2003 Colorado Championships

Friday's events

Novice Ladies Short Program

Just the top few finishers:

Brittany Vise (1): "Hernando's Hideaway". 2x very good, 3t/2t, layback, spirals, spin combination, 2f.

Lindsay Wilson (2): 3r fell but a good attempt, layback with a catch foot position, 2x very good, spin combination good, spirals, 2f.

Stacy Kim (3): "Thais". 2z/2r, layback, 2x cheated, spin combination, 2f.

Aaryn Smith (4): "Carmen". spirals, 3r cheat/2t, 2x slightly two-footed, spin combination, flying camel(?).

Junior Men Short Program

Oy. This is the year that the juniors have to do a flying sit spin and a change-foot camel (for the guys). This early in the season, many of the skaters are still having serious problems with these elements.

Casey McCraw (1): 3x splat (looked "lost in space" in the air), 3f, change camel, 2x, spin combination, serpentine steps, flying sit fall.

Nicholas Kole (2): 2x scribble (looks like "no step through" or something like that), 3flutz fall, flying sit barely, 2f, change camel weaker on the back half, Morozov-type straight-line steps, spin combination, ended before music.

Junior Ladies Short Program

Christina Schneider (5): 2x maybe cheated, layback, wowcow, spirals in circular pattern, 2f, flying sit sort of did, spin combination.

Ashley Moeller (6): 2z/2t, straight-line steps, 1x into half loop (you could tell even before the takeoff that she wasn't going to land this), flying sit, spirals, spin combination, 2f, layback.

Lauren Hennessy (3): "Claire de Lune". 2x, 3r/2r fall, flying sit fell out, straight-line step, spin combination, 2f with arms overhead, spirals in circular pattern, very good layback. Soft knees and good skating quality, and an enjoyable program in spite of the mistakes.

Caroline Miller (1): 3s turnout/1t, 2x good, flying sit, spin combo with a back cross-foot sit spin, 2f, layback.

Megan Wick (9): "Legends of the Fall". Spin combination, 2x underrotated and landed on two feet with a step out, 3r underrotated fall, flying sit didn't, spirals, layback short on rotation, 2f step out.

Ambar Kaiser (2): Tango. 2x, 3s steps 2t, flying sit, spirals, 2f, layback, straight-line steps, spin combination. Fast, strong basic skating, and an especially well-choreographed program. She's Ryan Jahnke's student, and it kind of shows!

Yoyo Ma (4): Chinese music and costuming; had to restart because the tape broke right at the beginning of her program the first time around. Spirals, layback fast and deeply bent position, labored stroking, 2s cheated, 2t/2t step out, circular steps good, 2f, did something like a waltz jump sit spin instead of a flying sit, spin combination.

Kristine Jackson (8): "Pocahontas". Layback, 2x fall but a better attempt than some of the ones other skaters were standing up on, 2f, spirals, 3s fall, flying sit didn't, circular steps, spin combination.

Courtney Krebs (7): James Bond music. 3r way underrotated fall, 2x bad cheat, spin combination, spirals, circular steps, flying sit spin barely got off the ice, 2f.

I didn't see the junior ladies free skate on Saturday (it conflicted with the men's warmup in the other rink), but the top 3 stayed the same in the standings.

Senior Men Short Program

In skating order:

Robert Crowley (4): 3z fall, straight-line steps, change sit, steps into 3s, death drop without much fly, circular steps, 2x, spin combination. He was obviously the weakest skater at this event, but still definitely a senior-level competitor. I noted his music as "gypsy-type violin".

Daniel Lee (3): 3x wow! (He landed one in the 6-minute warmup, too.) But then only 2f/2t for the combination, sigh. Flying camel, circular steps, 3z fall (sigh again), change sit, Morozov-type straight-line steps, spin combination. I'm lousy at identifying music that isn't classical, but to me this sounded like new age or Asian with a lot of drums and a flute. Costume was all black with some beaded patterns on the chest. Daniel's a solid all-around skater, with good spins and presentation, he can *do* those jumps, so all he needs is to land them when it counts! BTW, this is the first time I've seen Daniel compete in quite a while, since he withdrew from Mids both of the last two seasons with injuries.

