2003 Midwesterns

2003 USFSA Midwestern Sectional Championships
November 14-16, 2002
Nashville, TN

Thursday report

Besides the events listed below, I saw some compulsory dances and novice pairs, but didn't take notes on those events.

Senior men free skate practice

This competition is looking pretty much wide open. I saw all the men except Daniel Lee landing triple axels in this practice, although I think Evan Lysacek's was not really clean. Braden Overett's seems to be the most consistent of the bunch, but Rohene Ward's is gigantic, when he lands it. In terms of runthroughs, they were all kind of hit-and-miss. Hard to say who will end up delivering the goods during the actual competition, and that's what it's going to come down to.

Novice men short program

Here's my notes on the entire field, in order of skate:

Jonathan Cassar: 3r/step-out/2t, cannonball sit, 2z, straight-line steps, 2x, stars/camel/sit/back catch-foot. Decent spins and edge quality. Skated to Evan Lysacek's Bond music, and skating-wise reminded me of Evan as well.

Eric Reinhart: 2x cheated, 2z arms overhead, death drop, 3t w/really bad cheat/2t, CW circular step, spin combination with half-hearted positions.

Ricky Reeder: 3t/2t nice, 2z, flying camel didn't fly, "line drive" 2x, straight steps, camel/half-layback/back sit spin. Spanish guitar music.

Jon Nuss: 3t/2t a little stiff, big death drop, straight steps, spread eagles into "line drive" 2x with another stiff landing, 2z arms overhead, camel/sit/catch-leg/back sit/mushroom. Good spin positions. Skated to "Fiddler on the Roof".

Christopher Pottenger: "Dragon". Nice spiral and steps into big 2z, 1x, 2f/2t, Elvis-like veggie-chopping straight-line steps, good flying camel, I only noted sit/back sit positions in in combo spin(?). Bigger, faster, and more powerful than most of the other guys in the field, but the jump difficulty isn't there.

Iljeen Jo: 2x nice, camel/sit/back sit, straight-line steps, 3s/fall/2t, 2z, spread eagles, death drop. Unidentifiable movie music.

R.J. Westfall: camel/sit/back camel/sit, 3s/toe axel, 2x nice, straight-line steps, flying camel kind of weak, 2z. Skated to Charlie Chaplin music. He needs to work more on positions and extensions, but I noted that he has a very neat air position on his jumps, with pointed toes.

Rockne Brubaker: 3s w/reach towards ice/2t with step-out, 2x with step-out, camel/sit/back sit spin that didn't really sit, 2z, simple-looking straight-line steps, flying camel that didn't fly. Skated with a fair amount of speed and decent edge quality, in spite of the sloppiness on the elements.

Kevin Rohde: 2x, death drop with toe tap, illegible scribble, 3t/1t with step-out, weak camel/scribble/back sit, serpentine step, 2z nice.

Ashley Deavers: flying sit spin directly into footwork on exit, good steps into 2z, serpentine steps, fall on 2x, 2t (no combination), more steps, spin combination. I was impressed by how much footwork he packed into this program, but all the other elements were pretty weak.

Osadolo Irowa: 2x nice, fall on 3t, camel/sit/back sit nice, straight-line steps, 2z, flying camel very slow. Too bad about the fall, he seems like a good skater.

David Schulz: 2x, 3t/2t, spin combination, 2z, circular steps, death drop with no fly, some scribble I can't decipher now.

John Coughlin: 2x nice, 3t/2t, flying sit, 2z, circular step, camel/sit/back sit. Perky skating to to funky percussion music, but his "choreography" was all arms and no feet.

Charlie White: 2x nice, 3r/fall/2t, flying camel a little droopy, 2z, fast straight-line steps, camel/sit/back camel/sit. Kodo drums music.

Gabe Woodruff: 3f/2t, straight-line step, flying camel, 1x, 2z, spin combination. New age music with chanting and percussion.

Senior pair short program

Roth & McPherson: sbs 3t she fell, 2 twist with no pick, throw 3s, star lift w/2-handed grip throughout, pair spin recentered on change, sbs spins, pair spirals where she did most of the work, fids 1.5. They finished after their music. Aside from the obvious deductions, they were clearly the weakest of the three pairs here.

Vise & Ibarra: impressive sideways star lift w/1-handed support, mirror 3ts, pair spin unremarkable, spirals good, throw 3r, mirror spins with no appearance of unison, nice 2 twist, fids 2. Very impressive! They skated to "Nessun Dorma" which I think helped add to their appearance of command on the ice.

Hinzmann & Hartsell: sbs 3ts clean but he jumped first, 2 twist OK, throw 3s, pair spin, sbs spins, spirals with mismatched extensions, scary lift, fids 1.5. My notes say "new age muzak".

Friday report

Junior men short program

Here are notes on the entire field, in order of skate:

Sam Dafoe: "Maria" from West Side Story. 3f hands down and no combination, 3z, wonderful stretched flying camel, edgy serpentine steps, 2x, camel/sit/half layback/back camel/sit, straight-line steps right in front of judges, change sit with not the best positions. Sam has improved his speed a lot since last year, I thought. He's also grown out his spiky haircut into a more attractive wavy do -- I kind of did a double-take when I first spotted him in the rink lobby.

