.39 6.29 6.75 6.68 6.79 0.00 #12
8 Ashlynne STAIRS / Lee ROYER CAN 69.03 31.88 37.15 6.25 6.00 6.29 6.21 6.21 0.00 #15
9 Guoste DAMULEVICIUTE / Deividas KIZALA LTU 65.76 31.89 33.87 5.61 5.43 5.68 5.71 5.79 0.00 #16
10 Rikako FUKASE / Aru TATENO JPN 62.57 31.97 30.60 5.14 4.86 5.21 5.25 5.04 0.00 #11
11 Darya POPOVA / Volodymyr NAKISKO UKR 61.87 31.22 30.65 5.25 4.86 5.14 5.18 5.11 0.00 #9
12 Olga GIGLAVA / Aleksandr SIROSHTAN UKR 61.60 31.04 30.56 5.25 4.93 5.14 5.14 5.00 0.00 #10
13 Emilia KALEHANAVA / Uladzislau PALKHOUSKI BLR 61.01 27.44 33.57 5.54 5.43 5.57 5.79 5.64 0.00 #14
14 Julia WAGRET / Mathieu COUYRAS FRA 59.71 30.10 29.61 5.04 4.82 4.89 5.07 4.86 0.00 #8
15 Hannah Grace COOK / Temirlan YERZHANOV KAZ 58.73 29.97 28.76 4.86 4.54 4.86 4.89 4.82 0.00 #4
16 Valentina SCHÄR / Carlo RÖTHLISBERGER SUI 57.82 30.42 28.40 4.82 4.57 4.71 4.89 4.68 1.00 #6
17 Polina GORLOV / Eduard VISHNJAKOV GER 54.04 28.39 27.65 4.82 4.43 4.61 4.64 4.54 2.00 #2
18 Francesca RIGHI / Pietro PAPETTI ITA 53.33 25.86 27.47 4.64 4.36 4.68 4.82 4.39 0.00 #5
19 Hanna JAKUCS / Daniel ILLES HUN 50.94 25.36 25.58 4.39 4.11 4.25 4.50 4.07 0.00 #1
20 Mina SVAJGER / Michael CHRASTECKY SLO 44.91 21.04 23.87 3.96 3.75 4.00 4.18 4.00 0.00 #3
WD Xibei LI / Guangyao XIANG CHN #7

 

Total

FPl. Name Nation Points SD FD
1 Alla LOBODA / Pavel DROZD
RUS
153.64 1 1
2 Marie-Jade LAURIAULT / Romain LE GAC
FRA
144.35 3 2
3 Julia BIECHLER / Damian DODGE
USA
142.32 2 3
4 Elliana POGREBINSKY / Alex BENOIT
USA
140.11 4 4
5 Sofia EVDOKIMOVA / Egor BAZIN
RUS
137.60 5 5
6 Haley SALES / Nikolas WAMSTEEKER
CAN
122.87 6 6
7 Nicole KUZMICH / Alexandr SINICYN
CZE
116.30 10 7
8 Ashlynne STAIRS / Lee ROYER
CAN
116.03 7 8
9 Guoste DAMULEVICIUTE / Deividas KIZALA
LTU
109.49 8 9
10 Emilia KALEHANAVA / Uladzislau PALKHOUSKI
BLR
104.04 9 13
11 Rikako FUKASE / Aru TATENO
JPN
103.60 11 10
12 Olga GIGLAVA / Aleksandr SIROSHTAN
UKR
102.15 12 12
13 Darya POPOVA / Volodymyr NAKISKO
UKR
102.08 13 11
14 Julia WAGRET / Mathieu COUYRAS
FRA
99.76 14 14
15 Hannah Grace COOK / Temirlan YERZHANOV
KAZ
96.52 19 15
16 Valentina SCHÄR / Carlo RÖTHLISBERGER
SUI
95.91 17 16
17 Francesca RIGHI / Pietro PAPETTI
ITA
93.30 15 18
18 Polina GORLOV / Eduard VISHNJAKOV
GER
90.53 20 17
19 Hanna JAKUCS / Daniel ILLES
HUN
88.84 18 19
20 Mina SVAJGER / Michael CHRASTECKY
SLO
76.07 21 20
WD Xibei LI / Guangyao XIANG
CHN
16

2015 JGP Austria Dance Preview

Loboda and Drozd started their season with a silver medal at JGP Slovakia where they set personal bests in all segments of the competition.  They only received Level 2s on their steps and spin in their free dance so they have lots of room to improve.  They did receive positive GOEs on all their elements, racking up nearly 9 points.  They can guarantee their spot in the Final with a gold medal while a silver will keep them in the running.

