2016 US Nationals Senior Pairs Preview

As a group, these teams have won 14 nationals medals.  Scimeca and Knierim took home two medals from the Grand Prix.  This group earned seven medals on the Challenger and Senior B circuit combined.  The gold, bronze and pewter medalists are returning along with the 5th, 6th, 10th and 12th place finishers.  The junior gold and silver medalists along with the 7th place finishers are moving up to compete as seniors.  The short program will  be held on Thursday, January 21st with the free skate on Saturday, January 23rd.

To be competitive internationally, these teams will need at least one quad, either a twist or a throw.

Scimeca and Knierim were the only US team to medal on the Grand Prix this season, and they won medals at both of their assignments.  Their short program includes a triple twist, side by side triple salchows, and throw triple flip.  They received higher levels at Skate America, earning Level 4 on their death spiral, lift, step sequence and spin with a Level 3 on their twist.  They earned 5 points from GOE at that event.  Their best program components came at NHK Trophy where they earned 7.61-7.89.  Their free skate includes a quad twist, side by side triple salchow (fall at Skate America), throw triple salchow, triple toe (intended combo missed at both events, fall at Skate America) and throw triple flip.  They received a Level 4 on their lifts and side by side spin at Skate America with a Level 3 on their death spiral and pairs spin.  They had fairly similar program components between events, earning 7.64-8.00 at Skate America.

Kayne and O’Shea earned two Grand Prix assignments this season.  Their short program includes a triple twist and a side by side triple salchow.  They landed a throw triple flip at Skate America and a throw triple lutz at Rostelecom Cup.  They had better levels at Skate America, where they earned Level 4 on their spin and lift with a Level 3 on the step sequence.  Their best program components came at Rostelecom Cup where they earned 7.04-7.29.  Their free skate includes a triple twist, side by side triple salchow (under-rotated at fall at Skate America), triple salchow throw (attempted quad at Skate America was under-rotated and fall), side by side double axel + double axel and a throw triple lutz.  They had better levels at Rostelecom Cup where they received Level 4 on their lifts, death spiral and spins.  They also earned better program components there, ranging from 7.21-7.43.

Castelli and Tran only had one full Grand Prix event this season, competing at Skate Canada and Trophee Eric Bompard.  Their short program includes a triple twist, side by side triple salchow and throw triple salchow.  They earned Level 4 on their lift, spin and death spiral with a Level 3 on their step sequence.  Their program components ranged from 6.89-7.11.  Their free skate includes a triple twist, side by side double salchow (likely triple), throw triple salchow, side by side triple toe (under-rotated and missed combo) and double axel throw.  She is capable of landing throw quad salchows and throw triple axels so these throw jumps are likely place holders for upgrades, although they may not be for this season.  They earned Level 4 on their lifts, pair spin and death spiral with a Level 3 on their side by side spin.  Their program components ranged from 7.04-7.32.

Calalang and Sidhu earned one Grand Prix assignment to the NHK Trophy.  Their short program includes a side by side triple salchow (under-rotated and fall), triple twist and triple lutz throw.  They earned a Level 4 on their lift with a Level 3 on their spin and steps.  They earned program components ranging from 6.36-6.64.  Their free skate includes a side by side double axel + double toe (under-rotated), triple twist, side by side single salchow (likely intended triple), throw triple salchow and throw triple flip (fall).  They received Level 4 on two of their lifts with a Level 3 on their death spiral and third lift.  Their program components ranged from 6.04-6.43.

Pfund and Santillan have made a big splash on the international scene in just their first season together, earning an assignment to Skate America.  Their short program includes a side by side triple salchow, throw triple loop (fall at Eastern Sectionals) and a double twist.  They earned Level 4 on their lift with a Level 3 on their spin and step sequence at sectionals.  Their best program components came at Skate America where they earned 5.54-5.96.  Their free skate includes a side by side triple salchow + double axel sequence (fall and missed combo at sectionals), double twist, side by side triple toe (fall at sectionals), throw triple loop, and throw triple salchow.  They earned Level 4 on two of their lifts and the pair spin at sectionals with Level 3 on their death spiral and side by side spin.  Their best program components came at Skate America, where they earned 5.82-6.32.

Aaron and Settlage missed the first half of the season due to injury but were able to compete at the Tallinn Trophy.  Their short program includes a triple twist, side by side triple salchow (under-rotated) and a throw triple salchow.  They earned Level 4 on their spin and Level 3 on their step sequence.  They received a 2 pt deduction for illegal elements.  Their program components ranged from 6.25-6.70.  Their free skate includes a triple twist, side by side triple salchow (under-rotated and fall), throw triple loop, single axel (intended double axel + double axel sequence), and a throw triple salchow.  They earned Level 4 on one lift and their pair spin and Level 3 on another lift and their side by side spin.  Their program components ranged from 6.05-6.50.

 

My podium predictions:

Gold: Scimeca/Knierim

Silver: Kayne/O’Shea

Bronze: Castelli/Tran

Pewter: Calalang/Sidhu

 

Bios of the competitors:

Aaron/Settlage: She is 21 and represents the Coyotes Skating Club of Arizona and he is 23 and represents the Broadmoor Skating Club.  They placed 5th at the Tallinn Trophy.  They are the reigning Pewter Medalists, 2014 Junior Champions, 2013 Junior Bronze Medalists, finished 6th as juniors in 2012 and are the 2011 Novice Champions.

Calalang/Sidhu: She is 20 and represents the DuPage Figure Skating Club and he is 24 and represents the Las Vegas Figure Skating Club.  They finished 7th at NHK Trophy.  They placed 4th at Ice Challenge.  They finished 5th last season, 11th in 2014, are the 2013 Junior Silver Medalists, 2012 Junior Pewter Medalists and finished 8th in juniors in 2011.

Castelli/Tran: She is 25 and he is 25 and they represent the Skating Club of Boston.  They placed 4th at Skate Canada and 6th at Trophee Eric Bompard.  They won silver at the US International Classic, silver at the Autumn Classic International and placed 5th at the Golden Spin of Zagreb.  They finished 6th last season.