David Sanders: 3f but no combination, camel/sit/back camel/sit/"Toller" sit, straight-line steps, fall on 3z, change sit with an unattractive back sit position, 2x, slow flying camel.

Michael Peters: Edgy steps, 3x hands down/2t, change sit not enough rotations on back half, straight-line steps, 3z, camel/sit/catch-foot/back camel weak/back sit, 2x, circular step, flying camel with ugly position. His low placement was kind of surprising given the jump content, but aside from the spin problems, he hunches and looks down at the ice and doesn't skate with much expression.

Evan Gibbs: "Paint It Black". Flying camel nice stretch, 3f fall, 3z, edgy circular steps with a pattern that seemed a little too small, change sit spin very nice, straight-line steps, 2x with no height, camel/sit/catch-foot/back sit/cross-foot. Nice lines and good flow.

Dustin Brinsmade: Bach Toccata & Fugue. 3f fall, 2.5z fell out, flying camel with really stretched position, 2x, cannonball/back sit, circular steps, camel/cannonball/back camel/sit/catch-foot.

Samuel Steele: Latin music. 3t/2t, 3z fall, fly camel stretchd but slow and travelly, straight-line step, change sit with very low forward sit position, circular step not quite quick enough for music, 2x, camel/sit/side sit/back sit/Y spin with big wobble and fall.

Casey McCraw: 3f/3t, 3z, change sit spin travelled all over, circular step not closed, 2x wild landing, camel/sit/mushroom/back sit/catch-foot, serpentine steps, flying camel with a big wobble. I couldn't decide whether he was skating to "Todd music" or "Elvis music" -- it all sounds the same to me....

Viktors Bariss-Ayele: Jazz. 3t/2t, 2z, change sit probably short of rotation on the back half, straight-line steps, 2x, circular steps, flying camel didn't fly, very slow and probably not enough rotations, camel/sit/back camel wobbly/sit. He seemed smoother and more controlled on his in-between skating than what I remember from last year.

Luke Capizzo: Tango, 3r/2r, 3z fell out with hands down, camel/sit/back camel/sit/Toller sit, 2x, change sit, straight-line steps, circular steps, flying camel with layover position. His jump mechanics seem a little wonky to me and his extension and positions need work, but there's a rough charm about his skating, very much like Trifun Zivanovic.

Jeremy Abbott: Disco "Firebird" arrangement. Flying camel very nice, 3r hard fall, 3z maybe slightly two-footed, flying through circular footwork, change sit nice and fast, straight-line steps, 2x landed with authority, camel/sit/cannonball/back sit/crossfoot. There's a lot to like about Jeremy's skating -- he's really fast, and has good carriage and excellent positions, and a kind of appealingly bashful charm on the ice.

Ben Woolwine: 3z, 3f/2t, straight-line steps, flying camel that slowed down noticibly (scraping the toe pick?), 2x, camel/sit/back sit/upright, circular step, change sit with unattractive positions.

Steven Pottenger: serpentine steps, 2x, flying camel, 3t/1.5t landed forward, change sit, 2z, straight-line steps, camel/sit/catch-foot/back camel/sit.

Jordan Brauninger: Frantic screechy violin music, which would probably sound awful by itself, but it works in the context of the choreography. Jordan started out miming that he was looking for something and then grabbing a fly, and the theme carried through to the end of the program. (His dad told me Chris Conte came up with this program.) Change sit, 3f/3t, 2x, fly camel a little slow, serpentine steps, 3z, circular steps, camel/sit/back sit/catch-foot. I hadn't seen this program at all (even in practice) before the competition, and now I'm eager to see it again just because of the choreography. BTW, Jordan has done the reverse of Sam Dafoe and has adopted a short spiky haircut which makes him look so different I barely recognized him at first.

Ryan Yearous: 3t/2t, embarassing spin combination where he put his hands down to help push on the change, circular step, 2x hard fall, flying camel with bent legs, 2z, fell just stroking, straightline steps, change sit. His basic skating skills are a notch below everyone else in this field.

Wesley Campbell: Slow, gentle viola(?) music that showed off his edge quality and soft knees. Change sit nice, 3z with amazingly delayed rotation, fly camel, 3f/2t, step sequences that flowed so naturally that I forgot to note the patterns, 2x hand down, camel/side sit/back sit/mushroom/cross-foot with a messy exit. Really lovely skating, but the small errors added up.

Novice men free skate

I have notes on the last two groups only....

Charlie White: 2x/2t, 3s tight/2t, back camel/ sit, 2f, 3r, camel/sit/back camel/sit, 2z/double 3/2r, 3s, 2x hunched landing, fly camel, 2t, camel/butterfly back sit/scratch. With Charlie competing in both dance and singles, I was expecting that as a singles skater he'd really stand out with superior posture, etc -- but he didn't.

Kevin Rohde: straight-line steps, 2x/2t, arm movements to music, 3z fall and hit boards, death drop (?), circular footwork tripped, a jump I missed, spin combination, 3s fall out underrotated, 3t fall, 2x step out, more jumps I missed, camel/sit/butterfly back sit. My notes on him are a bit sketchy because I was really distracted by his music fading in and out throughout his program -- I was wondering if *he* was distracted by it, too.