Evdokimova and Bazin won the bronze at JGP Latvia where they set personal bests in the short dance and total score.  They also only received Level 2s on the steps in their free dance and received a deduction for an extended lift.  They also received all positive GOEs, but only earned 5 points.  They need a gold medal to contend for the Final.

Biechler and Dodge started their season with a 5th place finish at JGP Slovakia.  Their free dance was the stronger of the two programs but they received Level 1s on their step sequences.  Kuzmich and Sinicyn placed 7th at the same event.

Pogrebinsky and Benoit are making their season debut here.  Their highest finish was 5th last year, in their first season together as a team.  They train under Igor Shpilband and were impressive enough in a deep US Junior Dance field to break through the ranks and claim a spot on the podium.

 

My podium predictions:

Gold: Loboda/Drozd

Silver: Evdokimova/Bazin

Bronze: Pogrebinsky/Benoit

 

Bios of the competitors:

Kalehanava/Palkhouski, BLR: They finished 13th at JGP Slovenia and 12th at JGP Croatia last season.  Their personal best is 92.00.  She is 14 and he is 17.

Sales/Wamsteeker, CAN: This is their JGP debut.  She is 18 and he is 18.

Stairs/Royer, CAN: This is their JGP debut.  She is 15 and he is 17.

Li/Xiang, CHN: They finished 9th at JGP Latvia.  Their personal best is 101.13.  She is 16 and he is 20.

Kuzmich/Sinicyn, CZE: They finished 22nd at Junior Worlds.  They placed 7th at JGP Slovakia.  Their personal best is 122.82.  She is 17 and he is 19.

Lauriault/Le Gac, FRA: This is their JGP debut.  She is 18 and he is 20.

Wagret/Couyras, FRA: They placed 10th at JGP France last season.  Their personal best is 88.58.  She is 16 and he is 16.

Gorlov/Vishnjakov, GER: They placed 16th at JGP Germany last season.  Their personal best is 85.85.  She is 15 and he is 20.

Jakucs/Illes, HUN: They placed 17th at JGP Czech Republic last season.  Their personal best is 74.61.  She is 15 and he is 19.

Righi/Papetti, ITA: This is their JGP debut.  She is 15 and he is 15.

Fukase/Tateno, JPN: This is their international debut.  She is 18 and he is 18.

Cook/Yerzhanov, KAZ: This is their JGP debut.  She is 18 and he is 19.

Damuleviciute/Kizala, LTU: They finished 24th at Junior Worlds.  They placed 14th at JGP Slovakia.  Their personal best is 86.62.  She is 16 and he is 17.

Evdokimova/Bazin, RUS: They finished 10th at Junior Worlds.  They placed 3rd at JGP Latvia.  Their personal best is 132.57.  She is 18 and he is 19.

Loboda/Drozd, RUS: They won silver at JGP Slovakia.  Their personal best is 147.38.  She is 16 and he is 19.

Svajger/Chrastecky, SLO: This is their international debut.  She is 15 and he is 16.

Schar/Rothlisberger, SUI: They placed 27th at Junior Worlds.  This is their JGP debut.  She is 16 and he is 21.

Giglava/Siroshtan, UKR: They placed 12th at JGP Slovakia.  Their personal best is 97.24.  She is 15 and he is 17.

Popova/Nakisko, UKR:

Biechler/Dodge, USA: They finished 5th at JGP Slovakia.  Their personal best is 129.00.  She is 17 and he is 21.

Pogrebinsky/Benoit, USA: They placed 13th at Junior Worlds.  They finished 5th at JGP Japan and 8th at JGP Croatia last season.  Their personal best is 120.10.  She is 17 and he is 19.

JGP Slovakia Dance Preview

The Parsons are the highest ranking team returning to this event, after finish 4th at Junior Worlds last season where they set a personal best score.  This will be their 5th season on the JGP circuit.  They have won medals at their last 5 consecutive JGP events and qualified for the Final once.  However, they have never won a gold medal on the Junior Grand Prix.

The Parsons will not have an easy path to the top of the podium, however, with Russia’s Loboda and Drozd at the event.  This will be their third season on the JGP, and they have never missed a podium. They won JGP France last season en route to the Junior Grand Prix Final where they won the silver medal.  However, they finished 4th at Russian nationals and did not receive a spot on the Junior Worlds team.

The Canadian team of Croteau-Villeneuve and Hough had a respectable debut last year in their first season together.  This is their last season of Junior eligibility so they’ll be looking to make the most out of this season to set themselves up for the transition to a very difficult senior Canadian field.