De la Mora/Kurdukov: She is 16 and he is 25 and they represent the Texas Gulf Coast Figure Skating Club.  They won silver at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.

Fields/Stevens: She is 20 and he is 22 and they represent the Indiana World Figure Skating Academy Figure Skating Club.  They finished 5th at Junior Worlds last season.  They placed 8th at Golden Spin of Zagreb.  They are the reigning Junior Champions.  They won gold at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.

Fujimoto/Barsi-Rhyne: She is 24 and represents the Peninsula Skating Club and he is 24 and represents the Southwest Florida Figure Skating Club.  They placed 12th last season, 8th as juniors in 2014, 8th in juniors in 2013, 11th in juniors in 2012, 7th in novice in 2009, 12th in novice in 2008, 5th in intermediate in 2007, are the 2006 Juvenile Pewter Medalists, finished 7th in juvenile in 2005 and 11th in juvenile in 2004.

Kayne/O’Shea: She is 22 and he is 24 and they represent the Southwest Florida Figure Skating Club.  They placed 8th at Four Continents last season.  They placed 6th at Skate America and 4th at Rostelecom Cup.  They won gold at the US International Classic and bronze at the Golden Spin of Zagreb.  They are the 2014 Four Continents Silver Medalists.  They are the reigning Bronze Medalists, placed 6th in 2014 and 7th in 2013.

Liu/Johnson: She is 16 and represents the St. Paul Figure Skating Club and he is 20 and represents the Detroit Skating Club.  They finished 7th at Junior Worlds last season.  They placed 8th at JGP Austria and 5th at JGP Poland.  They are the reigning Junior Silver Medalists.

McDougal/Schatz: She is 17 and represents the Birmingham Figure Skating Club and he is 24 and represents the Southwest Florida Figure Skating Club.  They finished 7th as juniors last season, 10th as juniors in 2014.  They won bronze at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.

Pfund/Santillan:  She is 18 and represents the Southwest Florida Figure Skating Club and he is 23 and represents the All Year Figure Skating Club.  They placed 8th at Skate America.  They won bronze at the Autumn Classic International.  They won gold at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.

Scimeca/Knierim: She is 24 and represents the DuPage Figure Skating Club and he is 28 and represents the Broadmoor Skating Club.  They placed 7th at Worlds and 5th at Four Continents last season.  They won silver at Skate America and bronze at NHK Trophy.  They won silver at Nebelhorn Trophy and gold at Ice Challenge.  They are the 2014 Four Continents Bronze Medalists.  They are the reigning Champions, 2014 Pewter Medalists and 2013 Silver Medalists.  Internationally, they have the 10th best short program score.

Shaughnessy/Morgan: She is 23 and he is 24 and they represent the Skating Club of Boston.  They placed 10th last season, 12th in 2014, 10th as juniors in 2013, are the 2012 Novice Bronze Medalists and finished 5th in novice in 2011.  They won silver at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.

Smith/Reiss: She represents the Skating Club of New York and he is 23 and represents the Los Angeles Figure Skating Club.

Usmantseva/Silecky: She represents the Los Angeles Figure Skating Club and he represents the Skating Club of New York.

2015 US Nationals Senior Pairs Preview

After the Olympics, there were a ton of splits and retirements in the pairs field.  Nine of these teams have competed at nationals together before and the rest are new pairings.  The nine teams have collectively won 12 national medals.  Five teams competed on the Grand Prix last season with one winning a medal.  The podium is wide open with only the 4th-6th, 11th and 12th place finishers from seniors returning along with the junior 1st, 5th, 6th and 8th place teams.

To be competitive on the international level, they will need to have high level lifts with solid side by side jumps and throws.  The quad is becoming more important, whether it is a throw or a twist.

Scimeca and Knierim have declared themselves the front runner at nationals and are ready to win their first national title.  After taking home the silver medal in 2013, they were disappointed to not make the Olympic team last season.  They have great chemistry on the ice, due in part to their off ice relationship.  They’re known for their high flying triple twist and will be going for the quad twist for the first time in competition at nationals.  They showed great improvement between Skate America and Trophee Eric Bompard.  They have a solo triple salchow and double axel + double toe in their free skate in addition to a throw triple loop and a throw triple flip.  They received 4 on almost all of their elements at Trophee Eric Bompard, with only the death spiral receiving a Level 3.  At Trophee Eric Bompard, they earned 6 points from GOE and improved their program components to 7.11-7.43. For the short program they have a throw triple flip and a solo triple salchow.  They consistently earned Level 3s and 4s on all of their elements and earned the same program components at both events: ranging from 6.96-7.36.  They’ve nearly maxed out their levels, and will need to bring up their GOE and program components to move up internationally.

Denney and Frazier upgraded their coaching staff over the summer, landing Ingo Steuer in addition to their regular team.  After finishing 5th at nationals each of the last two seasons, they seem ready to make a run at the title this season.  They are the only team in the field to win a medal on the Grand Prix this season and their Lion King free skate is excellently done.  When skated cleanly, the elements are put together with the music in just the right way to evoke an emotional response to their program.  Their free skate features a throw triple salchow and throw triple loop along with solo triple salchows and a double axel + double axel sequence.  They receive mostly Level 3 and Level 4 elements.  At Skate America they earned an impressive 9 points from GOE, while they earned 5 at Rostelecom Cup.  Despite skating a stronger program at Skate America, their program components were higher at Rostelecom Cup, earning them between 7.04 and 7.29.  Their short program has a solo triple salchow and a throw triple loop.  They earned higher program component marks at Rostelecom Cup with 6.57-7.00.  At Rostelecom Cup they had problems with the solo jumps in both of their programs.

Kayne and O’Shea finished just 6th at nationals last season but impressed with their short program.  They went on to win the silver medal at Four Continents ahead of Scimeca and Knierim.  They were supposed to make their Grand Prix debut this season, but she was recovering from hip surgery.  They were able to compete at a Challenger Series event in December, where they won the bronze medal.  In the free skate they have a triple salchow and double axel + double axel sequence (although the salchow was doubled).  They also have a throw triple loop and triple salchow.  They received Level 3s and 4s on their death spiral, spins and lifts and earned 5 points from GOE.  Their program components ranged from 6.70 to 7.15.  In their short program, they have a solo triple salchow and a throw triple loop.  Their program components were lower in the 6.20-6.55 range.