David Schultz: 2x/2t, 3t fall, death drop weak, 2s, wobbly camel/back sit/crossfoot, 3r, MITF, 2x, 2z, 3t fell and hit boards, camel/sit/back sit.

Iljeen Jo: 3s barely hung on, 3t step-out and hand down/2t, 2x ground to halt on landing, death drop, 3r underrotated with stumble out, 2z hand down, camel/sit/back sit, 2z, straight-line steps not full length of rink, 3s sat down on ice, 2x ground out landing, butterfly back scratch. Obviously slowing down at end of program with no attempt to interpret dancy music. He gets good spring on his jumps but seems unable to control the landings.

Jonathan Cassar: 2z/2r, 3r/2t, camel/sit/back sit/catch/upright spin combination nice, spread eagles, 2x/half loop/2t, 2f hung on, 3s tight, death drop to mushroom spin, circular steps, 3r step out, more spread eagles into 2z, flying sit/back sit/catch-foot.

Ricky Reeder: "Last of the Mohicans". 3t/2t, 2x from spread eagle, pop r, change sit spin, 2z, 3s fall, straight-line step, 2x step out, camel/sit/semi-layback/back sit, 3s fall, pop f, fly camel.

R.J. Westfall: "Casablanca". 2x, 3t/double 3/2t, camel/back camel/sit, spread eagle into 3s and then another jump I missed while I was looking down at my notes, 3r fall out, 2z, fly camel, straight-line steps, 2x, sit spin.

Jon Nuss: 3t/2t, fly camel slow, pop s, 2x/2t with wonky axel technique, camel/sit/catch-foot/back sit, spread eagle into waxel, 3t two-footed, 2z from steps, death drop. Electric violin music.

Gabe Woodruff: 3f fall, 3s fall, death drop, 2t, circular step, 3z fall, 2r, fly camel, 1x, 2s(?), sit/catch/back sit/scratch. Good flow and edges, but no jumps.

John Coughlin: edgy steps, 2x/2t, camel/sit/back sit, 3t/2t, 3s/2t, death drop, 2z, arm movements, 2x, fly camel, turns into 2r with arms overhead, straight-line step, 2f, scratch spin.

Novice ladies short program

Katy Taylor: Cappricio Espanol. 2x, 3s fall with 2t tacked on, layback nice, spirals, 2z with one arm on hip, camel/sit/catch/back sit/scratch. Very perky.

Lindsay Walczak: "hillbilly music". 2z, 2x, camel/sit/back camel/sit, 2s dropped out on 2 feet/2t, spirals, flying camel with no fly.

Mary Siegel: Disco version of "Hall of the Mountain King". 1x, 3t fall, camel/sit/layback/biellmann/back mushroom, spirals, 2z, biellmann spin.

Katrina Karpowitsch: Spanish-style guitar music. Spirals, 2x, layback, 3f(?) cheated/2t fall, 2z, spin combination. She's a CW jumper.

Dara Tate: travelly layback, 2x with bad cheat, 3s also underrotated and maybe two-footed/1r, 2z, spin combination. Generic new-age music.

Lauren Hennessy: "Claire de Lune". 2x, 2s fall, flying camel didn't fly, 2z, spirals, camel/sit/layback/back sit/catch.

Samantha Karson: Latin music. Crawl into 3t fall, 2x, flying camel, spiral sequence fast and covered a lot of ice but actual spiral positions not held long enough, 2z, camel/sit/side sit/back sit.

Natalie Malone: Spanish guitar. 2x, fan spiral, spiral with a rocker, etc, 3s overrotated 2t, camel/sit/back camel wobble/sit, 2z, flying camel actually flew. Clearly the winning performance.

Melissa Telecky: Generic new age pretty music. 2x fall, super layback, 3s fall, spirals in circular pattern, camel/sit/catch/back sit/half biellmann. I assume she did do the 2z in there somewhere and I just forgot to write it down.

Courtney McMurtry: "Nights in White Satin". 2x, spirals, 3s step out/toe axel, layback, 2z from good fast steps, camel/sit/layback/back sit/mushroom/fast scratch.

Meryl Davis: Four Seasons. 3t cheat/2t both jumps really bad toe axels, fly camel, spirals, 2x bad cheat, 2z, spin combination very slow. While her dance partner Charlie Davis is a perfectly respectable singles skater, I think it's pretty clear that Meryl's jumps aren't really happening and that she'd be better off just concentrating on dance.

Stephanie Zastrow: 3s/2t, 2x fall, flying sit spin did, spirals good, 1z (oops), camel/layback/back sit/muhroom/sasha spin. If it weren't for the stupid mistake on the lutz, Stephanie would have qualified for Nationals.

Senior men short program

This turned out to be a bit of a splatfast, disappointing after seeing all the jumps the guys were letting loose in the pre-competition warmup. Daniel Lee withdrew so the field is down to five competing for four spots.

