2002 USFSA Eastern Sectional Championships
November 29-Dec 1, 2001
This was a long day of travel and skating, and I'm sure other people have better notes than I did (since I was trying to take photos at the same time), so I'll just hit the highlights.
Lauren Thomas also had a clean skate to take second, but she did only a triple toe/double toe combination and double loop as the jump out of steps. It's the same program she used last year and has good choreography and difficulty in the step sequences.
Kelsey Drewel was lucky to be in third after a disappointing fall on her triple lutz and trouble on her flying sit spin. She also did only a double loop instead of a triple.
Meghan Diotalevi landed the other triple lutz combination of the event, but it was a little labored and overall her skating didn't have the quality of the skaters who finished above her.
Emily Hughes (5) landed a triple flip/double toe combination and an obviously cheated triple loop, but fell on her double axel. Adriana Desanctis (6) fell on both triple lutz and loop.
Surprise! Patricia Mansfield is back! She fell on her attempt at a triple lutz, but got the double axel and triple toe, and skated her whole program with good attack, and in this field it was good enough for first place.
Shayna Syken squeaked into second place by landing her triple lutz/double toe combination. But she fell on her triple loop and seemed fairly slow.
Andrea Varreaux (3rd) skated the closest thing to a clean program, with a triple toe/double toe combination and a very wild landing on a cheated triple salchow -- I wasn't sure if she put her hand down or not.
Stacey Pensgen hung on to 4th place after falling on her triple lutz and barely hanging on to her double axel. She did a triple toe as the jump out of footwork. Overall, I thought she looked pretty tentative.
Cheryl Smith (5th) did a two-footed triple loop, triple salchow/double toe, double axel with a hand down. She also skated pretty tentatively and her spins were not up to her usual standard, either. When she skates with more attack and sureness, Cheryl is perfectly capable of getting presentation scores in the 5's, but that didn't happen here.
Sara Wheat and Stephanie Roth both had disastrous skates with multiple mistakes. Kate Liberman, OTOH, turned in a good performance for her; the double axel was landed on one foot and the triple loop in her combination was only slightly two-footed.
The big surprise of this event was Anna Peng burying herself in 8th place by falling on both her triple toe and double axel. After seeing her at Wissahickon last summer, I thought she was likely to win not only this event, but Nationals as well.
Orscher & Lucash managed a more or less clean short program with side-by-side triple toes and a throw triple salchow. Their lift was a fairly simple toe lasso which went to 1-arm but with no change of position. Weak points for them were the pair spin (very slow) and solo spins (no unison), and an overall sense of cautiousness through the whole program. BTW, they were wearing G&G's "Requiem" costumes, which I had always thought were black and white from TV and photos, but in person they're two shades of gray.
Hinzmann & Biancosino also went for the triple toes, but he fell on his. Throw triple salchow was good, lift was even simpler than O&L's, other elements were OK until he fell again in their straight-line footwork. Oops. They did have nice unison in their solo spins, at least.
Long day again, just minimal notes here.
Matt Lind and Adam Aronowitz split the second and third place ordinals, which surprised me because I thought Matt was clearly ahead. He did triple lutz/double toe and triple loop, while Adam obviously two-footed the landing of his lutz, did only a double loop, and had a really weak camel as well.
Brad Griffies ended up in 4th place, doing a triple lutz with a step out into a double toe and double loop. He skated fairly slowly and cautiously throughout the program, but he seemed very happy with his performance.
Quick notes on others in the field: We got to see the *other* David Pelletier here. I found myself more impressed by his elaborate choreography and costuming than his skating. Mauro Bruni took himself out of contention by botching both his combination and double axel, and his clever choreography and good presentation wasn't enough to hold him up. Everyone I was sitting with was going ga-ga over Kevin Curtis, who has some of the nicest spiral and spin positions I've ever seen from a male skater. Too bad he had to jump, too.
The rest of the competitors were splatting all over the ice. It was pretty ugly. When Adriana Desanctis skated in the next-to-last group, I thought her one good triple (salchow) and one that was barely squeaked out (loop) would not move her up into the top 4, but it turned out to be enough, in combination with her speed and basic skating. Lauren Thomas left the ice in tears after landing only one triple salchow and one triple toe, but that turned out to be enough to get her to Nationals, too. Emily Hughes at least looked happy with her skate, after landing a badly cheated triple lutz, one-foot axel/triple salchow combination, and a scary triple toe. Meanwhile, Kelsey Drewel completely imploded -- between the falls and pops, the only jump content in her program was a triple toe and two doubles.
Derrick Delmore went for a quad salchow in his short program and also fell, but I thought it was a better attempt than Weiss's, as it was fully rotated and landed on one foot -- he just could not hold the landing. Derrick also got the triple axel and triple lutz cleanly and you could make an argument for putting him ahead of Weiss. His spins were of very good quality and he interprets his "Cotton Club" program well.
Shepherd Clark is really back! Triple axel with a step out (I didn't really expect him to land this, since he wasn't in practice), triple lutz/double loop, fall on triple loop -- normally, this is Shep's best jump, but he sometimes misses it out of plain lack of concentration. Shep is still skating the "1812" program he's had for ages.