Calalang and Sidhu finished 11th at nationals last season but were able to make their Grand Prix debut this season.  With two solid finishes on the Grand Prix and two medals on the Challenger Series circuit, they should be able to make a big jump in the standings this year.  They have a triple salchow and double axel + double toe in their free skate.  They have a throw triple salchow, however, it was singled at Cup of China and after factoring in the deduction for the fall and the GOE, they earned negative points for the element.  At Cup of China, they landed a throw triple lutz, while they did a throw triple flip at Rostelecom Cup.  At both events, they had Level 3 and 4 lifts and spins.  These two events were only a week apart, but they saw a big jump in their program components, earning 6.43-6.86 at Rostelecom Cup.  For the short program, they have a solo triple salchow, which was under-rotated at both events, and a throw triple lutz.  Their program components were higher at Cup of China, ranging from 6.39-6.82.

Aaron and Settlage won the junior title last season.  They have a very balletic style and presence on the ice.  They made their Grand Prix debut this season and had two strong finishes, just missing the podium.  Their free skate features a throw triple loop and throw triple salchow in addition to solo triple salchows and a double axel + double axel sequence.  At Skate Canada, both of their solo jumps were under-rotated.  At Skate America, they had lots of Level 1s on their elements, but by Skate Canada a week later, They received Level 3 and 4 on everything but their death spiral and twist.  In just a week, they showed significant growth in their program components, earning 7.00-7.21 at Skate Canada.  For their short program, they have a throw triple loop and solo triple salchows.  Their program components ranged from 6.36-6.75.

Castelli and Tran are making their national debut as a team.  She is capable of landing throw quads and has two national titles under her belt while he is a former world medalist.  New partnerships can take time to solidify but these two have the pedigree to be a great team.  They showed promise at sectionals, but still have some work to do if they want to challenge for a national title.  At Eastern Sectionals, their fee skate featured a double twist (the other top teams all have triples).  They also had solo triple toes + double toes and a triple salchows, although the salchow was judged under-rotated and the combo was downgraded.  They went for a throw double lutz and throw triple salchow (the other top teams have two throw triples).  They did have Level 3 or 4 on everything except for their death spiral but lost points on GOE.  Their program components ranged from 6.50-7.00.  Their short program has a triple twist, triple salchows and a throw triple saclhow.  They also lost points from GOE in their short program with program components from 6.50-7.06.

My podium predictions:

Gold: Denney/Frazier

Silver: Scimeca/Knierim

Bronze: Aaron/Settlage

Pewter: Kayne/O’Shea

 

Bios of the competitors:

Aaron/Settlage: 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 Junior Worlds last season.  They placed 5th at Skate America and 4th at Skate Canada.  They won bronze at the US International Figure Skating Classic and placed 6th at Nebelhorn Trophy.  They are the reigning Junior Champions, 2013 Junior Bronze Medalists, finished 6th as juniors in 2012 and are the 2011 Novice Champions.

Calalang/Sidhu: She is 18 and represents the DuPage Figure Skating Club and he is 22 and represents the Las Vegas Figure Skating Club.  They finished 7th at Cup of China and 5th at Rostelecom Cup.  They won silver at the US International Figure Skating Classic and bronze at the Skate Canada Autumn Classic.  They finished 11th last season, are the 2013 Junior Silver Medalists, 2012 Junior Pewter Medalists and finished 8th in juniors in 2011.

Castelli/Tran: She is 24 and he is 24 and they represent the Skating Club of Boston.  They won gold at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.

Davidovich/Reiss: She is an individual member and he is 22 and represents the Los Angeles Skating Club.  They won gold at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.

De la Mora/Wilson: She is 15 and he is 23 and they represent the Texas Gulf Coast Figure Skating Club.  They finished 5th as juniors last season, 5th in juniors in 2013, 8th as juniors in 2012, 6th as novices in 2011 and are the 2010 Intermediate Champions.  They won silver at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.

Denney/Frazier: She is 19 and represents the Broadmoor Skating Club and he is 22 and represents the All Year Figure Skating Club.  They finished 4th at Four Continents last season.  They won silver at Skate America and placed 4th at Rostelecom Cup.  They won gold at Lombardia Trophy and silver at the Skate Canada Autumn Classic.  They are the 2013 World Junior Champions.  They finished 5th last season, 5th in 2013, are the 2012 Junior Champions and 2008 Intermediate Bronze Medalists.  They have the 9th best short program, 8th best free skate and 8th best total score internationally.

Donlan/Bartholomay: She is 21 and represents the Skating Club of Boston and he is 25 and represents the Southwest Florida Figure Skating Club.

Fujimoto/Barsi-Rhyne: She is 23 and represents the Peninsula Skating Club and he is 23 and represents the Skating Club of Lake Placid.  They placed 8th as juniors last season, 8th in juniors in 2013, 11th in juniors in 2012, 7th in novice in 2009, 12th in novice in 2008, 5th in intermediate in 2007, are the 2006 Juvenile Pewter Medalists, finished 7th in juvenile in 2005 and 11th in juvenile in 2004.

Kayne/O’Shea: She is 20 and represents the Southwest Florida Figure Skating Club and he is 22 and represents the Skokie Valley Skating Club.  They are the reigning Four Continents Silver Medalists.  They won bronze at Golden Spin of Zagreb.  They placed 6th last season and 7th in 2013.

Leng/Shnapir: She is 21 and represents the DuPage Figure Skating Club he is 27 and they represent the Skating Club of Boston.  They placed 8th at Rostelecom Cup and 6th at NHK Trophy.

Oltmanns/Santillan: She is 17 and represents the Broadmoor Skating Club and he is 22 and represents the All Year Figure Skating Club.  They finished 6th as juniors last season, 11th in juniors in 2013, 9th in juniors in 2012, 11th in juniors in 2011 and 6th in novice in 2010.