Ryan Jahnke (1): Ryan's music is a classical mix, starting out with a slower piece with a baroque feel to it played by jazz violinist Jean-Luc Ponty, and then switching to a faster piece by the Planets. Another black costume, with a little bit of white on the collar and cuffs. He starts out the program with an edge pull into a back loop figure. 3x went splat, 3z/2t directly into a cool little leap, edgy flowing straight-line steps. This is where the music cuts, then change camel, 2f (big oops), spin combination, circular steps, death drop with a touchdown of the free foot (minor oops). I thought Ryan looked awfully tense in the warmup, which surprised me because he hadn't been taking this competition too seriously. He's basically just here to try out his new programs and see how they look on video.

Jordan Brauninger (2): Kenny G. version of "Summertime". The costume is contrasting shades of blue with an asymmetrical cut over his hip. Opened with slinky edgy straight-line steps, 3x that was a bit underrotated so that the landing was kind of forced, 3f turns 3t (the flip was fine, it looked like he just lost concentration and forgot to tack on the second jump until it was too late), spin combination with much improved positions and stretch, more edgy circular steps, death drop, 3z hand down (oops), change camel might have been short a rotation on the back half. Tom Dickson choreographed Jordan's program, and it is at least as good as the one he did for Ryan. It seems to me that the slower music is a deliberate choice to show off Jordan's edge quality and control, and allow him to hold out his positions and use more full-body movement to express the character of the music. The overall effect is very slinky and mature, and I'd better stop before I start using adjectives that aren't appropriate to apply to skater who is still a minor. ;-)

It ended up being a 4-3 split between Ryan and Jordan, but interestingly, all three judges who put Jordan first did so by a considerable margin. It was such a messy competition all around that it would have been hard for me to pick a winner, but if I were really pressed to make a decision, I probably would have put Jordan first this time.

Senior Ladies Short Program

Skate order again.

Jacquelyn Sugianto (7): James Bond music. 3t fall, death drop, 3f fall, spirals, waxel, straight-line steps, spin combination.

Lea Nightwalker (6): drum music with chanting. 3r fall, flying camel, 2t/2t, 1x, spin combination, circular steps, layback.

Erica Archambault (1): Spanish guitar. 2t/2t (was 3t/3t in warmup), layback, 3r, flying camel, straight-line steps, 2x, spirals. I must have forgotten to write down anything about her spin combination.

Karleen Armstrong (4): slow violin music. Spirals, 3s fall, layback, 2x, straight-line steps, flying camel, 3t with a hop out on the landing, spin combination.

Stacey Pensgen (3): 3z leaning in the air and fall, flying camel onto an inside edge, 3t step out, 2x, spirals, layback, straight-line steps, spin combination.

Andrea Gardiner (2): "The Mission". 3flutz lightly two-footed/2t, 3f badly two-footed with legs still crossed on the landing, flying camel, 2x again lightly two-footed, spin combination, spirals, layback. I liked the program.

Ashlee Homan (5): layback, 3z lost in space fall, spin combination, pop f, circular steps, spirals, 2x, flying camel. I didn't write down anything about her music, which means it was probably movie music or something like that.

Saturday's events

Novice Men Free Skate

Nicholas Girardi (3): Spiritual medley. Spread eagle, 2r, 1z, 2x two-footed, 3t fall, 1z, change sit (I think), edgy steps, 2z, 2s, straight-line steps, some kind of spin, 2f, 2f, flying camel.

Nathan Miller (2): Rock music, and he was wearing a white T-shirt with "blood" on it. 2f, 2t(?), 3s fall, 1x, death drop, 1z, straight-line steps, 'tano 2z, spin combination travelled, pop f(?), 3s fall, eagle into 1x, camel/sit. Fast skating, but his stroking seemed pretty labored to me.

Christopher Darling (1): Red and black outfit with a ruffle down the side of the pants. If the costume wasn't enough to tell you that he was trying to be Alexei Yagudin, the choreography was also a dead giveaway. 3s/2t, 2x fall, flying camel, Yagudin-type circular steps directly into a 3t, change sit, spiral, 3r no speed fall, hydroblade into 2t, 2x, 2z/1.5t, split jump into 2f, spin combination with a slight slip.

Junior Men Free Skate

Nicholas Kole (2): 2x/2t, 3flutz fall, 3r fall, flying camel, 3t, 2s fall, spin combination pretty wild, fast skating into a knee slide, straight-line steps, circular steps, 3t fall, more straight-line steps, 2f landed on toe, ?? flying spin, 2x fall.