Scott Smith did a two-footed triple lutz in combination with double toe, made a mess of his triple axel attempt, triple loop out of steps.
Rusty Fein did a triple flip out of footwork, squeaked out a triple lutz/double toe, double axel. Rusty's spins and in between skating were kind of weak, though. After practice on Thursday I spotted him applying ice packs to both ankles, and I hear he's lost a lot of practice time due to this injury.
Ian Macadam did a triple flip as his jump out of steps and triple loop/double toe out of a spread eagle as his combination, but I thought both triples were a bit two-footed. Ian's best element is his huge flying sitspin, and he always has interesting choreography and difficult footwork and connecting steps in his programs.
Richard Reyor was way out of his league in this event; he missed all three jump elements, and the rest of his skating was not really at a senior level, either.
I also saw the junior ODs, but again didn't take notes. Both Frisch & Bommentre and Devins & O'Keefe chose "Spanish waltz" music so lacking in a distinguishable beat, and choreography so un-waltz-like, that I wouldn't have been able to identify them as such without looking at the music cheat sheet they had posted. I personally would have had Goodwin & Obzansky ahead of Galler-Rabinowitz & Mitchell, although I wasn't paying a great deal of attention to checking off the required elements. One curious feature of the latter team's dance was that their straightline step sequence used mirror steps that crossed back and forth instead of side-by-side steps. As for G&O, both their tango and flamenco showed plenty of attitude and sharp movements, but I have to question whether lyrics that include a loud shout of "Merde!" are really appropriate.....
Matt Lind had a similar kind of performance as well, landing triple lutz/double toe, triple loop, two-footed triple flip, triple salchow/double toe, triple toe, triple lutz with another slight two-foot, cheated triple salchow, double axel. Skating was fairly slow and deliberate throughout, typical bland Scotvold style choreography.
Adam Aronowitz finished 3rd with a messy performance of a program to "The Red Violin" that seemed a bit too ambitious for him both technically and choreographically. I think his only clean triples were two salchows but he also had a two-footed triple flip and a cheated triple lutz that he seemed to get at least some credit for from the judges.
Mauro Bruni pulled up to 4th in the free skate and 6th overall with a decent long program. His jumps were triple flip, triple toe/double toe, triple salchow, and two double axels. Both lutzes and the loop were popped, though. Mauro still seems to be in a phase where he is having a lot of trouble just rotating his jumps in warmup as well as competition, but when he did get them they would be very neat, high-quality jumps. This was the same "Man in the Iron Mask" program as last year, but I noticed that he's picked up the speed and added a few nuances to the elements. BTW, Mauro is now being coached by Slavka Button.
Brad Griffies finished 5th in the free and 4th overall with a similarly up and down program. Only two clean triples -- toe and salchow -- but he held the performance together. Brad's a very musical skater with lovely carriage and that helped him out. He used last year's Spanish guitar program here. Nice that Brad is going to get to skate at Nationals himself, instead of just all the costumes he's made for other competitors!
Sara Wheat actually won the free skate and pulled up to place 3rd overall. It wasn't a great performance, though: only two clean triples -- loop and salchow -- and a lutz with a turn out into a double toe. On the positive side, Sara has a much, much better program this year than last, set to "Coppelia" and choreographed by Lea Ann Miller. It really brings out the strength of her edges and the quality of her basic skating. Jumps aside, she clearly is the best skater in the field at this event.
Stacey Pensgen took 2nd in the long and 3rd overall with a performance that included only two clean triples, lutz and salchow. Even the jumps she landed, though, looked kind of out of control. New program to "Dr. Zhivago" in a blue dress. Hmmmm, just a little derivative of one of her coach's former students.....
Andrea Varraux hung on to 4th place with a performance that seemed fairly unremarkable to me. Triples were two toe loops (the second one may have been two-footed) and a salchow. Shayna Syken was 5th with a performance that started out with a huge fall on a lutz where she jammed her pick in the ice before she even got up into the air, and then managed to spike herself in the foot somehow as well. She got up and skated the rest of her program with a big gash in her boot. She went on to land a triple loop and triple salchow, amazingly.
I have to give a small rant here: Stephanie Roth was robbed! After the mess she made of her short program, she came back with a very good free skate with two triple toes, two triple salchows, and a decent attempt at a triple flip, all skated in her usual powerful style. Yet she got absolutely no respect from the judges for this, and ended up being placed only 6th. I kind of feel like the judges are dismissing her because she's too big and doesn't skate in a stereotypical "girly" style.
Derrick Delmore took 2nd with a 5-triple skate: lutz, loop, toe, salchow, another toe. Fell on the quad salchow and first triple axel, popped the flip, second axel looked like an intentional double. I was trying to compare this mentally to what the guys at Midwesterns did, and I figure he might have finished third or fourth there, with neither a triple axel nor a triple/triple combination. If he actually landed both the quad and an axel, though, the rest of his skating is of high enough quality that he could make the podium at Nationals. This long program, to "Lawrence of Arabia", is the best he's ever had, too.