Scimeca/Knierim: She is 23 and represents the DuPage Figure Skating Club and he is 27 and represents the Broadmoor Skating Club.  They are the reigning Four Continents Bronze Medalists.  They finished 4th at Skate America and 4th at Trophee Eric Bompard.  They won gold at the US Figure Skating Classic and bronze at Nebelhorn Trophy.  They are the reigning Pewter Medalists and 2013 Silver Medalists.  They have the 9th best free skate and 10th best total score internationally.

Shaughnessy/Morgan: She is 22 and he is 23 and they represent the Skating Club of Boston.  They placed 12th last season, 10th as juniors in 2013, are the 2012 Novice Bronze Medalists and finished 5th in novice in 2011.

Cup of China Pairs Preview

Many of these teams are new to the Grand Prix circuit as they are new teams that formed in the off-season.  Due to the young nature of many of these partnerships this is a very open field for the podium.

Peng and Zhang are in their third season together.  They have high flying tricks including quads, but the age difference limits their program choices and she is still developing her artistic side.  They struggled in the free skate at Skate America and dropped to the bronze medal.  With this particular field, they’ll have more leeway to make mistakes and still place well but she’ll need to clean up her side by side jumps.

Wang and Wang had a solid outing at Cup of China last season, finishing 4th.  That is their only international competition to date and they haven’t competed in any Senior B events since then.  It’s hard to tell if that is something we can expect from them or if that was an unusually good result.

Yu and Jin are returning to the Grand Prix circuit after claiming the Junior World title.  They previously competed on the Grand Prix back in 2011 but with the rule changes, pairs teams were no longer able to enter both the junior and senior events.  They won every event they entered last season and are finally prepared to take the full step into the senior ranks.

Calalang and Sidhu are having a great season so far.  They took home the silver medal from the US Figure Skating Classic and the bronze medal from the Skate Canada Autumn Classic and between the two events, set personal bests in all segments of the competition.  With a large shakeup in the US pairs team in the off-season, this team is a dark horse for the podium and are looking to improve on their 11th place finish.

 

My podium predictions:

Gold: Peng/Zhang

Silver: Yu/Jin

Bronze: Wang/Wang

 

Bios of the competitors:

Purich/Wolfe, CAN: This is their Grand Prix debut.  Their personal best is 147.95.  She is 19 and he is 19.

Peng/Zhang, CHN: They finished 8th at the Olympics and 5th at Worlds.  They won bronze at Skate America.  Their personal best is 197.37.  She is 17 and he is 30.

Wang/Wang, CHN: They finished 4th at Cup of China last season.  Their personal best is 172.35.  He is 26.

Yu/Jin, CHN: They are the reigning World Junior Champions.  They won gold at JGP Latvia and gold at JGP Estonia last season to qualify for the Junior Grand Prix Final where they won gold.  They are the 2012 World Junior Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 173.77.  She is 18 and he is 20.

Della Monica/Guarise, ITA: They finished 16th at the Olympics, 16th at Worlds and 8th at Europeans.  They finished 8th at Trophee Eric Bompard last season.  Their personal best is 154.55.  She is 25 and he is 26.

Bazarova/Deputat, RUS: This is their Grand Prix debut.  Their personal best is 130.40.  She is 21 and he is 21.

Cherniavskaia/Souza-Kordyeru, RUS: They placed 5th at JGP Latvia and won silver at JGP Czech Republic last season.  Their personal best is 144.23.  She is 15 and he is 21.

Calalang/Sidhu, USA: This is their Grand Prix debut.  Their personal best is 156.46.  She is 19 and he is 23.

Pacific Coast Sectionals Senior Pairs Results

Place Start No. Name Short Program Free Skate Total Score
Place Score Place Score
1 2 Jessica Noelle Calalang, DuPage FSC
Zack Sidhu, Las Vegas FSC
1 55.50 2 93.60 149.10
2 1 Jessica Pfund, Broadmoor SC
AJ Reiss, Los Angeles FSC
2 48.86 1 95.79 144.65

US Nationals Junior Pairs Free Skate Results

Place Start No. Name Short Program Free Skate Total Score
Place Score Place Score
1 11 Britney Simpson, Broadmoor SC
Matthew Blackmer, Broadmoor SC
2 50.25 1 96.19 146.44
2 9 Jessica Noelle Calalang, DuPage FSC
Zack Sidhu, Las Vegas FSC
3 48.32 2 93.20 141.52
3 12 Madeline Aaron, Coyotes SC of Arizona
Max Settlage, Broadmoor SC
1 52.94 4 85.47 138.41
4 10 Chelsea Liu, St. Paul FSC
Devin Perini, Los Angeles FSC
4 47.20 3 91.11 138.31
5 5 Brianna de la Mora, Texas Gulf Coast FSC
Taylor Wilson, Texas Gulf Coast FSC
6 42.31 6 78.53 120.84
6 7 Jessica Pfund, Broadmoor SC
AJ Reiss, Los Angeles FSC
7 40.93 5 79.88 120.81
7 8 Caitlin Fields, Coyotes SC of Arizona
Jason Pacini, Fort Collins FSC
5 43.79 11 72.64 116.43
8 6 Cali Fujimoto, Peninsula SC
Nicholas Barsi-Rhyne, SC of Lake Placid
8 38.61 7 76.88 115.49
9 3 Caitlin Belt, University of Delaware FSC
Michael Johnson, University of Delaware FSC
9 38.02 9 73.93 111.95
10 4 Alexandria Shaughnessy, SC Of Boston
James Morgan, SC Of Boston
10 37.45 10 73.23 110.68
11 2 Olivia Oltmanns, Yarmouth Ice Club
Joshua Santillan, All Year FSC
11 35.19 8 75.06 110.25
12 1 Brenna Doherty, University of Delaware FSC
Craig Norris, St. Moritz ISC
12 26.40 12 68.76 95.16

US Nationals Junior Pairs Short Program

Group 1

Fujimoto/Barsi-Rhyne: 20.89 TES + 17.72 PCS = 38.61

  • Nice ease into the back press lift with a good arched catch foot position from her
  • Ok double twist but a crashy landing
  • Not a lot of speed going into the throw double salchow but they pull it out
  • good death spiral
  • Double flips were nice and they rotate in opposite directions
  • A little slow on their side by side spins but good distance and unison
Pfund/Reiss: 21.88 TES + 21.05 PCS -2.00 = 40.93 and into 1st place

