2001 Easterns

2001 USFSA Eastern Sectional Championships
November 15-18, 2000
Marlborough, MA

Novice men short program

Just to hit the top finishers here...

Matt Lind (1) was the easy winner, landing triple lutz/double toe, double axel, and a back shoot-the-duck into a 'tano double flip. I had the impression that he skated with more flow and less gawkiness than he did at New Englands. One thing that bothered me about his program was that his circular footwork pattern was fairly small and didn't have too many steps in it; he is a big guy and ought to be able to cover more ice with this element. His music is "Phantom of the Opera".

Traighe Rouse (2) did a fine double axel, triple toe that he really had to fight to hang onto into a double toe that he fell on, fine double flip. Watching him in warmup, it looks like he's cleaned up the cheated and two-footed jumps that were holding him back last year. I think Traighe really has the "it" quality -- wonderful flow and extension and finishes off his moves. This program was a kind of swing/jive thing.

Adam Aronowitz (3) tried a double toe/triple toe combination but came down from the triple underrotated and on the wrong foot. Double axel was good but his double flip was pretty poor. I thought that his skating was fairly slow throughout. He is still tiny and it shows in his speed and ice coverage.

Donald DiGiovanni (4) did triple loop with a double three on the landing into a toe axel for his combination, and his death drop was kind of sloppy. Noah Abrahams (5) had a hand down and step-out on his triple salchow combination, while Jason Wong (6) fell on his. Justin Childers (7) did land triple salchow/double toe but messed up his double axel.

Junior ladies short program

This event was a real splatfest, sorry to say....

Chrissy Lipscomb (aka quad girl) got things started by doing a two-footed triple flip that was not preceeded by footwork, fell when she was just doing some choreography and posing, fell on a triple toe that was supposed to be her combination, slipped on the entrance into her spin combination, and eeked out a scratchy double axel. 14th place. 'Nuff said.

Dorothy Nowobilski continued in the same vein by falling out of her triple salchow, popping her axel, and doing a really travelly spin combination. She wound up 15th.

Louann Donovan likewise had a disappointing performance, doing a two-footed triple lutz into a double toe with a step-out, and also stepping out of her double axel. Plus her speed and ice coverage really seemed weak. Hard to believe that she ended up 3rd with this performance.

Joelle Forte managed to stand up on all her jumps, but her triple loop combination was obviously cheated. 5th place.

Colette Irving got off to a bad start right from the very beginning, taking a whopping fall in the warmup that took her a loooong time to recover from. For her program she did a triple toe where she really had to fight not to put her hand down into a toe axel, triple flip with a hand down, popped the axel into a waltz jump. 10th place.

Jennifer Park fell on both her triple salchow and double flip. 12th place.

Joanna Glick came out skating like the first competitor who actually wanted to go to Nationals. Triple lutz into a toe axel, triple flip without any preceeding footwork, double axel clean, pretty good spins that displayed her flexibility. Her program is the Mendelssohn violin concerto. Good enough for 1st place.

Andrea Varraux did a triple salchow/double toe combination, ground out the landing on her double axel, fell on the double flip. 9th place.

Lauren Thomas pretty much stole the show. She did a triple toe/double toe combination, very high double flip, double axel, good spins. She placed 2nd, but at least a few of us thought she should have won. While Joanna did more difficult jumps, Lauren did hers better, with more flow and security, and her in-between skating was of a higher quality as well. I noted down her music as "jungle music".

Samantha Huntt did triple toe/double toe and double flip, but fell on her double axel. 7th place.

Amanda Fritz's problem was screwing up the entrance to her layback so that it came out pathetically slow and short of the required rotations. She landed triple salchow/double toe, double flip, double axel. 6th place.

Suzanne McDonald fell on her double axel, did triple lutz/double toe combination, then popped her flip. The lutz looked to me to be of decent quality, but the two other errors dropped her to 11th place.

Lisa Iorio, like Suzanne, skated to "Zorro" -- remember the three in a row at Nationals last season? Apparently it hasn't discouraged skaters from using this music after all. :-( She did a triple salchow/toe axel combination, double axel, double flip. Her basic level of skating really isn't up to this level of competition and she was quite slow, which kept her down in 13th place.