Scott Smith was 3rd with a pretty messy program: turn out of triple axel, falls on quad salchow, triple lutz, and triple axel one after another. Got the triple salchow, then two-footed the flip, got the loop, triple toe/triple toe was probably two-footed on the back half. He's still somewhat lacking in speed, the program and choreography didn't really draw people in, and I find his stiff hands distracting.
Shepherd Clark ended up 4th, skating what I think was the same program he used when he skated at last year's New Englands, or at least the same music. I wasn't sure how much of the choreograhy he was improvising, but there was a lot of stroking around, and I recognized much of the rest as being borrowed directly from other programs of his; e.g., the opening was exactly the same as his short program, and he's doing the same straight-line steps that have been in every program of his for about the last 10 years. Anyway, his jumps were popped axel, triple toe, triple lutz, triple loop/single toe/fall, another triple lutz not in combination, double flip, double salchow/double toe.
Rusty Fein struggled to a 5th-place finish, landing only a triple salchow and lutz and double axel at the beginning of his program before he started to unravel and double and fall on the rest of his jumps. He was looking like he was in serious distress by the end of his program; I'm not sure how much was due to pain from his sore ankles, and how much to blame on not having been able to train because of the injury. Not qualifying for Nationals will at least give him an excuse to take some time off to try to heal now, and it looks like he really needs it. His program to "The Planets" looked like it had potential but not much of it came through in this performance.
Ian Macadam might have been able to move up a spot with a better skate, but it didn't happen. He only got one clean triple, a flip. The loop and salchow were both way underrotated and landed on the wrong foot. The amazing flying sit spin was missing from this program, but Ian's cool move of the day was a spread eagle that started in a complete, large circle at center ice and then continued in a straight line up to the end of the rink and around into the corner.
Richard Reyor again finished last with a program where he landed only single and double jumps. I was paying closer attention to his skating this time and saw that he has fairly good control over his footwork and edge skills, but he tends to do it all almost in slow motion.
Photos are Copyright (c) 2001, Sandra J. Loosemore, and are provided for personal viewing only except as noted in Skateweb's photo use policy. I tried to take photos of all the skaters in the events I saw that were held in the larger rink, but I'm still getting used to my new camera and was distracted by trying to take notes, too, so I didn't end up with publishable-quality photos of everyone.
Cassandra Benito: short program
Adriana Desanctis: short program
Louann Donovan: short program | free skate | more free skate
Kelsey Drewel: short program | free skate | more free skate
Emily Hughes: short program
Chloe Katz: short program
Kristine Lee: short program | free skate
Melissa Lind: free skate
Holly Ponichtera: free skate
Lauren Thomas: free skate
Adam Aronowitz: free skate | more free skate | pancake spin
Mauro Bruni: short program | free skate | attitude spin
Kevin Curtis: short program | more short program | free skate spin | spread eagle | charlotte spiral
Brad Griffies: short program | free skate | more free skate | still more free skate | spread eagle
Adam Kaplan: short program
Matt Lind: short program | free skate
David Pelletier: free skate | spread eagle
Shaun Rogers: short program | free skate
David Stein: free skate
Brian Tomczuk: free skate
Christopher Vaeth: short program
Frisch & Bommentre: free dance
Galler-Rabinowitz & Mitchell: free dance
Goodwin & Obzansky: free dance (from the wrong side)
Evora & Adler: free skate
Jimenez & Leftheris: free skate | free skate
McInerney & Jorgens: free skate
Parker & Tauginas: free skate
Kate Liberman: short program | more short program | free skate
Patricia Mansfield: short program | free skate | more free skate | catch-leg spin
Krissa Miller: short program | free skate
Stacey Pensgen: short program | free skate | catch-leg spin
Netta Rizea short program | free skate
Stephanie Roth: short program | layback in short program | side sit spin in free skate | layback in free skate
Cheryl Smith: short program | free skate | more free skate
Leisa Spence: short program
Shayna Syken: short program | free skate | hole in her boot
Colleen Tremblay: free skate
Kristin Tusidco: free skate
Andrea Varraux: free skate | more free skate
Sara Wheat: free skate | spiral
Shepherd Clark: practice attire | short program opening.... | ....same as the free skate opening! | inside spread eagle | outside spread eagle
Derrick Delmore: short program | showing off in front of the judges | more short program | Derrick goes for a spin.... | ....and another one | spread eagle | free skate
Rusty Fein: short program | free skate | spread eagle
Ian Macadam: flying sit spin #1 | flying sit spin #2 | flying sit spin #3 | short program practice | short program | free skate practice | spread eagle... | ... all the way around the circle... | ... then down to the end of the rink
Richard Reyor: short program
Scott Smith: short program | free skate practice | spread eagle
Michael Weiss: Mike tempts the skate gods.... | .... and pays for it in the short. | Tempting the skate gods again in the free skate practice. | more free skate practice | free skate
Orscher & Lucash: short program opening | more short program opening | short program lift | short program twist | free skate opening | spiral | pair spin
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