  • Nice double twist but she almost got away from him on the landing
  • Big throw triple salchow with a nice landing
  • She stepped out and then fell out of the side by side double axels
  • Off on the timing in places in their side by side spins and traveling away from each other
  • Nice unison in their step sequence but they seem a bit choppy in places
  • She could pull up more in the lift since she seems to be slouching a bit
  • She loses her edge on the death spiral and falls and they finish a few beats before their music ends
  • They look really unhappy with that performance
Simpson/Blackmer: 26.73 TES + 23.52 PCS = 50.25 and into 1st place

  • Big, clean throw double twist
  • Nice speed and good landing on the throw triple salchow
  • Nice air position in the lift with good stretch through the change of position but it looked like she got stuck for a second in the dismount
  • Good side by side double axels, nicely timed
  • She could have more arch in her back and stretch through her free leg in the death spiral
  • This team is great but they are almost identical in height which could make tricks like the triple twist difficult to achieve
  • Nice side by side spin positions; losing their unison a bit in places
Belt/Johnson: 19.86 TES + 18.16 PCS = 38.02 and into 4th place

  • Nice double twist; not a lot of height but elegantly done
  • Not a great air position in the lift; it looks like she’s struggling to hold it and is a bit awkward looking
  • Off in the unison of their side by side double flips
  • Decent throw double salchow but not a lot of height or ice coverage
  • Ok death spiral position and nice and low to the ice
  • Lots of flexibility in their spin positions, good matching lines, good unison and nice speed
  • I think they finished their music early as they had to keep repeating poses at the end before they got to the final pose
Group 2
Fields/Pacini: 24.41 TES + 19.38 PCS = 43.79 and into 2nd place

  • Really nice side by side double axels
  • Her hip is hiked up in the opening position of their lift but she hits two nice positions after the changes
  • Good double twist with arms overhead and a clean catch
  • She two foots the landing of the throw triple salchow
  • They could be a tad closer on their side by side spins, but nice unison and flexibility
  • Fun choreography in their step sequence but a bit choppy in places
  • Nice spiral into a really good death spiral–probably the best one of the day so far
Liu/Perini: 26.35 TES + 20.85 PCS = 47.20 and into 2nd place

  • This is their third season competing at nationals, 1st as juniors and htey’re finally old enough to compete internationally last season
  • Nice death spiral
  • Good side by side double flips
  • Good double twist with a nice easy catch
  • She has great extension through these transition moves
  • A little bit of hesitation into the throw triple salchow, but huge in the air, good toe point; she does put her hands down though
  • They could use more stretch through the sit position in their side by side spins
  • Fun choreography in the step sequence but he seems to be performing more than she is
  • Nice entry to the back press lift but she could have both legs lifted equally; into a nice split position after the change of position
Shaughnessy/Morgan: 19.28 TES + 18.17 PCS = 37.45 and into 7th place

  • She stepped out of the side by side double axels
  • A little two footed on the landing of the throw triple salchow but otherwise well done
  • She has really long legs so when she doesn’t fully stretch through some of these spin positions, it’s very noticeable
  • Not a great first position in the lift and then an awkward transition where it looked like she was going to kick him in the head; at the end it looked like they were muscling through the lift
  • Good double twist with a clean catch
  • Nice arch in the death spiral
Oltmanns/Santillan: 17.11 TES + 19.08 PCS -1.00 = 35.19 and into 8th place

  • Nice opening choreography really in time and character with the music and good twizzles too!
  • Great unison on the entry into their side by side double axels but she falls
  • Good timing on their side by side spins but she’s really traveling
  • Good double twist
  • A little bobble on the entry to their lift but a really difficult position and nice stretch from her
  • Great toe point and height on the throw triple salchow but she leans forward on the landing and never fully gets her free leg out
Group 3
Aaron/Settlage: 28.94 TES + 24.00 PCS = 52.94 and into 1st place

  • Because he is born on July 1st, they get an extra year of Junior international eligibility next season.
  • Nice double twist with her arms overhead and a good catch
  • This is a great vehicle for them because her carriage and lines are showcased perfectly as a swan
  • Nice side by side double axels
  • Huge throw triple salchow; she was a little forward on the landing but hung on with a good landing position
  • Good lift position with a nice one arm exit
  • Some of their spins they don’t have the same flexibility on so it ruins the unison look
  • Nice step sequence with good flow across the ice
  • Spiral into a death spiral with a good arch and a change of hold from him
Calalang/Sidhu: 27.60 TES + 20.72 PCS = 48.32 and into 3rd place

  • She turns out of the side by side double axels but keeps her free leg up
  • Good height on the double twist with her arms over head but a bit of a crashy landing
  • Nice throw triple salchow and she really had to fight for that landing since she came down awkwardly but she made it look easy
  • Off on the unison on their side by side spins but some nice positions
  • A little bit of difficiulty getting into the lift but nice position once she was up there
  • Nice timing with the music on their step sequence and very in character with the program
  • Interesting lead in to the death spiral but she could use a bit more arch
De la Mora/Wilson: 23.11 TES + 19.20 PCS = 42.31 and into 6th place

  • Really nice double twist with good height and a clean catch
  • She turned out of the side by side double axels but kept her free leg up
  • Interesting toss entry into the lift with a one hand hold
  • Nice throw triple salchow
  • Good arch in the death spiral
  • Good unison on their step sequence
  • Nice camel position to open their side by side spins; they could be closer together and they’ve lost their unison by the end
  • Finished before their music and hit their ending pose several beats early
Doherty/Norris: 11.83 TES + 15.57 PCS -1.00 = 26.40 and into 12th place