Ryan Jahnke: triple lutz/triple toe with a messy landing on the second jump, fall on triple axel, death drop, serpentine steps, triple flip, change camel maybe short a rotation but with great positions as usual, edgy CW circular steps including a good part all on 1-foot, camel/sit/side-sit/back sit/cross-foot spin. This is his Fellini program looking a bit less frantic than when I last saw it at the Liberty Open.

Evan Lysacek: "Hispania Cani" in a black suit of lights. Great triple lutz/triple toe, triple axel slightly two-footed, flying camel that travelled, circular steps, double flip (oops), change sit, very "Russian" straight-line footwork, camel/sit/catch/back camel/mushroom/scratch combination. Deserved to be first, but I don't think some judges took all the deductions they ought to have (0.6?).

Braden Overett: opened with a huge, high, clean triple axel!!! But then step out of triple lutz into double toe, stupid trip in connecting steps, camel/sit/back camel/sit/hop/more back sit/etc combination spin (is it allowed to do a hop in the required spin like that?), change sit spin, CW circular steps, double flip (oops), big death drop, straight-line steps. Effective, crowd-pleasing program to "Mexican Hat Dance" and other mariachi-type music.

Rohene Ward: flying camel, fell on triple axel, his usual spin combination, triple flip/triple toe clean but looked a little hesitant, change sit, circular step, popped lutz (too close to wall, maybe?), straight-line step. This is the same Michael Jackson program as last year and still has all the same posing in place and two-footed skating.

Ryan Bradley: spectacular splat on triple axel, another fall on his triple flip, flying camel, easy-looking straight-line steps, triple lutz/triple toe a little hesitant, change camel very slow, circular steps, camel/sit/side catch-foot/back Toller sit. Besides the two big falls, Ryan is definitely the weakest spinner of this group, and I'm a little surprised he and his coaches have not worked harder on addressing that. Program is "Fiddler On the Roof".

Senior ladies short program

Steffie Smith: New age music with a beat. Flying camel, 3t/2t, 2s, spirals, layback didn't, 2x, circular step, camel/sit/catch/back sit/Y spin. CW jumper.

Kelsey Drewel: "Crouching Tiger". 2x, 3z fall, layback, spirals, 3t from steps, flying camel, circular steps, camel/sit/catch/back sit/catch. Strong and energetic in-between skating.

Karleen Armtrong: "Con te partiro". 3s fall, camel/sit/catch-foot layback/back camel/crossfoot, straight-line steps, 3t/2t, flying camel, 1x, spirals, layback.

Lindsey Berg: Jazz. 2s nice, 3r probably two-footed/2t, flying camel maybe short of rotation, 2t, spirals in circular pattern, layback, circular step, camel/layback/back sit/catch.

Christie Jaszewski: Jazz with lots of wiggling and jiggling. Spirals in circular pattern including an upside-down spiral a la Tricia Mansfield, 3s two-footed hand down step out/2t, layback maybe short of rotation, 3t fall, 2x, camel/sit/catch/back sit/cross-foot, serpentine steps, flying camel.

Amber Czisny: "Sunset Boulevard". Super layback, spirals with change edge, 3s/2t, death drop, 2x, circular steps, 3t fall, camel/layback/biellmann/back mushroom/scratch.

Lindsey Weber: Pretty piano music. Pop f, layback, 3t, spirals, camel/sit/back sit/crossfoot, straight-line step, 2x, flying camel didn't. Lindsey just looked kind out out of it at this competition, aside from the jump errors her in-between skating wasn't as sharp as I'd seen from her in the past.

Crystal Calayag: Heavy percussion. 3t two-footed/2t hop out, layback, spirals, big hesitation into 2x fall, flying camel maybe short of rotation, 1.5r landed on two feet, circular step, camel/sit/back sit/sasha spin.

Christine Semmler: Spirals in circular pattern, 2x, camel/layback/back sit, 2z/2r underrotated and landed on two feet, layback, 2f with arms overhead, circular steps, death drop. I wonder if she and/or her coach realize that the rules have changed this year to require senior ladies to do a triple both in combination and as the jump out of footwork. I saw a lot of ladies at New Englands doing deliberate doubles, too.

Melissa Parker: 2x, 3z fall, layback with a free leg position Dick Button would hate, 3r fall, spirals, death drop, I got distracted and missed the end of her program. No music notes.

Tiffany Vise: flying camel without much fly, 1x, 3f landed on wrong foot into 2t, super layback with sideways twisted position, change-edge spiral, sideways 3s fall, circular step, camel/sit/layback/back sit/Y. No music notes for her, either. This seemed like an uncharacteristically poor performance for Tiffany, and given her pairs commitments, I wondered how much time she'd actually spent training her singles programs.

Alissa Czisny: Generic pretty music. Flying camel, 3z fall, 3f maybe two-footed, super layback, 2x, circular steps, spirals, camel/layback/sit/back camel/donut. Probably the fastest skater of the competition.

Angie Lien: Movie music I couldn't quite place. Butterfly camel had good fly but the spin was slow, straight-line step, 3z/2t, 2t (oops), layback, 2x, change-edge spiral, camel/sit/back sit/crossfot.

