U.S. Nationals Senior Pairs Preview

Evora and Ladwig are the veterans of this event, having competed at nationals since 2003 and claiming four medals.  They’ve never won gold and were runner up to two different teams over two seasons.  While they finished just off the podium at both of their Grand Prix events this is looking like their year to finally claim the national title, especially if they can land their side by side jumps.

Denney and Coughlin teamed up at the end of last season and their partnership came together quickly.  They finished 4th and 5th at their two Grand Prix events but seemed to slip a little in their second event.  They have big throws and lifts as Denney is nearly a foot shorter than Coughlin but are still working on smoothing out the edges on some of their other elements and making their skating as seamless as possible.

Marley and Brubaker took home the pewter medal from nationals last season only months after starting their partnership.  They made their Grand Prix debut this season and won bronze at Coupe de Nice, a senior B event.  Marley was injured at the beginning of the season, causing them to withdraw from Nebelhorn Trophy, but since then they’ve improved between competitions as they had more training time behind them.  One of their weakest elements is the twist but that has been showing improvement at each event.  Marley has put her singles career on hold to focus on pairs this season.

Donlan and Speroff are a beautiful team to watch with great lines which leads to wonderful positions in their lifts.  They play on this strength with a ballet themed free skate that showcases them perfectly.  Their biggest weakness is their side by side jumps.  If they can land them they could really make a run at the podium and put themselves in contention to be a top U.S. pair team.

Cain and Reagan made history when they became the first pair team to win Novice and Junior titles in consecutive seasons.  They went on to finish 4th at Junior Worlds last season behind a trio of teams that already had Junior World titles and competed on the senior level.  They debuted on the Grand Prix this season, finishing 6th.  They had a nice outing on their short program but really struggled on their free skate.  Cain is tall with long legs which lends to some nice positions in their lifts.  She is also pulling double duty, competing in the junior ladies event at nationals.

Castelli/Shnapir, Vise/Baldwin and Poapst/Knierim are also in the mix.

My podium predictions:
Gold: Evora/Ladwig
Silver: Denney/Coughlin
Bronze: Marley/Brubaker
Pewter: Cain/Reagan

Bios of the competitors:
Kloe Chanel Bautista/Tyler Harris: She is 19 and represents the All Year Figure Skating Club.  He is 23 and represents the Skating Club of Boston.  They finished 10th in Juniors in 2011.  They won bronze at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  

Gretchen Donlan/Andrew Speroff: She is 18 and represents the Skating Club of Boston.  He is 23 and represents the Skating Club of Boston.  They finished 8th in Juniors in 2010 and 8th in 2011.  They won gold at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.

Alexa Scimeca/Ivan Dimitrov: She represents the DuPage Figure Skating Club.  They won pewter at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.

Felicia Zhang/Nathan Bartholomay: She is 18 and represents the Skating Club of New York.  They won silver at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  

Cassie Andrews/Timothy LeDuc: She is 18 and represents the Indiana World Skating Academy Figure Skating Club.  He is 21 and represents the Eastern Iowa Figure Skating Club.  They placed 9th at Junior Worlds last season.  They are the reigning Junior bronze medalists.

Ashley Cain/Joshua Reagan: She is 16 and represents the Stars Figure Skating Club of Texas.  He is 22 and represents the Stars Figure Skating Club of Texas.  They finished 4th at Junior Worlds last season.  They placed 6th at Rostelecom Cup and 4th at Coupe de Nice.  They are the 2010 Novice Champions and reigning Junior Champions.

Marissa Castelli/Simon Shnapir: She is 21 and represents the Skating Club of Boston.  He is 24 and represents the Skating Club of Boston.  They placed 7th at NHK Trophy and 4th at Ondrej Nepela Memorial.  They are the 2009 World Junior bronze medalists.  They placed 9th in Novice in 2007, are the 2008 Novice bronze medalists, the 2009 Junior bronze medalists, placed 10th in 2010 and 5th in 2011.

Caydee Denney/John Coughlin: She is 18 and represents the Panthers Figure Skating Club.  He is 26 and represents the Kansas City Figure Skating Club.  They finished 4th at Skate America, 5th at NHK Trophy and won bronze at Nebelhorn Trophy.  They have the 10th best short program score, 8th best free skate and 9th best total score internationally.

Amanda Evora/Mark Ladwig: She is 27 and represents the Southwest Florida Figure Skating Club.  He is 31 and represents the Red River Valley Figure Skating Club.  They placed 11th at Worlds and 6th at Four Continents last season.  They placed 4th at Cup of China and Trophee Eric Bompard.  They placed 12th in 2003, 10th in 2004, 5th in 2005, 7th in 2006, are the 2007 pewter medalists, finished 5th in 2008, are the 2009 pewter medalists, 2010 silver medalists and are the reigning silver medalists.

Rita Fehr/Peter Biver: She is 15 and he is 35.

Mary Beth Marley/Rockne Brubaker: She is 16 and represents the DuPage Figure Skating Club.  He is 25 and represents the All Year Figure Skating Club.  They finished 8th at Four Continents last season.  They placed 7th at Skate America and won bronze at Coupe de Nice.  They are the reigning pewter medalists.

Andrea Poapst/Christopher Knierim: She is 19 and represents the Broadmoor Skating Club.  He is 24 and represents the Broadmoor Skating Club.  They won gold at Ice Challenge.  They are the reigning Junior silver medalists.

Tiffany Vise/Don Baldwin: She is 25 and represents the Broadmoor Skating Club.  He is 34 and represents the Los Angeles Figure Skating Club.  They finished 6th at Skate America and 7th at Nebelhorn Trophy.  They placed 8th in 2011.

Comments

  1. Poapst/Knierim are the ones who won Ice Challenge.