US Nationals Junior Dance Preview

This is an extremely talented field with 12 Junior Grand Prix assignments among the teams and four medals (not including the Parsons who had to withdraw due to injury).

Aldridge and Eaton are the reigning Junior Champions.  They won the bronze medal at Junior Worlds last season and backed it up with a bronze medal at the Junior Grand Prix Final.  They tend to fall behind in the short dance but their Fiddler on the Roof free dance is skated so well they have overcome large deficits at some of their international assignments.  Despite being the reigning champions, there are several teams hot on their tail and they only have a few points advantage to play with.  However, they are still the overwhelming favorites and should be able to repeat and claim another ticket to Junior Worlds.

Hawayek and Baker may be able to pull off the upset and take the title from Aldridge and Eaton.  They are a new team this season but both were extremely strong with their previous partners.  Hawayek competed as a junior at nationals last season and Baker made a run for the junior title in 2011 but sat out last season after his partner retired due to injuries.  They had a decent showing at their first JGP outing in Turkey but won the silver medal in Germany.  They even had better short dance and total scores than Aldridge and Eaton.  However, their nationals scores were below the marks that Aldridge and Eaton are hitting internationally.  They may have the edge in the short dance but will need a big lead and a solid free dance if they want to take home the title.

McNamara and Carpenter are also in the gold medal mix.  They are one of the youngest teams in the field despite the fact that this is their third season competing as juniors and they are the reigning bronze medalists.  They earned a slot to junior worlds last season but were not old enough to go.  They competed against Hawayek and Baker in Turkey and finished two places ahead of them, putting them right in the mix.  They have great expression and a quirkiness to their skating that is evident in their short dance but are also able to show a more elegant side as well.

Pogrebinsky and Gudis train alongside McNamara and Carpenter.  They finished 8th as juniors last season but actually beat Aldridge and Eaton in the free dance at Lake Placid Ice Dance Championships over the summer.  They have nice elements but are a bit more tentative than the top teams.  While they likely won’t be in contention for the gold, the podium is definitely within their reach.

Moore and Klaber are the reigning Novice Champions and have already made their junior debut internationally.  They train at the Detroit Skating Club alongside some of the top skaters in the world.  Their free dance was over the 70 point mark which keeps them on pace for the podium but they’ll want to improve the levels in the short dance.

Also in the mix are Heritage and Fast who competed at JGP Lake Placid earlier this season and Miller/MacMillan who competed at JGP Austria. 

My podium predictions:
Gold: Aldridge/Eaton
Silver: Hawayek/Baker
Bronze: McNamara/Carpenter
Pewter: Pogrebinsky/Gudis

Bios of the competitors:
Aldridge/Eaton: She is 18 and he is 20.  They represent the Detroit Skating Club.  They won gold at JGP USA and gold at JGP Slovenia to qualify for the Junior Grand Prix Final where they won bronze.  They are the 2010 Novice Champions, finished 5th in Juniors in 2011 and are the reigning Junior Champions.  They have the 5th best short dance, 3rd best free dance and 4th best total scores internationally.

Biechler/Dodge: She represents the Skating Club of Wilmington and he represents the Peninsula Skating Club.  They won bronze at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 10th best free dance and 10th best total scores nationally.

Hawayek/Baker: She represents the Detroit Skating Club and he represents the Seattle Skating Club.  They placed 5th at JGP Turkey and won silver at JGP Germany.  They won gold at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 4th best short dance, 7th best free dance and 3rd best total scores internationally.  They have the 3rd best short dance, best free dance and 3rd best total scores nationally.

Heritage/Fast: She is 18 and he is 21.  They represent the University Ice Skating Club of San Jose.  They finished 7th at JGP USA.  They are the 2008 Juvenile Champions, finished 8th in Intermediate in 2009, finished 9th in Novice in 2010, 8th in Junior in 2011 and 5th in Juniors in 2012.  They won gold at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 5th best short dance, 6th best free dance and 6th best total scores nationally.

McNamara/Carpenter: She is 13 and he is 16.  She represents the Peninsula Skating Club and he represents the Washington Figure Skating Club.  They finished 6th at JGP France and 4th at JGP Turkey.  They are the reigning Junior bronze medalists.  They are the 2008 Juvenile pewter medalists, 2009 Intermediate pewter medalists, finished 6th in Novice in 2010 and 9th in Junior in 2011.  They won gold at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the best short dance, 3rd best free dance and best total scores nationally.


Miller/MacMillan: She is 14 and he is 15.  They represent the Washington Figure Skating Club.  They placed 10th at JGP Austria.  They are the reigning Novice silver medalists.  They won pewter at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.   They have the 7th best short dance, 7th best free dance and 7th best total scores nationally.

Min/Ogay: She represents the Los Angeles Figure Skating Club and he represents the Skating Club of Novi.  They won silver at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 8th best short dance, 8th best free dance and 8th best total scores nationally.

Moore/Klaber: She is 17 and he is 18.  They represent the Detroit Skating Club.  They placed 8th at JGP France.  They are the reigning Novice Champions.  They finished 8th in Juvenile in 2008, 5th in Juvenile in 2009, are the 2010 Intermediate Silver Medalists and finished 8th in Novice in 2011.  They won silver at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 6th best short dance, 4th best free dance and 5th best total scores nationally.  


Pogrebinsky/Gudis: She is 14 and he is 17.  She represents the Peninsula Figure Skating Club and he represents the Washington Figure Skating Club.  They placed 6th at JGP USA and 11th at JGP Slovenia.  They are the 2010 Intermediate bronze medalists, the 2011 Novice pewter medalists and finished 8th in Juniors in 2012.  They won bronze at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 4th best short dance, 5th best free dance and 4th best total scores nationally.   


Reid/Erwin: They represent the Wisconsin Figure Skating Club.  They won pewter at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.


Rosinski/Jaffe: She is 17 and he is 18.  They represent the Pavilion Skating Club of Cleveland Heights.  They are the reigning Novice pewter medalists.  They won bronze at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 9th best short dance, 9th best free dance and 9th best total scores nationally.


Siddon/Weiss: She is 18 and he is 19.  She represents the Ann Arbor Figure Skating Club and he represents the All Year Figure Skating Club.  They finished 5th as Novices in 2012.  They won pewter at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 10th best short dance score  nationally.