Katie Lee: Now has short orange hair. Familiar violin muzak. Layback, 2x, 3t with hand down and step out/2t, 2s (oops), good flying camel/donut, circular step, spiral sequence included two change-edge spirals but really crawled down the ice, camel/sit/back sit/catch. I'm told Katie is going to college now and I'm guessing she isn't training as much as she was a couple of years ago.

Shawna Winter: Generic pretty music. 2x double 3, layback, spirals, 3t two-footed, flying camel, straight-line steps, 3s fall, camel/layback/back sit/crossfoot.

Kimberly Kroh: "Liebestraum". 2x fall out, spirals, flying camel very slow, 3s fall, circular steps, camel/layback/back sit, steps 3r fall, layback.

Saturday report

Junior men free skate

Samuel Steele: Beethoven "Pathetique" sonata in a costume bearing a strong resemblance to G&G's outfits from 1994. 3t/2t, 2x, death drop, pop z, 3s wild landing, MITF, underrotated 3r, 3s, change camel, pop f, 2x, 3t/fall, spin combination. In spite of the problems on the jumps, I enjoyed his good flow and edges.

Steven Pottenger: 2x/2t, 3z step out, 3f, camel/sit/catch/back camel/sit, fall on jump I missed, fly camel, 2z/3t fall, 2s, 3t, 2t(?), 1x, MITF, camel/sit/back camel/sit/scratch. Movie music I couldn't identify.

Viktors Bariss-Ayele: Tchaikovsky "Romeo & Juliet". 3t, 2s, fly camel, pop r, stretchy spirals, 2x, 2s, straight-line steps, 2f, screwed up entrance to camel spin, amazing completely flat hydroblade move, more MITF, 1x, camel/sit/back camel/sit, scratch.

David Sanders: Circular steps, 3z fall, 3t, 3f step out, 2x/2t, 2r, change sit with poor positions, 3s fall, slow spin combination with more weak positions, 3f/2t, 3z landed on two feet and then fall, straight-line step, 2s, flying camel again of poor quality, death drop into back sit spin that didn't really sit. The spins are really the weakest part of his skating; he did have fairly good flow over the ice. More movie music I couldn't identify.

Ryan Yearous: 3s two foot and hand down/2t, 2x fall, death drop, circular steps, "Wanda Beazel" lutz, slow and cautious spin combination (but at least he didn't use his hands to push this time), 3s hand down, MITF, 2r, flying camel, 3t fall, 2s, 2f, good scratch spin. "Man in the Iron Mask" completely overpowered his skating abilities.

Luke Capizzo: Jazz music. 2x, flying sit spin very high, 3z/toe axel, fell doing nothing, 3r/2r, MITF, 3f, flying camel, 3s, 3t, circular footwork, 2x directly into footwork on exit, 2.5r landed on two feet, fine serpentine steps, camel/sit/catch/back camel/sit/headless spin. This was an amazing performance with absolutely wonderful choreography and expression, skated right to the music, and the crowd gave him a standing ovation. The judges, it seems, were less impressed -- of course there were obvious flaws in his (lack of) posture and extension, but it's great to see a skater showing some imagination and humor.

Michael Peters: "Henry V" and some classical music I couldn't place. 3x(clean!), 3z fall, 2x, fly camel, 2r from turns, MITF, 3f, unattractive camel/back camel/sit, circular steps, 3t/2t, split jumps, change sit, pop s, death drop. In spite of the axel, the program as a whole wasn't particularly impressive.

Dustin Brinsmade: Obviously trying to portray a vampire, although some of his music was from "Addams Family", too. Black outfit with a cape across the back trimmed with red sequins. Menacing opening pose, 3t, 3z/2t, 3f fall, death drop(?), edgy straight-line steps, back camel into weird upright spin, more evil posing and edgy moves, 3s/2t, flying camel, 3z, MITF and hydroblade, 2x, 3s, camel/cannonball, back camel/sit/catch/crossfoot. Another very effective, well-skated program, although without the direct crowd appeal of Luke's lighter jazz program.

Evan Gibbs: "New World" symphony in a burgundy & gold copy of Ryan Bradley's "William Tell" outfit (not sure what connection that has to the music). 3z/2t, 2x with no height, 3f/2t, fly sit, edgy steps and a loop figure, 3r, 2s, back-to-front combination spin, serpentine steps, 3t, walleys into 2x, death drop. I wonder if Evan might have placed a notch or so higher had he skated in the final group; this was really a very solid performance.

Jeremy Abbott: Muzak'ed version of 60's rock classics (Eleanor Rigby, Whiter Shade of Pale, etc). 2x landed with beautiful strong carriage, fall on 3z off a very very deep outside edge (OK, we know he doesn't flutz, for sure, but maybe a straighter approach would help with his consistency problems on this jump?), big death drop, 3r fall, 3t/2t, twisted sit spin, 2z from steps hand down, 2s, MITF, straight-line steps, 3t, spin combination, circular step, pop x, upright spin. Fast strong in-between skating, same as in the short program.

Wesley Campbell: 2r, 2x, 3z/3t didn't look quite clean, death drop, 3f, edgy steps, twisted half sit spin, MITF, 3s/2t, straight-line steps on 1 foot into walley with a little stumble, then 3z fall, circular steps, camel/cannonball/back sit/mushroom spin a little slow, 2x/2t, headless spin. Aside from the jump mistakes, the program was kind of flat (it was some movie music I didn't recognize) and second place in this phase of the competition was a bit of a gift, I thought; I'd have put Dustin Brinsmade ahead of him.