Biechler and Dodge are a solid team but haven’t seen much change in their ranking nationally.  Many of the top US Junior teams are so young that they have been competing at the junior level for years and not many are making the transition to seniors, leaving little room for movement.  They had a nice debut on the Junior Grand Prix last season but this is also their last season of junior eligibility.

 

My podium predictions: 

Gold: Parsons/Parsons

Silver: Loboda/Drozd

Bronze: Croteau-Veilleneuve/Hough

 

Bios of the competitors:

Tkacheva/Davidovich, BLR: This is their JGP debut.  She is 15 and he is 18.

Boxhilova/Georgiev, BUL: This is their international debut.  She is 15 and he is 18.

Croteau-Villeneuve/Hough, CAN: They finished 7th at JGP Estonia and 6th at JGP Croatia last season.  Their personal best is 122.54.  She is 18 and he is 19.

Taillefer/Chan, CAN: They finished 9th at JGP Slovenia last season.  Their personal best is 94.82.  She is 16 and he is 19.

Kuzmich/Sinicyn, CZE: They finished 22nd at Junior Worlds.  They placed 9th at JGP Germany and 9th at JGP Croatia last season.  Their personal best is 106.21.  She is 17 and he is 19.

Galayavieva/Abecassis, FRA: This is their JGP debut.  She is 18 and he is 19.

Wei/Fourati, HUN: This is their international debut.  She is 17 and he is 16.

Damuleviciute/Kizala, LTU: They finished 24th at Junior Worlds.  Their personal best is 37.10.  She is 16 and he is 17.

Lee/Kam, KOR: They finished 19th at Junior Worlds.  Their personal best is 101.92.  She is 18 and he is 18.

Loboda/Drozd, RUS: They won gold at JGP France and silver at JGP Japan last season to qualify for the Junior Grand Prix Final where they won silver.  Their personal best is 136.31.  She is 16 and he is 19.

Shevchenkova/Eremenko, RUS: This is their international debut.  She is 13 and he is 18.

Giglava/Siroshtan, UKR: This is their JGP debut.  She is 14 and he is 17.

Golubtsova/Belobrov, UKR: They finished 10th at JGP Japan last season.  Their personal best is 84.22.  She is 14 and he is 14.

Biechler/Dodge, USA: They finished 5th at JGP Slovenia and 6th at JGP Germany last season.  Their personal best is 119.62.  She is 16 and he is 20.

Parsons/Parsons, USA: They finished 4th at Junior Worlds.  They won bronze at JGP Japan and silver at JGP Croatia.  Their personal best is 140.94.  She is 17 and he is 19.

2015 US Nationals Junior Dance Preview

This is one of the strongest groups at nationals.  Nine of the teams have been to nationals together before and eight competed on the Junior Grand Prix this season (winning five medals).  As a group, these teams have won 19 national medals.  The novice 1st, 4th and 5th place finishers from last season are competing at this event along with the junior 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th and 10th place finishers.  With three of last seasons junior medal winners competing, there isn’t going to be much room on the podium for the other teams in the field.

Several of these teams train with the best coaches in the business from the Wheaton Ice Skating Academy to the Detroit Skating Club and Igor Shpilband’s rink in Novi, Michigan.  The Michigan skaters also benefit from training alongside top senior national and international skaters.

The Parsons won a silver and bronze medal on the Junior Grand Prix this season.  They consistently achieved Level 3s and 4s on all of their elements in the short dance and even gained 6 points from GOE at sectionals with 7.35-7.70 on their program components.  Their free dance also consistently had Level 3 and 4 elements with 7 points gained from GOE and program components ranging from 7.5-7.85.  Their short dance this season is the stronger of the two programs and they could find themselves in the lead after this segment.  They are competing at an international event ending today (January 9th) and will have 11 days to recover before they have to compete again.

McNamara and Carpenter are by far the veterans of this event, competing for the 5th year as juniors.  They’ve stood on the podium each of the last three years and will be trying to win their first title.  Their short dance has been the weaker of their two programs this season, gaining some Level 1s and 2s on their elements, even at sectionals.  However, they did receive 6 points from GOE and 7.25-7.55 on their program components.  In the free skate, they received all Level 3s and 4s with 9 points earned from GOE and program components ranging from 7.45-8.00.  They are also competing internationally this week with the Parsons and will have a quick turnaround time.