Amy Bobrick did a triple lutz that was probably both flutzed and two-footed into a double toe, double flip, back spiral into a double axel where she had to grind out the landing. She was very fast, with good ice coverage. 4th place.

Meghan McManus turned in a decent performance with a triple toe/double toe combination, double flip, double axel. Maybe I missed some other error, but I thought her flow and connecting moves were above average. She ended up in 8th place.

Senior ladies short program

Dana Karelus fell on her triple salchow, did a clean double flip as her jump out of footwork. Spins and spirals were a bit weak, and her skating was otherwise unremarkable. 10th place.

Jackie Crugnola fell on both her double axel and triple salchow; she also did a double flip as her jump out of footwork. 14th place.

Camie Doyle did triple salchow/double toe, double axel, triple toe out of footwork to wind up 5th. Her problem was that, although her jumps were theoretically "clean", she pitched forward onto her toe picks on the landings of all of them and had basically no flow out of them.

Sara Wheat did triple lutz/double toe from a short entrance, double axel, triple flip as her jump out of footwork. Although she stood up on both the lutz and the flip, I thought both jumps looked cheated and possibly two-footed. Her layback also seemed sluggish and the program as a whole (to a disco version of "Sing Sing Sing", bleah!) seemed kind of flat. Some of the judges really dinged her in the required elements mark, and she ended up 3rd.

Patricia Mansfield had a decent skate, doing a two-footed triple lutz/double toe combination but doubling the toe loop out of footwork. Her spirals and layback were fine and she skated with a lot of speed and a sense of command. She ended up 6th.

Terry McCloskey dropped out of her salchow, flying camel may have been short of rotation, two-footed triple toe was not preceeded by footwork, fell on double axel. 13th place.

Midori Williams did a nice double axel but only a double salchow/double toe for her combination and double flip out of footwork. 7th place.

Elizabeth Kwon did a triple lutz that maybe was cheated into a double toe for her combination, and triple salchow as her jump out of footwork. Her music was the slow section of the Rachmaninoff "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini", but her cut had an annoying repeated phrase in it -- like the infamous Meno & Sand version of the "Blue Danube". Another thing that irritated me about her program was that she buried all three jump passes deep into the corners of the ice. Anyway, she clearly got a deduction for something, but still ended up in 1st place.

Windy Rohde fell on her triple salchow and popped her flip. At least she got the double axel. 12th place.

Alicia Cavanaugh did triple toe/double toe, triple salchow, double axel to claim 2nd place. While Wheat and Kwon were doing harder jumps, Cavanaugh's were of undeniably better quality -- high and fully rotated and with good speed and flow out on the landings. Plus her spins and connecting moves were very nicely done, and it's a good program that suits her ("pretty piano music", according to my notes).

Stephanie Roth is skating to "Paint It Black" and landed the same jump elements as Alicia to end up in 4th place. Basically, everything was just a notch below what Alicia did -- the jumps were not quite as well controlled, the spins were not as crisp, there was more plain stroking in between the elements.

Krissa Miller did a triple flutz into a toe axel, what I think was a triple flip, very tentative double axel with a step-out on the landing. Her flying camel had a lot of travel. Huge range on her first mark, from 3.5 to 5.1! She ended up 8th.

Kate Liberman did a double loop, two-footed double axel, triple toe that was also two-footed with a hand down into a double toe as her combination. It's too bad that she has such problems with her jumps because the rest of her skating -- spins, spirals, etc -- is wonderful. 11th place.

Katie Orscher, who was listed in the start order, withdrew. I guess she's done with skating singles and has decided to concentrate on pairs now.

More notes from Thursday

My notes on the junior and senior pairs are very sketchy and I'm feeling too tired to try to come up with anything coherent to say about them, sorry.

I caught both practices for the senior men and the long program practice for the junior men. Shepherd Clark and Derrick Delmore were no-shows for both of the senior men's practices. In their absence, Johnny Weir is looking like the probable winner of the event, as he was doing triple axel/triple toe combinations and I even saw him land a triple lutz/triple toe/triple loop combination. Scott Smith seems to have left his quad salchow at home; I saw him do several attempts in both practices but he really only came close on one of them. Josh Figurido had a good runthrough in the short program practice and a not-so-good one for his long program. The good news is that his triple flip is looking pretty consistent and that usually seems to be the jump that gives him the most trouble.