Casey McCraw (1): edgy steps, 3x fell out, 3z/3t wrong foot, ?? flying spin, 3s/2t, 3f(?) (sorry, there were people going in and out in front of me while he was skating and I was a bit distracted), fell in MITF, spin combo, split into 3s hung on, ina, lunge, back spiral, flying sit didn't, 2t, circular steps. Looked like he ran out of energy before the end of his program.

Novice Ladies Short Program

Just the top few finishers again:

Lindsay Wilson (1): Diamond commercial music. 1x/half loop/3s, 1t/2t, 3r!, spin combination, spirals, 2x hand down, 3s nice, layback, straight-line steps didn't extend the full length of the ice, 2f, 2z/2r, death drop.

Brittany Vise (2): 3t/2t, 2x/2t, layback, 2z, spirals, 2f, spin combination, straight-line steps, 2s, 3t fall, 2x fall, death drop didn't fly. She started out strong but gave it away with all the mistakes at the end of the program.

Lauren Beckler (3): "Danse Macabre". Ina, 2x with a slight two-foot/2t, 3t, 2s, spin combination, spirals, spread eagle, 2x splat, layback, 2r from turns, circular steps, 2t(?)/1t, 2f/2r, flying camel. A nicely-presented program.

Senior Ladies Free Skate

This is in skate order.

Ashlee Homan (6): movie music? 2x, 3f fall, 3z fall, layback, "wowcow", 3r slightly cheated, 2z/2r step-out, 3t fall, 2x, straight-line steps, flying camel not held very long, spirals, spin combination, forward scratch spin. There was hardly anything but jumps in the first half of the program, very little choreography or connecting steps. I kind of get the impression that Ashlee can't really do all the triples she was attempting.

Lea Nightwalker (2, 3 overall): classical violin medley, including "O mio babbino caro" and a bit from the Four Seasons. Spread eagle, spiral, 2z/2r, 2x, 3r fall, change-foot camel, 3t/2t good, more spread eagles and spirals, layback, ina into a 2f, flying camel, 2s, 2f, straight-line steps, split jump, flying camel, spin combination and forward scratch spin to end the program. Besides the spread eagles, etc I already noted, Lea had good connecting steps throughout the entire program and skated with speed and confidence. I really enjoyed watching this program and I thought she was totally deserving of her placement.

Jacquelyn Sugianto (7): one of the Tchaikovsky ballets, "Romeo & Juliet" I think. 1x, broken leg sit spin, 2z, split lutz, 2f/2t, straight-line steps, flying camel onto an outside edge, 2r, spirals, 2f, spin combination, 2s(?), layback. Some nice highlight moves in this program, but she was slow and looked like she was really struggling with the altitude by the end of the program.

Erica Archambault (1): a piano concerto I didn't recognize in the pink costume from last season. 3s, 3t, 2f, butterfly sit, 2r, spiral, 3z fall, super layback, spread eagle, 3s fall, flying camel into half biellmann spin, 3t, ina, 2x, spin combination. Erica did land both a 3r and 3z in the 6-minute warmup. Her lutz is really spectacular, off a pure outside edge using the classic entry much like Ryan Jahnke's, and with great "pop" and height. It seemed like when she was falling on them, it was because she was tilted one way or the other in the air and not because the jump was underrotated. BTW, Erica has really grown in the last year and it's all in her legs right now.

Karleen Armstrong (4): "happy music", for lack of a better description. Back camel, 3s/2t nice, 3t fall, flying camel, 1x, 3r fall, spirals, 3s fall, walley into 2z/2r, straight-line steps, 2f spin combination. I think I was a bit distracted during her program and missed a few elements in my notes.

Andrea Gardiner (3, 2 overall): the violin arrangement of "Turandot" that various other skaters have also used recently. 3 flutz two-footed/2t, 2s, half biellmann spin, circular steps, 2x two-footed with a step-out (made a big divot on the ice here), flying camel, 3r underrotated and two-footed (and this used to be Andrea's "money jump", too), slight trip while just stroking, 2f, layback, spirals, 2z, 3t two-footed, ina, split jump, butterfly, spin combination. In addition to all the jump mistakes, Andrea looked really slow and tired, and while I've really liked Andrea's skating in the past, this particular performance was just sad. When the marks came up I was afraid that the judges were going to hold her up over Lea, but it worked out to be a 4-3 split in Lea's favor.