  • She singled the side by side double axels
  • Vertical double twist and she threw her head back at an awkward angle
  • She opened up on the throw salchow and had a two foot landing
  • She needs more stretch through her legs and arch in her back on the lift position
  • She loses her death spiral edge and falls
  • He’s a little wild on the camel spin but they have good unison on their side by side spins
Place Start No. Name Score
1 9 Madeline Aaron, Coyotes SC of Arizona
Max Settlage, Broadmoor SC
52.94
2 3 Britney Simpson, Broadmoor SC
Matthew Blackmer, Broadmoor SC
50.25
3 10 Jessica Noelle Calalang, DuPage FSC
Zack Sidhu, Las Vegas FSC
48.32
4 6 Chelsea Liu, St. Paul FSC
Devin Perini, Los Angeles FSC
47.20
5 5 Caitlin Fields, Coyotes SC of Arizona
Jason Pacini, Fort Collins FSC
43.79
6 11 Brianna de la Mora, Texas Gulf Coast FSC
Taylor Wilson, Texas Gulf Coast FSC
42.31
7 2 Jessica Pfund, Broadmoor SC
AJ Reiss, Los Angeles FSC
40.93
8 1 Cali Fujimoto, Peninsula SC
Nicholas Barsi-Rhyne, SC of Lake Placid
38.61
9 4 Caitlin Belt, University of Delaware FSC
Michael Johnson, University of Delaware FSC
38.02
10 7 Alexandria Shaughnessy, SC Of Boston
James Morgan, SC Of Boston
37.45
11 8 Olivia Oltmanns, Yarmouth Ice Club
Joshua Santillan, All Year FSC
35.19
12 12 Brenna Doherty, University of Delaware FSC
Craig Norris, St. Moritz ISC
26.40

US Nationals: Junior Pairs Preview

Simpson and Blackmer are in their second season as a team and seem to be hitting a bit of a sophomore slump.  After qualifying for the Junior Grand Prix Final and medaling at that event last season, they failed to medal at either of their Junior Grand Prix assignments this season.  Still, they had the best international scores of any US junior pairs team this season.  They have a throw triple loop and salchow planned in their free skate but have only been executing a double twist.  They have a great look and elegance on the ice and that should help make up for any technical deficits.  They won the silver medal at nationals last season and are in a good position to claim the top spot on the podium.

Trying to catch them will be their training mates Aaron and Settlage who won a bronze medal on the Junior Grand Prix this season.  They have a Level 4 lift, spin and step sequence planned in their short and executed two Level 4 lifts and a Level 4 combination spin in their free skate at sectionals.  They have a throw triple loop and triple salchow as well along with a triple twist.  After winning the novice title in 2011, they finished just off the podium last season.

Calalang and Sidhu bounced back from a poor short program at sectionals to claim the Pacific Coast Sectionals title.  They received a Level 4 on their spin and lift in the short program and a Level 4 on their side by side spins in their free skate.  They have a triple twist and are planning a throw triple salchow and throw triple lutz in their free skate which gives them a huge technical advantage if they hit the elements cleanly.  They just missed out on the Junior Worlds team last season and will be looking for redemption this year.

Liu and Perini are making their junior debut after winning two medals as novices.  She is not old enough to compete internationally but they seem to be growing together well and adjusting to her growth spurts.  They received a Level 3 death spiral, Level 4 steps, Level 4 lift and Level 4 spin in their short program at sectionals.  They also had Level 4 spins, a Level 3 death spiral and a triple twist in their free skate.  These levels help them make up for the fact that they only have a throw triple salchow and throw double flip planned in their free skate.

Pfund and Reiss are still a relatively new team but have been gaining recognition both nationally and internationally.  They received a Level 4 on their lift in the short program at sectionals but only had a basic death spiral.

De la Mora and Wilson competed on the Junior Grand Prix this season for the first time but will not be able to compete internationally next season.  He will age out of juniors and she is too young to compete in seniors until 2014-2015.  This may give them an advantage as they will not be vying for international placements next season and can just worry about their performance at nationals.  They had a Level 4 step sequence in their short program at sectionals and Level 4 spins and a Level 4 lift in the free skate.  They also have a triple twist and a triple lutz in their arsenal, but they did not execute the lutz at sectionals.

Oltmanns and Santillan have the whole package but have trouble putting together two clean programs when the pressure is on.  They also struggle with their solo jumps.  If they can put everything together and skate cleanly they can medal.  They had a Level 4 step sequence in their short program and Level 4 spins and a Level 4 lift in the free skate at sectionals.  Their programs are smartly structured with 4 elements in the bonus section of the free skate but those extra points were lost at sectionals when they had two falls.

Historically, the top three age eligible junior pairs are sent to junior worlds, however this season Denney and Frazier will be competing nationally as seniors.  They didn’t have a stellar international season and the committee will have to determine how they rank with the other junior teams.  Placing in the top two should be a guaranteed trip to junior worlds.

My podium predictions:
Gold: SimpsonBlackmer
Silver: Aaron/Settlage
Bronze: Calalang/Sidhu
Pewter: Liu/Perini

Bios of the competitors:
Aaron/Settlage: She is 18 and he is 20.  She represents the Coyotes Skating Club of Arizona and he represents the Broadmoor Skating Club.  They won bronze at JGP USA and placed 7th at JGP Croatia.  They are 2011 Novice Pairs Champions and finished 6th in Junior Pairs in 2012.  They won gold at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 9th best free skate internationally.  The have the best short program, free skate and total scores nationally.

Belt/Johnson: They represent the University of Delaware Figure Skating Club.  They won pewter at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 9th best free skate and 9th best total scores nationally.  

Calalang/Sidhu: She is 16 and he is 20.  She represents the DuPage Figure Skating Club and he represents the Las Vegas Figure Skating Club.  They placed 6th at JGP Austria and 8th at JGP Croatia.  They finished 8th in Juniors in 2011 and are the reigning Junior Pairs pewter medalists.  They won gold at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 6th best short program, 2nd best free skate and 2nd best total scores nationally.  

De la Mora/Wilson: She is 13 and he is 21.  They represent the Texas Gulf Coast Figure Skating Club.  They placed 11th at JGP Austria.  They are the 2010 Intermediate Pairs Champions, finished 6th in Novice in 2011 and 8th in Juniors in 2012.  They won silver at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 4th best short program, 4th best free skate and 4th best total scores nationally.