The junior men's competition looks like a real toss-up. Nick LaRoche is probably the favorite but who knows if he will leave most of his jumps on the warm-up again. He seemed to spend most of his time doing triple lutz/triple toe combinations. Mauro Bruni has added a triple loop and triple toe/triple toe combination to his repertoire since New Englands, but was having some problems again with popping his flip and lutz. It's surely a mental problem because when he finally gets the jumps rotated, they're usually absolutely perfect. Rusty Fein, Adam Kaplan, Shaun Rogers, and Shaun Tolson are in contention too; they seemed to be having mixed success with their jumps. Brad Griffies, sad to say, continues to struggle with his jumps and wasn't really landing much of anything cleanly, even the easier triples like the toe loop and salchow.

I saw most of the novice ladies short programs, but didn't take detailed notes. In case people are wondering what went wrong with some of the favorites, Shayna Syken fell on her triple loop, Kelsey Drewel popped her axel and fell on her double flip, and Emily Hughes had problems on all three jump elements, including a major splat on her combination.

Junior men short program

Friday's events started out with the junior men's short. I was really disappointed that they scheduled this event to run at exactly the same time as the novice men's free skate, which I also wanted to see, but I decided the juniors held more interest for me this year.

Brian Bednarz (8) tried triple toe/double loop for his combination but could not control the landing of the second jump. Double flip out of footwork.

Joe Haigh (14) managed to stand up on a horribly cheated triple salchow/double toe combination, equally cheated double axel, and double flip. Watching him in practice yesterday, I had a hard time imagining how he could have passed his junior test because his technique on all his jumps is so flawed -- picture a guy who jumps like Sonja Henie, and that's him. On the positive side, his surfer-dude program was entertaining and he really seemed to be into it.

Michael Wagner (13) opened with a hard fall on his double axel in which he slammed into the boards. Double lutz/double toe combination, and a double flip seemingly thrown in as an afterthought at the end of the program as the referee was blowing the whistle on him.

David Stein (6) got the double axel OK, had some turns in the middle of his triple toe/double toe combination, was really flying into his double flip but fell on it. He also slipped in his spin combination, although I noted that his flying camel had a particularly nice "fly".

Mauro Bruni (3) led off the second group skating to "Happy Valley". Triple flip, double axel, and triple lutz/double toe all looked fine, but then he slipped on his spin combination before getting it recentered and back under control. The flying camel looked stronger than it did earlier this season, at least. I think Mauro would still have been third even without the mistake on the spin because his speed and power still need some work compared to the guys who finished ahead of him.

Jordan Miller (12) landed a slightly wild double axel, fell on what I thought was his triple flip but in retrospect was probably supposed to be a lutz, then managed to stand up on another triple flip, although it was probably cheated. Flying camel looked weak.

Shaun Tolson (10) unfortunately had a disastrous skate. Triple toe/double toe was OK, but his double axel went up sideways and he took a really hard fall on it, and then he popped his flip. His spin combination travelled a lot, too. I really think he is a better skater than this.

Christopher Vaeth (5) had a pretty good skate, doing a triple toe/double toe combination and a scratchy triple flip that may have been a bit cheated. He skated to Spanish guitar music and the program was pretty well presented.

Rusty Fein (2) skated a very nice program with a triple flip, triple lutz/double toe, double axel. He looks like he's ready to go to Nationals. I forgot to write down anything about his music, but he was dressed in grey velvet.

Nicholas LaRoche (1) also did triple flip and triple lutz/double toe. He did pick up a couple deductions for recentering his spin combination and for a straight-line step sequence that didn't cover the full length of the ice, but his speed and power are so impressive that it was enough to put him ahead of Rusty. It's really helping Nick this season that he's finally learned how to do a good solid camel spin. Last year he was picking up deductions all over the place on that element.

Richard Reyor (11) did double toe/triple toe combination with a step out on the second jump, double axel was OK, popped the flip. He was really, really slow.

