US Nationals: Novice Dance Preview

This should be a very tight event with the novice pewter medalists along with the Intermediate Champions and the 3rd-5th place finishers.  The teams all scored within a few points of each other at Sectionals and with a new pattern dance being competed, it could be anyone’s game.

Lewis and Bye have already had success at the novice level, winning the pewter medal at nationals last season.  They set the pace at sectionals scoring seven points higher than the rest of the competition.  They scored an impressive 25 points in the Blues Pattern Dance at sectionals, but that dance will not be competed at nationals.  They have some breathing room, but they’ll want to bring up their Starlight Waltz score and score well on their Paso if they want to take home the gold medal.  They received a Level 4 on five of their six elements in the free dance at sectionals.  They’ll be just old enough to compete internationally next season and a gold or silver will likely get them a spot on the JGP.

Chadwick and Martin were extremely consistent across their events placing in the top 2 or 3 for all segments of the competition.  Their Starlight Waltz was strong and on par with their Blues.  They also had three Level 4 elements as well as one Level 3 in their free skate at Sectionals.  They finished 8th at this event last season but this is their 5th consecutive nationals and that experience is likely to pay off.

Patsis and Johnson posted the highest Starlight Waltz score at Sectionals, giving them an advantage in the pattern dance.  However, they did not cross the 50 point mark in their free dance at Sectionals and only received a Level 1 on their Diagonal Step Sequence.  If they can pull up that level, they should have no problem making the podium.

The Becker siblings are a very young team but already have two nationals medals under their belt.  They also train alongside several of the top junior ice dance teams in the country.  They have a good Starlight Waltz score but struggled in the Blues at their sectional.  They’ll need a good Paso Doble score to keep them in the hunt.  Their major weakness in their free dance at Sectionals was a Level 1 Circular Step Sequence which they could also improve to bring up their total score.

Feng and Ponomarenko are a very accomplished team.  She also qualified for nationals as a novice lady and the team are trained by his parents who are three time Olympic medalists in Ice Dance.  Their Cats free dance was the talk of sectionals but they received two Level 1 elements at that event.

Also in the hunt are Leonesio/Chambers, Gourianova/Petrov, Wren/Shchepetov and Berkovich/Jaffe.

My podium predictions:
Gold: Lewis/Bye
Silver: Patsis/Johnson
Bronze: Chadwick/Martin
Pewter: Becker/Becker

Bios of the competitors:
Becker/Becker: She is 10 and he is 12.  They represent the Washington Figure Skating Club.  They are the reigning Intermediate Champions and 2011 Juvenile Silver Medalists.  They won gold at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 7th best pattern dance, 2nd best free dance and 4th best total scores.

Berkovich/Jaffe: They represent the Pavilion Skating Club of Cleveland Heights.  They are the reigning Intermediate Pewter Medalists and finished 5th in Juvenile in 2011.  They won bronze at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 4th best pattern dance, 10th best free dance and 9th best total scores.

Chadwick/Martin: She is 15 and he is 16.  They represent the Detroit Skating Club.  They are the 2010 Juvenile Bronze Medalists and the 2011 Intermediate Bronze Medalists.  They finished 8th in Juvenile in 2009 and 8th as novices in 2012.  They won gold at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 3rd best pattern dance, 3rd best free dance and 2nd best total scores.

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

Gaughan/Litcho: She is 17 and he is 20.  She represents the Broadmoor Skating Club and he represents the Lilac City Figure Skating Club.  They won pewter at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.

Gourianova/Petrov: She represents the Washington Figure Skating Club and he represents the Hershey Figure Skating Club.  They won silver at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 9th best pattern dance, 4th best free dance and 7th best total scores.

Leonesio/Chambers: She is 16 and he is 19.  She represents the Los Angeles Figure Skating Club and he represents the Colorado College Skating Club.  They won bronze at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals. They have the 6th best pattern dance, 7th best free dance and 6th best total scores.

Lewis/Bye: She is 12 and he is 14.  She represents the All Year Figure Skating Club and he represents the Skating Club of New York.  They are the reigning Novice Pewter Medalists and finished 6th in Intermediate in 2011.  They won gold at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the best pattern dance, free dance and total scores.

Lucas/Kazansky: She is 16 and he is 18.  She represents the Triangle Figure Skating Club and he represents the Columbia Figure Skating Club of Maryland.   They finished 10th as novices in 2012.  They won pewter at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 10th best pattern dance, 9th best free dance and 10th best total scores.

Luo/Cheung: They represent the Pasadena Figure Skating Club.  They finished 11th as Intermediates in 2012 and 7th as Juveniles in 2011.  They won pewter at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.

Patsis/Johnson: She represents the Skokie Valley Skating Club and he represents the Broadmoor Skating Club.  They won silver at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 2nd best pattern dance, 6th best free dance and 3rd best total scores.

Wren/Shchepetov: They represent the Philadelphia Skating Club and Humanity Society.  They are the reigning Intermediate Bronze Medalists and the 2011 Juvenile Pewter Medalists.  They won bronze at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 5th best pattern dance, 8th best free dance and 8th best total scores.