Sam Dafoe: Strange mix of "Winter" and Barber's Adagio for Strings in an autumn-like costume decorated with leaves. 3r step out, 3z hard fall into the boards, death drop, 2f, flying camel didn't fly, 3s fall, 2x step out, 2f, 3t fall, circular steps, camel/sit/back camel/sit. Ouch. He seemed to give up on the program after the fall on the lutz.

Ben Woolwine: Rachmaninoff piano concerto #2 in an outfit that looked just like Samuel Steele's G&G knockoff. 3z, 3t step out in sequence with 3t fall, camel/sit/back sit/upright. We notice his boot lace is untucked. MITF, 2z, 3s, walley/3z fall, flying sit, straight line steps, 2x then tripped. At this point the referee blew the whistle and told him to fix his boot lace, and then he restarted with the straight line steps, 2x, inside axel, MITF, 3f, 2x, 2r, flying camel. I don't know to what extent the boot lace was the cause of his problems, but 4th place in the free seemed a little generous to me given that he only landed 3 triples and the falls were really disruptive to the flow of the program. I'd have put him behind both Evan Gibbs and Luke Capizzo, personally.

Jordan Brauninger: Elgar's "In The South"; strong, triumphant music and skating to match. 3f, 3z/3t, 3r/2r a little tight, 3s, flying camel/sit, edgy steps, MITF, 3f/half loop/2s, camel/sit/back sit/catch foot, straight-line steps, 3z, spirals, split jump, 2x, death drop into a fast scratch spin, butterfly to end the program. Wow; 7 triples, same as at last year's Mids. It blows me away to see this kind of skating from a 15-year-old. It's really unfortunate that the US only gets 2 spots at Junior Worlds this year, because the USFSA will most likely give them to the more "senior" juniors (Lysacek and Pennington).

Casey McCraw: JFK in a matador outfit. 3f/2t, pop x, death drop(?), pop z/pop t, MITF, 3s step out/pop t, camel/sit/back camel/sit/catch, circular steps, 3r step out, pop f, straight-line steps, 3s, butterfly back sit to catch-foot spin. Ugh, this was a painful way to end the competition. Casey had a similar meltdown at Nationals last season, and with all those popped jumps I'm inclined to think this is a mental toughness issue and not a technique problem.

Junior ladies free skate

I came in late and only have notes on the last 2 groups. One of the skaters I missed was Michelle Rosinski, who pulled way up with a good program that included (I'm told) a clean triple flip.

BTW, I did not see any of the junior ladies short programs because they were going on in the other rink at the same time as the junior men's short programs.

Brandilyn Sandoval: Disco version of Bach "Toccata & Fugue". 3f slight two-foot/2t, 2x tight and had to fight for landing, 3t/2t, flying camel travelled, 2x/2t, spirals showing a lot of flexibility, 3s apparently landed OK but then fell, side layback nice, 2z, circular steps, turns into 2r/2r, camel/half biellmann/back spin in vertical split.

Kristina Olson: Sounded like ballet music, but I couldn't place it. 3f/2t, 3z(!), spirals, ina, flying camel, 3t/2t, pop s, circular step, 2x and then another 2x, layback didn't, charlotte and steps into 2r, camel/sit/sandhu/back sit/pancake/scratch. Not a whole lot of choreography going on between the elements.

Jillian Asby: "Autumn" from Glazunov's "The Seasons". 2x, 3t hands down, 2s, flying camel, straight-line steps, 2 flutz(?)/2r, layback, 2r/2r, 3t, 1x, steps into 2f, camel/sit/layback/back sit/crossfoot. Didn't really make use of the music at all, unfortunately -- this is glorious music for skating.

Katie Stewart: Pas de deux from "Nutcracker". 2x, 3s and looking very happy, flying camel nice, 2f/2t, 3t two-footed, layback, circular step, ina, 2r, 2z(?), 2r, spiral, 2x, 2t, reverse camel followed by spin combination in her normal direction. A beautifully presented program. I wondered if Katie has thought about taking up pairs; the harder triples don't seem to be happening for her, but she's an extremely well-packaged skater all around.

Lisa Dannemiller: "Spartacus". Layback/back sit/toller camel, 3t/2t, 2t. 3s fall, 2r, 2x, flying camel very nice, 2z, big change-edge spiral, line drive 2x hand down, 2f from steps, camel/sit/back sit/Y. Overall, very steady and secure skating.

Kristen Sheaffer: "Spellbound", I think. 3r, 3z fall, 3s fall, 3t, catch-foot layback, 2x nasty fall, flying camel, spirals, 2z/2t, MITF, pop t, hydroblade, pop x, camel/sit/layback/back sit/contortionist mushroom/Y. Yikes. Although she did manage two clean triples, the judges were brutal with their placements. I think she may have been better off competing senior this year.