Shaun Rogers (4), last year's national novice champion, did triple flip, popped lutz/double toe, double axel with a touch down of the free foot after the landing. I think he was hurt by his choice of music, which was some familiar classical stuff that I couldn't quite place, with a really fast and frantic tempo that he obviously couldn't keep up with.

Brad Griffies (9) skated to "Stray Cat Strut" in a different outfit than he was using earlier this season -- this one looked all black with a band of purple and white beading around his waist. Triple flip with a hand down, triple toe that he all but fell on into a double toe for his combination, double axel a little wild. His presentation and musical sense are the best of this field, and it's a shame to see him struggling so much with his jumps.

Adam Kaplan (7) opened with a nice double axel, had an unfortunate fall in his straight-line footwork sequence, triple loop/double toe was nice, spin combination was a bit sluggish, fell on triple flip. He seemed a kind of "off" throughout the whole program.

Junior ladies free skate

I'm feeling too lazy to write up detailed notes on everybody tonight, so I'm just going to hit the highlights.

Suzanne McDonald (6th in the long, 8th overall) started out strongly landing a triple lutz/double toe sequence, triple flip, triple loop, and triple salchow, but the second half of her program was a disaster with popped jumps and weak spins.

Amanda Fritz's triples were two triple salchows and a triple loop. Her program was otherwise more or less clean, but I was surprised by how high she ended up in the standings (3rd in the long, 4th overall). I felt that she had no power or flow in her stroking, some of her extensions and spin positions were fairly weak, and that she had little or no expression or variation in tempo in presenting her program. I didn't recognize her music, but it included a march-like section and had a generally militaristic feel to it.

Collette Irving made the big jump from 10th in the short program to 1st in the long and 3rd overall, and it was totally deserved. Her triples were triple flip, triple toe/double toe, triple loop, triple salchow with a step out into a double toe, triple toe. She skated to "Swan Lake" and presented it well, although I admit I kept having flashbacks to those poor Japanese dancers at Skate America.

Louann Donovan (2nd in the long, 1st overall) did a possibly two-footed triple lutz/double toe combination, triple toe/double toe, probably two-footed triple loop, triple salchow, triple toe. Her "Chicago" program had an awful lot of bump-and-grind wiggling and posing that irritates me, and she still lacks speed.

Amy Bobrick (12th in the long, 10th overall) is a powerhouse by comparison, but her long program was a mess. I don't think she landed any triples at all cleanly. On top of that, with about a minute left in her program the fire alarm went off in the building and she continued to skate to the end through the ensuing chaos, although I don't know how the judges were able to stay focused on what she was doing. After she was done, the announcer asked everyone to leave the building because there really *was* a small fire. Eventually the fire trucks showed up, we were allowed back in the building after about a half-hour delay, and the remaining ladies were given another 6-minute warmup. Amy probably could have asked to reskate the last part of her program, but I didn't see what good it would have done her, since she had already made so many mistakes up to that point.

Lauren Thomas's (5) lack of experience showed more in the free skate than it did in the short program; the only triples she landed were a toe and salchow, neither in combination. Her doubles were generally all of nice quality, but the program as a whole had a more novice-like feel to it. She skated to "Mulan".

Joelle Forte's triples were a triple salchow double toe combination, fall out of a triple toe, a two-footed triple loop, triple salchow. It just wouldn't be a competition without "Malaguena", but I thought her choreography was fairly weak, especially in the adagio section that had too much plain stroking, plus she had some really loooong tentative jump set-ups. 8th in the long, 6th overall.

Joanna Glick (4th in the long, 2nd overall) did triple lutz with a step out, triple loop/double loop combination with the second jump underrotated and landed at a complete stand-still, triple flip that was either cheated or two-footed or both, and a triple lutz/double toe in the corner that I couldn't see very well. Interesting that she does not attempt either the toe loop or salchow in her program. She skated to a mix of violin music and "Nessun Dorma", and the rest of her skating was of the same uneven quality as her jumps. She does have a really nice layback spin.

Senior men short program

The senior men were reduced in number from 9 to 6 as Josh Murphy withdrew to concentrate on pairs, Shepherd Clark withdrew for unknown reasons, and Derrick Delmore pulled out, I heard, because his father died. I imagine Derrick will get a bye to Nationals but Shep is probably done.