Stacey Pensgen (5): an interesting program to Indian music. 2z, 2f, 1x, flying camel, 3s way underrotated fall, layback, 2t, 1x, spirals, death drop, 2z/2t, 2t, circular steps, spin combination. There was some good choreography in this program, but there was no attack and confidence, and with the jumps just not happening it looked like Stacey was about to give up in disgust about halfway through. BTW, it is obvious why Stacey has dropped pairs and gone back to skating singles; her body has filled out a lot, and I don't mean that in an unkind way because it looks like it's all muscle and she looks very buff. It's just not the right body type for pairs.

Senior Men Free Skate

In skate order, again:

Daniel Lee (3): Rachmaninoff's greatest hits (medley of bits of piano concerti #2 and #3). Another all-black outfit, this time with a loose-fitting shirt with long fluttery strips that I found a little distracting. 3x fall, 2f, 3z good, sit spin, spread eagle, 3r fall, another spread eagle and a nice back spiral, flying camel with a layover position, 2z, 3s, circular steps, fell out of a flying sit spin and then immediately did a death drop -- not sure if two spins in a row were planned here or not? Or maybe that was supposed to be a tuck axel? 3t, awesome serpentine step sequence with spirals, lunges and knee slides and another spread eagle, butterfly to upright spin and then a spin combination. This was really an enjoyable and effective program, especially the end section.

Robert Crowley (4): "Dark Eyes" and similar ethnic music, in a plain burgundy shirt over black pants. 2x, 2z/2t, 3r cheated, 3s smile, 2t, flying camel, edgy steps, 3t fall, sit spin, circular steps, death drop, waltz jump (popped axel), excellent straight line steps and spin combination to end the program.

Ryan Jahnke (1): a medley of obscure Brazilian music in a flashy outfit. It's purple on the top with loose ruffly sleeves in purple, green, and orange; there's some trim around the waist like a belt, but the purple continues down over the hips to blend in with brown pants that have an "X" design up the sides. Believe it or not, it suits the program and doesn't look excessive. After last season's diversion into conservatism, we're back to Ryan pushing the envelope with a complex and totally unique program that reaffirmed my conviction that Tom Dickson is a total genius. :-) The program started with music with some "oooh oooh oooh" vocal effects while Ryan did some crouching and waving movements using his whole body, then a clean 3x. Drum music with sculling on two feet, a little jump that went by too fast for me to identify, 2f, besti squat into a sit spin, 3z/3t underrotated on the second jump with a turn out, spirals on super-deep edges with cool bent leg positions and both hands down on the ice at one point continuing into a serpentine step sequence. Into the slow section of the music, an incredible spin combination with positions I noted as camel, outside-edge camel, sit spin, change to back sit, onto an inside edge spin in a sort-of sitting position I've never seen anybody do before, and then a back upright spin in another nontraditional position. Deliberate 2x, spread eagles that zoomed around the ice, 'tano 3z. Faster music with more drums, camel/upright spin, 2t and then 2s that were both supposed to be triples, straight-line steps with a body slide on the ice (like Yagudin), an unidentified leap, and a butterfly spin to finish. Phew. This program is so crammed with unique choreography from beginning to end that the jumps almost seem like an afterthought. I must say that I'm dreading what the new Code of Points system is going to do to this program. :-(

Jordan Brauninger (2): "Patton" in a bright froggy green outfit that I am told they have already decided has got to go. Opened with a spread eagle and a brief arabesque extension, then 3x fall out, a death spiral type move with one hand on the ice, 3z/3t very nice, death drop a little wild on the landing, spread eagle into a 3r, spirals and edgy steps and other MITF stuff, 3x fall, spin combination, circular steps, camel/sit/back sit, 3f steps into 3s sequence, big split jumps and a butterfly sit to end. In spite of the fact that Jordan landed 5 clean triples to Ryan's 3, I think it was correct to put Ryan ahead on the first mark as well as the second because his other program content was so obviously much more difficult. OTOH, I do think that Jordan's program has the potential to be exciting and draw the audience in with a big finish and rousing music, but he has to deliver the jumps and clean up the presentation a bit, as well as generally skate with more attack and confidence, for that to happen.

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