Alexandra Patterson: "Four Seasons". 2r, 3t/2t, 2x with no speed, 3f, flying camel, spirals, 3z/2t(!), layback, 3t, 2f/2r, camel/sit/back camel/sit, ended a little after music. This skater is definitely all about the jumps, the in-between skating is kind of stiff and ordinary.

Kristen Mita: Middle eastern music. 2x steps into 3t two-footed, 2z/2t, 3t hung on, layback, 3r fall, camel/sit/catch/back sit all kind of weak, pop s, spirals, 2f, 2z, straight line steps, 2x, flying camel.

Ashlee Homan: Generic pretty music. 2x, 2z arms overhead, 3f cheat/2t cheat and almost into wall, I think I missed a spin while I was scribbling, 3r way underrotated and fall, 2x, 3s cheat, 3t bad cheat, straight-line steps, 2f arms overhead/2r fall, camel/sit/back camel/sit/Y.

Senior men free skate

Ryan Bradley: red bellhop outfit, "Light Cavalry". Popped axel, triple flip/triple toe, triple loop, camel/sit/catch-foot/back camel/sit, triple lutz/triple toe, triple salchow a little off-balance on landing, flying camel with painfully slow rotation, a lot of posing on two feet and slow skating around not doing much, slow spirals that didn't cover much ice, double axel, death drop, double flip, straight-line steps, triple lutz, circular steps, butterfly camel with about 3 more butterflies or changes or foot. The program was front-loaded and the middle section really sagged -- looks like most of the judges took note of this as his presentation marks generally went down from the technical.

Ryan had a ridiculously silly photo of himself printed in the program booklet. During the medal ceremony, instead of being introduced as representing the Broadmoor SC, he had the announcer introduce him as "the self-proclaimed representative of bad behavior". Sigh. I used to like Ryan's skating a lot, but his goof-off attitude is really grating on me these days.

Rohene Ward: "Turandot" in burgundy pajamas. Spectacular layback, fell on quad toe, popped axel, reverse double axel directly into a triple flip in his normal direction, that he stepped out of, charlotte into a triple salchow with a fall, flying camel, circular steps, popped loop, took a couple steps, tried again, and popped that one too. Camel with a bit of a glitch into side sit, straight-line steps, fall on triple axel, double lutz, camel/layback/back camel/donut spin again with a little slip.

Sigh. :-( Rohene hit everything in the 6-minute warmup, including a clean quad and triple axel. He'll be greatly missed at Nationals this year, not only for his own skating but because he's always so visible (not to mention audible!) hanging out in the stands watching his friends in other events compete.

Evan Lysacek: Same gloomy angst-ridden program as last year, in the same blue-gray shirt with drippy chiffon bits on it. Opened with a triple axel a little cheated, but one of his best attempts of the week, and probably worthy of full credit. Triple lutz/triple toe a little tight, MITF, triple loop, death drop, triple flip/half loop/triple salchow, triple flip that looked more like a lutz to me, circular steps, triple lutz, camel/sit/back camel/mushroom spin, straight-line steps, flying camel into a catch-foot sitting position, double axel, sit spin into a back scratch. 7 triples, same as Ryan Bradley, but this was clearly the better performance. Aside from the axel, Evan clearly had an advantage on speed and spins. OTOH, this dreary program does nothing to capture the audience's attention; the music drones on and on without any change in tempo or mood.

Ryan Jahnke: Cinderella's handsome prince. Fall on triple axel, but at least it was fully rotated this time, just off-balance on the landing. Another fall on triple flip (that was supposed to have been in combination with a triple loop). Then he settled down and skated the rest of the program about as well as he can: camel/sit/back sit, straight-line steps, triple lutz/double toe and then a few steps into a triple toe, outside-edge camel, edgy steps and MITF, double axel, 'tano triple lutz, sit/side sit, triple loop, triple salchow, death drop, double axel. Definitely the best-constructed program of the group, presented with his usual speed and flow.

Braden Overett: "Civil War" music in a blue bellhop outfit. Triple axel with a step out, triple toe, triple loop/double loop, flying camel to back cross-foot, edgy steps, double lutz, another triple axel with a step out, spread eagle, triple loop with a hand down, camel/sit/back camel/sit, mugging at the audience, serpentine steps, split jump, death drop, triple lutz two-footed/double toe, triple flip fall, double salchow, camel/sit/back Toller sit. Sigh. Braden's axels are amazingly high, when he has problems with them it's usually with checking the rotation on the landing.

Senior ladies free skate

I was trying to dose myself with caffeine at the beginning of this event and don't have notes on the first few skaters, sorry.

Tiffany Vise: 3t/2t, fall out of 2x that went up sideways, super layback, 3f underrotated and landed on the wrong foot, back spiral into 3s with wrap and tight landing, flying camel, 2x step 2t, spin combination, straight-line steps, 3t fall, 2s/1.5t, change-edge spiral that seemed like a power move, sit/back sit/catch foot/scratch. Overall fast skating with a lot of attack, much less tentative than in the short program.

Shawna Winter: Slaughter on 10th Avenue. 2f, 2x/2t, flying camel to grafstrom spin, 3s underrotated step out, layback, straight-line steps, 2r/2r, spirals, 2z, camel/layback/back camel/sit, 2x underrotated step-out, 2t scribble, camel/back camel/scratch.