Joe Knazek (4) did triple flip/double toe, double axel, double loop out of footwork. He also slipped on the camel in his spin combination.

Scott Smith (5) went for the quad salchow as his combination, but fell on it. He hadn't been landing it at all in practices here and I didn't think he had much hope of doing it in the program, either. Then he doubled the flip (which had also been giving him a lot of trouble in practice) and kind of skidded a bit on the landing of his double axel.

Josh Figurido (2) did triple flip with hands down as his jump out of footwork, a slightly two-footed triple lutz/double toe combination, good double axel. His spins were the class of the field, every one of them precisely centered, very fast, and with crisp and effective positions. He's skating to "Nightmare" and it's a good program for him. Neat outfit, too; black, of course, with the top made out of some shiny fabric with asymmetric white and gold square patterns around the neckline, shoulders, and short sleeves.

Ian MacAdam (6) did a triple toe with hands on hips as his jump out of footwork, popped his axel, tried a spread eagle into a triple loop/double toe as his combination but botched the landings of both jumps. The highlight of his program was his usual spectacularly high flying sit spin, and he does some interesting edge work in there, too.

Kurt Fromknecht (3) did triple loop/triple toe with a hard fall, double axel that he fell out of on two feet, triple flip, spin combination travelled a lot, then a fall on his flying sit spin. It's the same "Money" program he's had for a while. I've seen it so many times that I'm pretty tired of it, but the judges seemed to like it and gave him respectable presentation marks in spite of all the errors.

Johnny Weir (1) landed double axel, triple axel/double toe, triple lutz. Some of his technical merit marks were surprisingly low (he even got a couple of 4.9's) and some of us were trying to figure out why. I'm pretty sure he got a deduction for recentering his change sit spin and it may also have been short of rotation -- at least it seemed awfully slow to me. I also heard a suggestion that his straight-line footwork sequence maybe didn't cover the full length of the ice. I dunno. He's skating to "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg", BTW, wearing a light blue/gray shirt with a black cummerbund.

Pairs and dance

I caught the junior original dance earlier in the day. Not too much I can say except that the standings are an accurate reflection of the quality of the dances. Goodwin & Obzansky were obviously the best of the field, skating a dance that most clearly interpreted the character of the rhythms they chose (foxtrot and quickstep), plus skating closer together and with more precision than the other couples. I thought Galler-Rabinowitz & Mitchell's quickstep section was not "quick" enough -- too many long edges, etc -- plus they got very far apart on their side-by-side step pass. Frisch & Bommentre, I thought, had simpler lifts and were a bit sloppy in places, while May & Antonov were obviously weaker skaters; they skated awfully far apart for much of their program, for instance.

There was an interesting match-up in the junior pairs between Blinder & Allen and Dean & Murphy, both teams that have qualified for the Junior Grand Prix Final next month. The former are stronger on the singles elements and throws, while the latter have the advantage on lifts because of their size differential, but are having lots of problems due to Dean's weakness on her solo jumps. (E.g., it seems she is not even close to having a double axel and basically just fakes it.) Both teams had pleasant programs -- Blinder & Allen's used what I think was the Dvorak cello concerto, choreographed in the typical UDel style, while Dean & Murphy skated to solo piano music by Chopin.

Senior pairs were pretty much a waste of time. Hayes & Gillam walked through their program (not sure if one of them is injured or what). Woodman & Peterson's program was a mess as she was having tons of trouble with the throws and solo jumps. Handy & Hunt started out OK, but Laura was also having problems with her solo jumps, and towards the end of the program they also started coming unravelled on their lifts. There is not much of a height differential between them and I wonder if that is giving them problems.

Junior free dance

A few brief comments on the dance.... Keep in mind that I'm not really an expert on this discipline!

May & Antonov (4) skated to some new-age type music with a female vocal and a heavy beat. Or at least, they were supposed to be skating to it, because for large sections of their dance it sure didn't *look* like they were skating to the beat. Some of their transitions in and out of lifts looked awkward to me, and they were fairly slow.

Frisch & Bommentre (3) skated a Latin program with flamenco-type guitar and what I think was a cha-cha section (I'm not so good at identifying Latin dance rhythms, sorry). I noted that they did a change-direction rotational lift that looked impressive, but that they got way out of sync with one another in the circular step sequence at the end of their program.