These two teams have nearly identical scores internationally and nationally, with the Parsons having the higher international scores and McNamara/Carpenter having the higher national scores.  However, the only two times they have gone head to head, at sectionals and the Nestle Cup, McNamara and Carpenter have come out ahead.  These two teams train together and know exactly what the other can do.  They have very evenly matched and it is likely to be extremely close between the two.

Carreira and Ponomarenko are a new team this season and impressed enough in summer competitions to earn a spot on the Junior Grand Prix.  They did very well and currently hold the 10th best short dance score internationally.  At JGP Estonia, they received almost all Level 3s and 4s in their short dance, however, they did not fare as well at JGP Czech Republic and sectionals, with only Level 1 and 2 on the silver samba.  At sectionals, they had 6.25-6.69 on their program components.  For the free dance, they had Level 4 on most of their elements at sectionals, but their step sequences only received Level 2s.  This was the same at one of their JGP assignments, while the other they did receive one Level 3.  The step sequences are one of the most important facets of ice dance, and they’ll need to bring these levels up if they want to compete with the best internationally.  They earned 5 points on their GOE at sectionals, consistent with their JGP performances and their sectional program components ranged from 6.50-7.06.  They are new to the nationals scene but are definitely a dark horse contender for the podium.

Moore and Klaber have spent the last two seasons in 4th place at nationals and will be looking to move up the podium and earn their first spot on the Junior Worlds team.  While most of these teams are fairly young and still have several years of international junior eligibility left, both of them will age out after this season, so this is their last chance.  Their sectionals performance was significantly weaker than their international outings, with lower levels and program components.  Typically, national level events are scored higher than internationals, so sectionals can be chalked up to a bad performance.  Their short dance levels have not been optimal this season with Level 2s on the samba and midline step sequence at sectionals and Level 1 on their twizzles and midline step sequence at JGP Slovenia and several Level 1 and 2s at JGP Estonia.  However, they did receive 6.30-6.75 on their program components internationally, higher than their 5.85-6.10 at sectionals and they even received 7 points from GOE at JGP Estonia.  For their free skate, They achieved Level 4 on their twizzles, lift and spin but their steps and second lift ranged from Level 2-Level 3.  They did receive anywhere from 6-7 points on GOE.  At sectionals they had a fall which likely contributed to their lower program components of 5.90-6.45 while their international scores were 6.65-7.25.

Lewis and Bye have solid levels on their short dance with Level 3 on everything except for the midline step sequence.  Their program components ranged from 6.19-6.56.  Their free dance at sectionals had Level 4 twizzles and lifts, one Level 3 step sequence, one Level 2 step sequence and a Level 2 spin.  They did receive 7 points from GOE and their program components were better ranging from 6.75-7.25.

Biechler and Dodge had a good free dance at sectionals but will need to get their short dance levels up.  They received a Level 1 on their step sequence in addition to both sections of the silver samba.  Their program components also ranged from 5.95-6.10.  For their free dance they had a Level 4 on their spin, lift and twizzles while their steps were rated Level 2 and Level 3.  They earned 6 points from GOE and their program components ranged from 6.10-6.60.

Pogrebinsky and Benoit are another new team competing for the first time together at nationals.  They also impressed enough in summer competitions to earn a spot on the Junior Grand Prix, but didn’t have the strongest results there.  However, their sectionals performance was very strong, and they even finished ahead of Moore and Klaber.  At sectionals, their short dance had a Level 3 and 4 on everything with program components ranging from 5.45-5.70.  At JGP Japan, they had similar program components, however they received Level 1s and 2s on several of their elements.  For their free dance, they received a Level 4 on their twizzles, lifts and spin at sectionals along with a Level 3 on their step sequences.  They earned 7 points from GOE and had program components from 6.10-6.45.  This was a significant improvement over JGP Japan which had three elements at Level 1 or 2, including both step sequences.  She finished just off the podium twice with her former partner and they definitely have a shot at making the podium here in their first trip as a team.

Day and Leahy had a very strong sectionals performance after lower results on the JGP.  For their short dance at sectionals, they received a Level 2 on their twizzles, step sequence and samba with program components ranging from 6.06-6.19.  However, their free dance had Level 4 lifts, twizzles and spins with a Level 3 and a Level 2 on the step sequences.  They earned 7 points from GOE and their program components ranged from 6.75-7.06.

Also of note are the Becker siblings.  They are the current novice champions and are moving up to the junior level for the first time.  Their younger sister will be competing as a novice at this nationals as well.  They were not old enough to compete internationally this season, but she will be old enough to compete next year.  If they finish high enough to earn a spot in the international selection pool, they will be on the Junior Grand Prix next season.

