2014 US Nationals Novice Dance Preview

This is going to be an extremely tough event as the pewter medalists from last season are returning along with the 1st-5th place finishers in intermediate last season.  Several of the these teams have been together for many years and have a combined eleven national medals.  The race for gold should be especially tight as several teams were only a fraction of a point apart after sectionals.

The Beckers are the highest returning novice team from last season.  They have very good technical skills with three level 4 lifts and a level 4 twizzle sequence in their free dance at sectionals and all positive GOEs.  They had a slightly better score on their Argentine Tango which gives them an advantage in the pattern dance but they are strong in all types of pattern dances.  They are too young to compete internationally next season, so they’ll just be setting themselves up for the following year.

Gropman and Somerville edged out the Beckers at Eastern Sectionals and are aiming for their third consecutive national title after winning titles at the juvenile and intermediate levels.  They received a level 4 on two of their lifts, twizzle sequence and spin in their free dance at Sectionals with positive GOEs on all their elements.  They also had a slightly higher score on their Argentine Tango but were strong in both their pattern dances.

Thomas and Martin took home the highest score from Sectionals.  They received a level 4 on all three of their lifts in the free dance at sectionals.  Their Argentine Tango was also the stronger of their two pattern dances although both were strong.

Feng and Ponomarenko stole the crowd with their adorable Cats themed free dance last season.  They received a level 4 on two lifts and a spin in their free dance at sectionals and received all positive GOEs.  They did have two illegal elements in their free dance and received deductions and if they can fix those elements their score should improve.

Pascoe and Jaffe received Level 4s on their three lifts, spins and twizzles with all positive GOEs.  Their free dance is very strong and is one of the top scoring programs this season, but they lost points on their pattern dances and will need to bring those scores up if they want to make the podium.

Fox and Katsman won the silver medal as intermediates last season.  They received level 4s on three lifts and their spin in their free dance at sectionals.  They also had lower scores on their pattern dances, especially on the Argentine Tango which is the pattern dance being performed at nationals.

Sletten and Verburg won the bronze medal as intermediates last season.  They scored much better on the Kilian than the Argentine Tango at sectionals, but the Kilian is not being performed at nationals.  They also had some problems in their free dance at sectionals including a fall on their step sequence which cost them a lot of points.  They did have two level 4 lifts, spin and twizzle sequences in their free dance at sectionals and definitely have room to pull up.

 

My podium predictions:

Gold: Becker/Becker

Silver: Gropman/Somerville

Bronze: Thomas/Martin

Pewter: Feng/Ponomarenko

 

Bios of the competitors:

Becker/Becker: She is 11 and and he is 13 and they represent the Washington Figure Skating Club.  They are the reigning Novice Pewter Medalists, 2012 Intermediate Champions and 2011 Juvenile Silver Medalists.  They won silver at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 3rd best pattern dance, 3rd best free dance and 3rd best total scores.

Feng/Ponomarenko: She is 14 and represents the Peninsula Skating Club and he is 13 and represents the Skating Club of San Francisco.  They finished 8th as novices last season, 5th as intermediates in 2012 and are the 2011 Juvenile Bronze Medalists.  They won gold at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 4th best pattern dance, 4th best free dance and 4th best total scores.

Fox/Katsman: She is 13 and represents the Rocky Mountain Figure Skating Club and he is 12 and represents the Broadmoor Skating Club.  They are the reigning Intermediate Silver Medalists and 2012 Juvenile Pewter Medalists.  They won bronze at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 6th best pattern dance, 6th best free dance and 6th best total scores.

Gropman/Somerville: She is 12 and he is 13 and they represent the Washington Figure Skating Club.  They are the reigning Intermediate Champions and 2012 Juvenile Champions.  They won gold at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the best pattern dance, 2nd best free dance and 2nd best total scores.

Howland/Cohn: They represent the Detroit Skating Club.  They finished 5th as intermediates last season.  They won pewter at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 7th best free dance and 10th best total scores.

Lustig/Milestone: She is 15 and represents the University of Delaware Figure Skating Club and he is 16 and represents the Princeton Skating Club.  They are the reigning Intermediate Pewter Medalists.  They won bronze at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 8th best pattern dance, 8th best free dance and 8th best total scores.

Manta/Thompson: She represents the Coyotes Skating Club of Arizona and he represents the Centennial Skating Club.  They won bronze at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 9th best pattern dance, 9th best free dance and 9th best total scores.

Middleton/Valdez: She is 15 and represents the Los Angeles Figure Skating Club and he is 16 and represents the All Year Figure Skating Club.  They finished 7th as intermediates last season.  They won pewter at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 10th best free dance score.

Pascoe/Jaffe: She represents the Lansing Skating Club and he represents the Pavilion Skating Club of Cleveland Heights.  They won silver at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 7th best pattern dance, 5th best free dance and 5th best total scores.

Sjogren/Curran: She represents the Skating Club of Boston and he represents the Colonial Figure Skating Club.  They won pewter at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.

Sletten/Verburg: She is 12 and represents the Washington Figure Skating Club and he is 14 and represents the Peninsula Skating Club.  They are the reigning Intermediate Bronze Medalists, 2012 Juvenile Silver Medalists and finished 8th as juveniles in 2011.  They won silver at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 5th best pattern dance and 7th best total scores.

Thomas/Martin: They represent the Detroit Skating Club.  They won gold at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 2nd best pattern dance, best free skate and best total scores.