Galler-Rabinowitz & Mitchell (2) skated to "Zorro". As in the original dance, they seemed to be particularly good at long, deep edges and looked smooth and flowy. But it seemed that they skated a lot of their program fairly far apart in hand-to-hand holds. I noted that their straight-line steps did not seem to match the tempo of the music. Also, their series of synchronized twizzles were done as mirror steps and I found it hard to tell whether they were really in unison with each other.

Goodwin & Obzansky (1), from their costuming and music choice, looked to me as if they were trying to clone Silverstein & Pekarek's free dance from last year. It was another new-age thing with a crooning female vocal and a heavy back beat. They did a better job of dancing in time with their music than May & Antonov did, but the beat was a lot more overpowering in the music than it was in their skating. Anyway, I think they did deserve to win, even if I found their dance somewhat underwhelming.

Junior men free skate

The junior men's event turned out to be a pretty good competition, with some good skating and a couple surprises. Shaun Rogers (1) did triple flip, popped his lutz, triple toe/double toe, triple salchow, triple loop, triple toe. His program was skated to Copland's "Rodeo" and had some interesting bits of choreography -- a step sequence that featured brackets, loops, and edge pulls, and a series of inside axels and walley jumps. He had decent speed throughout the program although I felt that he still "skates young", looking like exactly what he is: a good novice skater who just moved up to junior.

Rusty Fein (2) did triple salchow, popped a loop, triple lutz with a scary landing into a toe axel, triple flip, another lutz, triple toe, another triple toe not in combination, popped an axel. He got fairly messy towards the end of his program -- besides the popped axel, his spins were sloppy, etc. I heard third-hand from someone who saw him backstage afterwards that he appeared to be very ill; I had been wondering why he skipped his morning warmup session. Rusty's program is a classical mishmash including the "Montagues and Capulets" section from Prokofiev's "Romeo & Juliet" and the Albinoni "Adagio", and he wore a fancy burgundy and gold renaissance-style outfit.

Mauro Bruni (3) landed triple flip, triple lutz, triple toe, triple salchow, and triple salchow/double toe combination. The triple loop and triple toe/triple toe I'd seen him doing in practice didn't make it into the competition program, but he still looked totally thrilled with the way he skated, and deservedly so. At this point, the thing that is holding him back is lack of speed and ice coverage. His jumps are not real big, but they're neat and clean and landed with good flow and strong posture and carriage. His program is "The Man in the Iron Mask".

Nicholas LaRoche (4) has the opposite problem: more speed and power than he can control. His jumps were a fine double axel, wild tilted triple lutz/double toe, triple flip with a step out, triple salchow with a hand down and step out into a double toe, popped loop, triple lutz with a step out, popped axel. After he missed both his planned triple/triple combinations, I was wondering why he didn't throw in a triple toe somewhere at the end of the program -- it seemed like it had a lot of empty space and plain stroking where he wasn't doing very much. Anyway, if Shaun and Mauro still look a bit novice-like, Nick overall really looks like he belongs in seniors. It seems strange that he isn't trying a triple axel yet, given how huge all his other jumps are.

Adam Kaplan (5) landed triple flip, loop, and salchow; he doubled both lutz attempts and fell on the triple toe right at the end of his program. There were some nice moments in his choreography -- he really has a good spiral, for instance -- but, like Mauro, he was hurt by lack of speed.

Below Adam, the quality of the skating dropped off substantially. Christopher Vaeth, who did well in the short, had a disastrous free skate and knocked himself completely out of contention. Shaun Tolson skated much more conservatively than he did at New Englands, doubling a whole bunch of his jumps, and it wasn't enough to move him up much after his disappointing short. I was told that Brad Griffies apparently re-injured himself in the morning practice; in any case, he withdrew before the free skate, which I was sorry about.

Senior ladies free skate

Just to hit the top finishers again....