Melissa Parker: "Phantom of the Opera". 2z, 3t fall, 2x, flying camel/sit, 2r, 2x steps/2t step-out, straight-line steps, 2z/2t, camel/sit/layback/back sit/crossfoot, spirals, death drop, 2f, layback.

Katie Lee: "Sunset Boulevard". Super layback, 3t fall, 2z, 1x, 2x, change edge spiral while holding free leg, 2f, 3r fall, 2x/half loop/2s, camel/sit/back camel/donut, 2s fall, stars into butterfly camel/back scratch.

Steffi Smith: "Speed". 3t, 2z, flying camel flew but the spin part was too slow, 2x, 3s, camel/sit/back sit, pop r with a bad fall that seemed to shake her up enough that she walked through her next spin, spirals, 2f, 3s fall, 2x, stars into butterfly back sit. The jumps she did in the first half of the program were big, but she kind of lunges into them instead of having a natural spring.

Crystal Calayag: Tango. 3t fall, 2x turn out, flying camel, 2z/2t, 3s fall, circular steps, 2f, layback/catch foot, 2r, 2t/2t, spirals, camel/cannonball/back sit/sasha spin. I didn't see anything particularly tangoish about her choreography, and the cuts of music she used didn't seem to have any variation in tempo, so the overall effect was pretty bland.

Kelsey Drewel: "Red Violin". 2x, 2z, sideways 3s fall, fly camel, 3t/2t, camel/side sit/back sit/Y, 2r, layback, 2f, spirals, 2z, straight-line steps, split/2t, butterfly back sit. She did land a triple lutz in the 6-minute warmup but both attempts in the actual program came out as huge doubles instead.

Amber Czisny: "Carmen". Circular steps, super layback, 2x, 3s/2t that she had to fight for, 3t, death drop, 2z, spirals, 3r two-footed, spectacular ina, spread eagles, 2f, camel/sit in reverse direction followed by spin combination in her normal direction, 3s, 1x, split jump, camel/layback/biellmann/back sit/mushroom, butterfly to end the program. Overall quite strong, confident skating.

Angie Lien: "Spartacus". 2x, 3t/2t, wild camel, pop z, spin combination, spiral, ina, pop r, pop s/2t, death drop(?), 2s, serpentine steps, 2x, layback. Ouch. This was pretty painful.

Alissa Csizny: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. 3z underrotated and landed on the wrong foot/2t, flying camel(?), 3t fall, 3f step out, death drop/sasha spin, charlotte, sideways 3s fall, spirals, straight-line steps into 3r, super layback, 2x step out, 2z, splits, camel/layback/back sit/Y. Ouch. After the way the judges slammed Kristen Sheaffer in junior ladies for a program that had more successful jump content than this one, it was a little surprising to me that they held Alissa up to the extent they did. OTOH, it wasn't like any of the other skaters in this field really skated well enough to challenge for the #2 spot, either.

Lindsey Weber: "Turandot". 3f fall, 3t hand down, layback, 3s fall, flying camel, 2x/2t, circular step, 3t fall, 2x, spirals, camel/sit/back sit/crossfoot, death drop. I might have missed some stuff because I was distracted by a small child who was jumping around in the aisle between the stands and the hockey glass. In fact, I was wondering if she was distracting the skaters, too. Seems pretty irresponsible for parents to bring their kids to a skating event and then let them run loose like that.

Lindsey Berg: "Sunset Boulevard" (there sure were a lot of skaters using that piece this year). 3r two footed/2t, 3f underrotated step out, death drop (?), 3t fall, spirals with change of edge, 2x, 2z/2r, 3s fall, good layback, 2x, serpentine steps, camel/layback/back sit/catch, flying camel onto outside edge/back scratch.

Junior and senior dance

I didn't take any notes on these events, but here are some general thoughts:

I thought there was a big gap in quality between the top three and bottom three couples in junior dance. Steed & Hill have improved a lot since last year, and I think their international experience has given them a lot of confidence. Davis & White are still so much smaller than any of the other couples that they suffered in terms of power and filling the ice surface. Jennifer Wester skated the free dance with her arm in a sling -- I think I heard she dislocated her shoulder. In any case, she was still doing all the twisty holds with it, to the point where I was afraid she was going to hurt herself just by getting all tangled up in the sling.

In senior dance, the main interest was the debut of Gibbons & Pekarek. Justin did a wonderful job of partnering, as you'd expect, and Hilary did a more than creditable job for a skater with no previous dance experience. Yet it was obvious that she was not yet up to Justin's level. In the Quickstep they looked like a skater being propped through the dance by her pro instead of two equals, and in the OD and free dance there were places where she was having little trips or stumbles and a couple places where they seemed to get tangled up on transitions. Maybe by Nationals they will have things ironed out a little more. Anyway, I'd be surprised if they're in the hunt for the medals, and I'd suspect that is fine with them. At least right now, this partnership seems to be more about doing it for the fun of it than jumping back into the pressure cooker that Justin was in with his previous partner.

Speaking of which, since Silverstein & Forsyth did not compete at this event, one assumes it is true that they have split even though no official announcement has yet been made.

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