 

My podium predictions:

Gold: McNamara/Carpenter

Silver: Parsons/Parsons

Bronze: Moore/Klaber

Pewter: Pogrebinsky/Benoit

 

Bios of the competitors:

Becker/Becker: She is 12 and and he is 14 and they represent the Washington Figure Skating Club.  They are the reigning Novice Champions, 2013 Novice Pewter Medalists, 2012 Intermediate Champions and 2011 Juvenile Silver Medalists.  They won pewter at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 10th best short dance, 10th best free dance and 10th best total scores.

Biechler/Dodge: She is 16 and represents the Skating Club of Wilmington and he is 19 and represents the Peninsula Skating Club.  They finished 5th at JGP Slovenia and 6th at JGP Germany.  They placed 7th as juniors last season and 9th as juniors in 2013.  They won bronze at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  Nationally, they have the 8th best short dance, 7th best free dance and 7th best total scores.

Carreira/Ponomarenko: She represents the Skating Club of New York and he is 14 and represents the Skating Club of San Francisco.  They placed 5th at JGP Czech Republic and 4th at JGP Estonia.  They won bronze at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 10th best short dance score internationally.  Nationally, they have the 7th best short dance, 6th best free dance and 6th best total scores.

Day/Leahy: She is 18 and he is 17 and they represent the All Year Figure Skating Club.  They finished 10th as juniors last season.  They placed 8th at JGP France.  They won silver at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  Nationally, they have the 6th best short dance, 3rd best free dance and 5th best total scores.

Lewis/Bye: She is 14 and represents the All Year Figure Skating Club and he is 16 and represents the Skating Club of New York.  They placed 5th at JGP France.  They finished 6th as juniors last season, are the 2013 Novice Champions, 2012 Novice Pewter Medalists and finished 6th in Intermediate in 2011.  They won gold at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  Nationally, they have the 4th best short dance, 5th best free dance and 4th best total scores.

Manta/Johnson: She represents the Coyotes Skating Club of Arizona and he is 20 and represents the Broadmoor Skating Club.  They won bronze at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.   Nationally, they have the 9th best free dance and 9th best total scores.

McNamara/Carpenter: She is 15 and represents the Peninsula Skating Club and he is 18 and  represents the Washington Figure Skating Club.  They placed 4th at Junior Worlds.  They won bronze at JGP Czech Republic and silver at JGP Germany.  They are the reigning Junior Silver Medalists, 2013 Junior Bronze Medalists, 2012 Junior Bronze Medalists, finished 9th in Junior in 2011, 6th in Novice in 2010, are the 2009 Intermediate Pewter Medalists and 2008 Juvenile Pewter Medalists.  They won gold at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 5th best short dance, 5th best free dance and 5th best total scores internationally.  Nationally, they have the 2nd best short dance, best free dance and best total scores.

Moore/Klaber: She is 19 and he is 20 and they represent the Detroit Skating Club.  They won bronze at JGP Slovenia and placed 6th at JGP Estonia.  They are the reigning Junior Pewter Medalists, 2013 Junior Pewter Medalists, 2012 Novice Champions, finished 8th in Novice in 2011, are the 2010 Intermediate Silver Medalists, finished 5th in juvenile in 2009 and 8th in juvenile in 2008.  They won silver at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  Nationally, they have the 5th best short dance, 8th best free dance and 8th best total scores.

Parsons/Parsons: She is 17 and he is 19 and they represent the Washington Figure Skating Club.  They placed 8th at Junior Worlds last season.  They won bronze at JGP Japan and silver at JGP Croatia.  They are the reigning Junior Bronze Medalists, 2012 Junior Pewter Medalists and 2011 Novice Champions.  They won silver at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 4th best short dance, 4th best free dance and 4th best total scores internationally.  Nationally, they have the best short dance, 2nd best free dance and 2nd best total scores.

Pascoe/Jaffe: She is 18 and represents the All Year Figure Skating Club and he is 18 and represents the Pavilion Skating Club of Cleveland Heights.  They finished 5th as novices last season.  They won pewter at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.

Pogrebinsky/Benoit: She is 16 represents the Peninsula Skating Club and he is 19 and represents the Skokie Valley Skating Club.  They placed 5th at JGP Japan and 8th at JGP Croatia.  They won gold at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  Nationally, they have the 3rd best short dance, 4th best free dance and 3rd best total scores.

Thomas/Martin: She is 15 and he is 18 and they represent the Detroit Skating Club.  They are the reigning Novice Pewter Medalists.  They won pewter at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.