Elizabeth Kwon (1) did double axel, a triple lutz from a Tonia Kwiatkowski-style crossed-foot entrance, which she two footed, in combination with a double toe; triple salchow/triple loop combination with the second jump underrotated and two-footed; double flip; long forward spiral jumping directly off the edge into a double axel with a step-out, triple toe/triple toe with the second jump again underrotated and two-footed, triple salchow out of a spread eagle. Nobody sitting near me could identify her music, which sounded like a movie score in a fake baroque style. Last year I thought Kwon would have been more at home competing in juniors, but this year she looks more mature in her skating and like she definitely belongs in seniors now. OTOH, I dunno about her strategy of going for messy cheated triple/triple combinations instead of for cleanly landed solo triples.

Sara Wheat (2) opened with a triple lutz from such a short entrance that I could not tell if it was flutzed or not. (I must say that I don't really like this trend which Slutskaya, Kwan, etc are also setting. I think the judges should give more credit to skaters who show that they can actually sustain and control the back outside edge entrance. In Wheat's case, I felt that the entrance was so quick because she *could not* hold the edge, not because she *chose* to do a footwork entrance to the jump for the sake of choreographic variety.) Anyway, she then did a triple toe, double flip, fell on triple salchow, fell on the entrance to a spin, double axel noticibly lacking in power, two-footed triple flip in combination with a double toe with a double three turn out on the landing, triple loop. In addition to the jump problems, she was quite slow and I thought her program (more movie music?) and choreography were a step backwards from last year. I thought that with last year's Tchaikovsky 6th Symphony program they were trying to make her look more mature and it worked, and that with this program they were trying to make her look like a power skater but it didn't work at all.

Stephanie Roth (3) has exactly the kind of power that Wheat doesn't. Her jumps were triple toe, double lutz, triple salchow/double toe, triple salchow by itself, triple toe in sequence with a single toe (oops), double axel, double flip. She was practicing the triple flip, but not having very good luck with it. She used "Firebird" for her program and I think both this and her short program are a step up from the ones she had last year, in terms of choreography, but it seems like she still doesn't get much respect from the judges. Personally, I'm getting bored with "baby ballerinas" and I find Roth's straightforward athleticism refreshing.

Alicia Cavanaugh (4) did a more traditional "pretty" program. Her jumps were triple toe/double toe, double axel/double toe, double lutz, triple salchow that she fell out of, double axel, triple salchow that was two-footed, double loop, double flip out of a spread eagle. Good spins including one of the better Biellmanns I've seen.

Camie Doyle (5) did triple salchow/double toe, triple toe/double toe, double axel, all clean and of better quality than the jumps she did in her short program. After the strong opening, she fell on a triple salchow (actually, she did the jump, and then just lost control of her landing edge), ground out another double axel, and then had a massive splat on a triple toe attempt. Double loop at the end of the program. Up until the second fall I thought she already had enough technical content to beat out Cavanaugh for the 4th spot at Nationals, but that fall was so disruptive that she lost it on the second mark.

Patricia Mansfield (6) managed to land only one triple, a salchow. Her jumps generally were looking pretty wonky in practice as well as competition, but in her in-between skating and connecting elements like her spirals, she projected an air of confidence that reminded me that she is still the same skater who once placed 5th at Nationals.

Midori Williams (7) managed to land both a triple toe and a triple salchow/double toe combination, but no double axel, and her presentation looked even more half-hearted than is usual for her. In fact, it looked like she was about to give up completely about half-way through the program. Krissa Miller (8) landed a bunch of massively cheated triples and got basically no credit at all from the judges for them. Below that, things got pretty messy. I did very much enjoy Kate Liberman's program, though -- her triples look pretty hopeless at this point, but the rest of her skating is of very high quality and her spirals and spins are breathtaking.

Senior men free skate

Joe Knazek (6) was the first guy up. His jumps were double axel, triple toe with a step into another triple toe, triple flip with hands down, triple salchow also with hands down, double axel, double lutz, triple loop again with hands down, triple salchow with steps into a double toe. The death drop at the end of his program was really wonky. Joe's big problem is that he needs to work more on his carriage and extension and the second mark generally. He skated to the same music that Holly Cook used for about 3 years, back when she was competing (Louis diCesari says it's something by Vangelis).