Doherty/Norris: She represents the University of Delaware Figure Skating Club and he represents the St. Moritz Ice Skating Club.  They placed 5th at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 8th best free skate and 11th best total scores nationally.


Fields/Pacini: She is 17 and he is 22.  She represents the Coyote Skating Club of Arizona and he represents the Fort Collins Figure Skating Club.  They are the 2011 Novice Pewter Medalists and 2012 Novice Silver Medalists.  They won pewter at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 5th best short program and 10th best total scores nationally.

Fujimoto/Barsi-Rhyne: She is 21 and he is 21.  She represents the Peninsula Skating Club and he represents the Skating Club of Lake Placid.  They finished 11th in Juvenile in 2004, 7th in Juvenile in 2005, are the 2006 Juvenile pewter medalists, finished 5th in Intermediate in 2007, 12th in Novice in 2008, 7th in Novice in 2009 and 11th in Juniors in 2012.  They won bronze at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 9th best short program, 10th best free skate and 8th best total scores nationally.

Liu/Perini: She is 13 and he is 19.  She represents the St. Paul Figure Skating Club and he represents the Los Angeles Figure Skating Club.  They are the 2011 Novice Silver Medalists and reigning Novice Champions.  They won silver at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 3rd best short program, 3rd best free skate and 3rd best total score nationally. 

Oltmanns/Santillan: She is 15 and he is 20.  She represents the Yarmouth Ice Club and he represents the All Year Figure Skating Club.  They placed 12th at JGP USA.  They finished 6th in Novice in 2010, 11th in Juniors in 2011 and 9th in Juniors in 2012.  They won gold at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 7th best short program, 5th best free skate and 6th best total score nationally.

Pfund/Reiss: She represents the Broadmoor Skating Club and he represents the Los Angeles Figure Skating Club.  They placed 5th at JGP USA and 7th at JGP Germany.  She is 15 and he is 20.  They finished 5th as Juniors in 2012.  They won bronze at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals. They have the 2nd best short program, 6th best free skate and 4th best total score nationally.

Shaughnessy/Morgan: She is 20 and he is 21.  They represent the Skating Club of Boston.  They finished 5th in Novice in 2011 and are the reigning Novice Pairs bronze medalists.  They won silver at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.   They have the 8th best short program, 7th best free skate and 7th best total score nationally.

Simpson/Blackmer: She is 16 and he is 21.  She represents the Broadmoor Skating Club and he represents the Detroit Skating Club.  They placed 5th at JGP Austria and 5th at JGP Germany.  They are the reigning Junior Pairs silver medalists.  They have the 10th best short program and 8th best free skate internationally.

Pacific Coast Sectionals Junior Pairs Results

Place Start No. Name Short Program Free Skate Total Score
Place Score Place Score
1 2 Jessica Noelle Calalang, DuPage FSC
Zack Sidhu, Las Vegas FSC
4 42.60 1 86.65 129.25
2 4 Chelsea Liu, St. Paul FSC
Devin Perini, Los Angeles FSC
2 45.03 2 84.00 129.03
3 3 Jessica Pfund, Broadmoor SC
AJ Reiss, Los Angeles FSC
1 45.46 3 78.29 123.75
4 1 Caitlin Fields, Coyotes SC of Arizona
Jason Pacini, Fort Collins FSC
3 42.96 4 62.58 105.54

Pacific Coast Sectionals Preview

Saturday, November 10th
6:20-7:25 Novice Pattern Dance
8:25-9:30 Novice Ladies Short Program
9:45-10:45 Junior Short Dance
11:00-12:05 Novice Men’s Short Program

Sunday, November 11th
6:10-6:50 Novice Free Dance
7:05-7:55 Junior Men’s Short Program
8:10-9:25 Novice Ladies Free Skate
10:05-11:15 Novice Men’s Free Skate

Monday, November 12th
12:50-1:05 Novice Pairs Short Program
1:05-2:10 Junior Ladies Short Program
2:25-3:00 Junior Pairs Short Program
5:50-7:10 Senior Ladies Short Program
7:30-8:35 Junior Men’s Free Skate
8:50-9:55 Junior Free Dance
10:10-10:55 Senior Men’s Short Program

Tuesday, November 13th
12:30-1:45 Junior Ladies Free Skate
2:00-2:20 Novice Pairs Free Skate
2:20-2:55 Junior Pairs Free Skate
4:30-6:15 Senior Ladies Free Skate
6:30-7:30 Senior Men’s Free Skate

Senior Ladies

Thirteen ladies are competing for four places at nationals.  Vanessa Lam placed 9th at nationals last season and finished 4th at her JGP assignment.  She has the 3rd best short program, best free skate and best total score from regionals.  Sophia Adams placed 17th at nationals last season.

Courtney Hicks was injured last season and couldn’t compete at nationals.  She placed 4th and won a silver medal at her two JGP assignments.

Senior Men

Seven men are competing for four spots to nationals.  Keegan Messing placed 7th at nationals last season and won gold at Cup of Nice and bronze at Nebelhorn Trophy.  Scott Dyer finished 10th at nationals and Jonathan Cassar finished 11th.  Philip Warren is the reigning Junior Bronze Medalist.

Senior Pairs

Denney and Frazier have chosen to take their bye to nationals so this event will not be contested.

Senior Dance

This will be exhibition only as only Tran and Kaplun are competing.

Junior Ladies

There are twelve ladies competing for four places at nationals.  Polina Edmunds finished 6th at nationals last season and has the 2nd best short program, best free skate and best total score from regionals.  Gwendolyn Prescott finished 7th at nationals last season and has the 9th best short program score from regionals.  Camille Davis finished 12th at nationals.

Karen Chen is the reigning Novice Ladies Champion and has the 6th best short program, 5th best free skate and 5th best total regional score.  Amanda Gelb is the reigning Novice Ladies Bronze Medalist and has the 10th best regional score.  Selena Zhao finished 7th as a novice last season and has the 6th best free skate and total score after regionals.  Dylan McIntee finished 9th as a novice last season. 

Junior Men

Eight men are competing for four spots at nationals.  Nathan Chen is the reigning National Champion and won gold at his JGP assignment.  Shotaro Omori placed 4th at his two JGP assignments this season.  

Vincent Zhou is the reigning Novice National Champion and has the best short program, free skate and total score from regionals.  Spencer Howe is the reigning Novice Bronze Medalist and has the 3rd best short program score from regionals.  

Junior Pairs

Four teams are competing and all will qualify to nationals.  Calalang and Sidhu are the reigning Pewter Medalists and finished 6th and 8th at their two JGP assignments this season.  Pfund and Reiss placed  5th at nationals and finished 7th at their JGP assignment.

Liu and Perini are the reigning Novice Champions and Fields/Pacini are the reigning Novice Silver Medalists.

Junior Dance

Six teams are competing for four spots at nationals.  Heritage and Fast finished 5th at nationals last season and placed 7th at their JGP assignment.  Siddon and Weiss finished 5th at the novice level last season.  

Novice Ladies

Twelve ladies are competing for four places at nationals.  Elizabeth Nguyen is the reigning Intermediate Silver Medalist and has the 7th best short program and total score from regionals.  Tyler Pierce is the reigning Intermediate Bronze Medalist and has the best short program, 3rd best free skate and best total regional score.  Sarah Feng finished 8th in Intermediate last season and has the 8th best regional short program score.  Cheyenne Taylor finished 10th and  Brittney Shiue finished 19th last season.   

Novice Men

Ten men are competing for four spots at nationals.  Wilbur Ji finished 12th at nationals last season.  

Paolo Borromeo is the reigning Intermediate Men’s Bronze Medalist.  He has the 4th best free skate and 6th best total score from regionals.  Harrison Wong is the reigning Intermediate Men’s Pewter Medalist.  

Novice Pairs

Two teams are competing and both will advance to nationals.  Middleton and Hennings finished 5th at nationals last season.  Erickson and Fleming finished 10th as Intermediates last season.

Novice Dance

Six teams are competing for four spots at nationals.  Lewis and Bye are the reigning Pewter Medalists.  Feng and Pomarenkeo finished 5th at the Intermediate level last season and Luo and Cheung finished 11th.

JGP Austria Pairs Preview

Yu and Jin of China are by far the favorites of this event.  They won two silver medals on the JGP last season and are the reigning World Junior Silver Medalists.  With Sui and Han moving up to seniors, they are the top Chinese team on the junior circuit and have the ability to pull up and claim their first gold medals.

Simpson and Blackmer impressed in their JGP debut last season and became the first U.S. pairs team to win gold on the JGP in several years.  They medaled at their 2nd assignment and then the Final but fell to 2nd at U.S. nationals and did not make the podium at Junior Worlds.  They’ll be looking to put the 2nd half of their season behind them and reclaim their place as the top U.S. junior pairs team.

Calalang and Sidhu earned their first JGP medal last season and a trip to the Final but had to withdraw due to injury.  At U.S. nationals they finished a heartbreaking 4th after some mistakes in their free skate and did not qualify for the Junior Worlds team.

Fedorova and Miroshkin did not land on the medal stand at their sole event last season but their scores are good enough to keep them in medal contention.  Their teammates Tudvaseva and Lisiev replaced Calalang and Sidhu at the JGPF but were inconsistent in their results all season.

The three Canadian teams are all making their JGP debuts but pose a medal threat here.  Bell and Sylvester are the reigning Canadian novice champions and their performance at nationals was impressive enough to earn them a spot on the Junior Worlds team where they finished 12th.  Jones and Beharry and Purich and Arcieri are new teams this season.  Beharry won silver at the JGP Final with his former partner last season while Jones competed on the Senior Grand Prix.

My podium predictions:
Gold: Yu/Jin
Silver: Simpson/Blackmer
Bronze: Jones/Beharry

Bios of the competitors:
Smyth/Dodds, AUS: They placed 14th at JGP USA.  Their personal best is 64.93.  She is 14 and he is 18.

Ilieva/Savinov, BUL: The finished 15th in the preliminary round at Junior Worlds.  This is their JGP debut.  She is 16 and he is 20.

Bell/Sylvester, CAN: They finished 12th at Junior Worlds.  This is their JGP debut.  She is 16 and he is 17.

Jones/Beharry, CAN: This is their JGP debut.  She is 16 and he is 20.

Purich/Arcieri, CAN: This is their JGP debut.  She is 17 and he is 18.

Li/Jiang, CHN: They placed 9th at Junior Worlds.  They finished 10th at JGP Latvia and 4th at JGP Austria last season.  Their personal best is 138.92.  She is 14 and he is 20.

Yu/Jin, CHN: They are the reigning World Junior Silver Medalists.  They finished 7th at Skate Canada and 6th at Cup of China last season.  They won silver at JGP Latvia and JGP Austria last season to qualify for the JGP Final where they placed 5th.  Their personal best is 167.48.  She is 16 and he is 18.

Cernuschi/Ambrosini, ITA: They placed 20th at Junior Worlds.  This is their JGP debut.  She is 15 and he is 19.

Fedorova/Miroshkin, RUS: They placed 5th at JGP Austria last season.  Their personal best is 134.88.  She is 14 and he is 18.

Tusvaseva/Lisiev, RUS: They placed 5th at JGP Latvia and won bronze at JGP Poland last season to qualify for the JGP Final where they finished 6th.  Their personal best is 133.79.  She is 15 and he is 19.

Vigalova/Zakroev, RUS: This is their international debut.

Lavrentieva/Rudik, UKR: They finished 14th at Junior Worlds.  They placed 13th at JGP France.  Their personal best is 110.03.  She is 15 and he is 20.

Calalang/Sidhu, USA: They placed 4th at JGP Poland and won bronze at JGP Estonia last season to qualify for the JGP Final but had to withdraw due to injury.  Their personal best is 139.32.  She is 17 and he is 20.

De la Mora/Wilson, USA: This is their international debut.  She is 13 and he is 20.

Simpson/Blackmer, USA: They placed 10th at Junior Worlds.  They won gold at JGP Poland and silver at JGP Estonia last season to qualify for the JGP Final where they won bronze.  Their personal best is 146.35.  She is 16 and he is 20.