Scott Smith (4) had a disappointing skate in view of the reports of how well he'd done at South Atlantics. Popped the lutz, quad salchow was heavily two-footed and completely uncontrolled on the landing, double axel, tripped while doing some slow edgey stuff, flying camel didn't fly, triple loop was underrotated and two-footed, triple flip also looked two-footed, nice death drop, walley into a triple salchow, triple toe/triple toe, good spin combination. The first half of the program was really slow and tentative but he picked it up towards the end. I didn't recognize his music, but it was classical-sounding with a relatively slow tempo.

Ian Macadam (5) did a two-footed triple lutz, double axel/double toe, attempted a double flip/half loop/triple toe sequence but the triple toe was cheated and two-footed, triple toe with hands on hips was also two-footed, clean triple salchow, walley jump into a spread eagle into a triple loop again underrotated and two-footed, double axel, series with split, split flip, walley, and double flip into a huge flying sit spin. Ian's program was set to Copland's "Rodeo", and it was packed with unusual and difficult connecting elements that were exceptionally well done -- things like a flying camel with a layover position, a back cross-foot sit spin, a big cross-foot mazurka jump, spread eagles, and the like. One thing that really caught my eye is that he did a counterclockwise circular step pattern, then reversed direction and did a complete circle clockwise as well. Ian's jump mechanics are kind of scary, but he is a fine skater in other respects and he came very, very close to bumping off Scott Smith for a spot at Nationals -- the panel was split 5-4 between them.

Kurt Fromknecht (2) also showed up at this competition with a new long program that knocked my socks off. At club competitions earlier this season he had been competing in the short program only, and now I understand why it was taking him so long to get his free skate ready; the whole program is packed with difficult footwork and connecting steps and it must have been a long process to put this together and become comfortable with skating it. The music is a mix of "The Four Seasons" and some modern violin music with an intense and angry tone to it, that is almost tango-like at times. Kurt's jumps were kind of wonky through the whole program, though: he did triple toe/triple toe with a step out on the second jump, double axel with a step out into double toe, triple lutz/double toe, triple salchow very wild, triple flip that looked two footed into a series of leaps, triple loop, double axel, another triple toe with hands down. He fell on a butterfly right at the end of his program.

Josh Figurido (3) had a typical competition performance for him, which is to say that it wasn't anywhere near the level of his skating in practice. Since he's from Boston I've had a lot of opportunities over the years to see him skate in practice, and I've found that there's a lot to enjoy and appreciate about his skating -- beautiful posture and carriage, dance awareness, solid jump technique, terrific spins, etc. But when the judges are watching, the jumps in particular tend to desert him. This time he did triple lutz with a step out into a double toe, triple flip with a step out into a double toe, fine double axel with a beautifully extended landing, triple salchow that he hung onto, fall on triple loop (which always used to be his best triple!), popped another lutz, inside axel, triple toe/double toe, double toe (oops). Spins were still above average, but he was very slow. Still, I'm really pleased that he's qualified for Nationals which will be in his home town.

Johnny Weir (1) had a pretty shaky warmup but was able to deliver the goods in his long program for the first time that I've ever seen. Triple lutz/triple toe, triple axel/triple toe, triple flip, popped the second axel, triple loop, triple salchow. He was quite fast and had good ice coverage. His marks were not as high as they might have been given his jump content (around 5.4 in both technical merit and presentation). I think part of the problem is that his program is heavily front-loaded, with only the loop and the salchow in the second half of the program, and some long sequences in the second half where he was mostly just stroking around the ice with a few turns here and there. Another likely problem is his lack of expression -- the whole program seemed kind of flat and lifeless. He's skating to ethnic-sounding zither music. His costume, BTW, includes a purple vest with big tassels hanging off his shoulders -- he had those tassels last year, too. Anyway, this was a very impressive skate for a kid his age, and he certainly has the potential to make top 5 at Nationals this year and displace Ryan Bradley in the process.


Lighting in the arena was very poor -- I wasn't very happy with how poorly my photos were coming out, so I gave up on photography completely after Friday morning (and just concentrated on taking notes, which is much easier when I'm not trying to juggle a camera at the same time). So, there are no photos of the senior men, or of any of the free skates.

Photos are Copyright (c) 2000, Sandra J. Loosemore, and are provided for personal viewing only.

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