2003 New Englands

2003 USFSA New England regional
West Acton, MA
Oct 1-5, 2002

I attended the competition on Friday and Saturday, but wasn't able to catch all the events because they were running things in two rinks at the same time. I also didn't take detailed notes on everything. Scroll down to the bottom of the page for some photos from Friday.

Official results from the competition are available from the USFSA here.

Junior pair exhibition

I arrived just in time to see the junior pairs free-skating, which turned out to be an exhibition by Catherine Rigoulot & Andrea Livi, a newly-formed team this year. I didn't take notes on this, but my main impression was that they were not a well-matched pair, Livi being a grown man and much stronger skater than Rigoulot, who seemed to be struggling particularly with her solo jumps. They had a scary lift where she was being held upside-down in a split position supported by a leg grip only, with her head behind his back. I know that the ISU relaxed the rules about leg grips so this might not actually be illegal any longer (I haven't gotten a new rulebook yet to check).

Senior men free skate

This was a pretty feeble excuse for a men's competition -- not sure why either of these guys bothered to skate at this event when they didn't have to. Shepherd Clark (2) has resurrected the "Cats" program he was using 3 years ago, or at least the same music. There seemed to be very little choreography in the program and it doesn't look like Shep has been training his jumps very seriously, either. Elements were triple loop, cross-foot spin, triple axel landed very low and with turn-out, triple toe, popped lutz, double salchow, flying camel with a cool position variation, another triple loop with a turn-out, perfunctory serpentine steps, fall on triple flip, double axel with a step out on two feet, straight-line steps, butterfly spin, and spin combination with a layback.

Scott Smith (1) is now coached by Mark Mitchell and representing the SC of Boston. Mark seems to be helping him with more fluid movement and better extension on his stroking, but Scott's program and choreography were still totally forgettable, and he still has that habit of holding his hands stiff like planks. Elements were popped axel/double toe, fall on quad salchow (at least he rotated it, he kept popping them in the warmup), hard disruptive fall on a double lutz (the lutz has always given Scott trouble), circular step, popped flip, outside-edge camel, two-footed triple axel, MITF, steps into triple loop, triple salchow, spin combination, straight-line steps, split jump into triple toe, butterfly spin.

Junior men free skate

I was surprised at the number of entries this year, but the field turned out to be very weak, and I'm doubtful that any of these guys have much chance to qualify for Nationals out of Easterns.

Noah Abrahams (1 in FS, 2 overall) did double axel landed a bit scrapily on his toe picks, huge double lutz, flying camel, triple salchow/double toe, straight-line step, fall on triple toe, spin combination, double flip/double toe, double loop, circular step, single axel, death drop, double axel (probably thrown in extra?), flying sit spin weak and rushed to end the program. Noah is looking much improved since I last saw him -- I remember him as being pretty wild and flinging himself all over the ice, but in this performance he seemed very controlled, with strong posture and extension. I neglected to write down what his music was.

Adam Kaplan (2 in FS, 1 overall) skated to the Addams Family tango, and kept up the tango theme throughout the program. Fall on triple lutz, double axel, double flip (I think) with hand down, flying camel with no fly, popped loop (didn't this used to be his best jump?), triple lutz with scribble in my notes that I think says "landed in squat", triple salchow, death drop landed on two feet, popped loop (sigh), fall on triple toe, straight-line steps, spin combination. So this was a much more ambitious program than Noah's, but hardly any of the jump content was successful, and he didn't complete a combination of any sort. I have to admit I found Adam's baggy clothing slightly distracting (it looked like he was wearing a regular shirt and pants instead of a skating outfit).

The third skater of interest in this event was Philip Deyesso, whose basic skating and presentation abilities are far beyond his jumping skills. He skated to "Henry V" and opened with a falling leaf/walley/double axel sequence and a triple salchow that probably had a hand down (my view was blocked by the judges' stand) before the jumps started to unravel on him. When the results were posted, I was astonished to see that he'd been disqualified; I'd never seen this happen at a competition. I spoke to him later in the day and he said the problem was that he had taken (and passed!) his senior test between the entry deadline and the actual competition, and under the USFSA rules that makes him ineligible to compete as a junior any more. It seems that his coach or club test chair should have caught this, but he himself didn't seem too upset over it. He said he would have placed 3rd if he hadn't been disqualified, and I think that pleased him as much as if it were official with a medal and all.

Somewhat by default, the two remaining spots for Easterns were filled by Nicholas Santillo and Joseph Gazzola. Santillo landed a triple salchow but not a double axel, Gazzola stood up on triple salchow and toe loop that were both heavily cheated but again had no double axel.

Novice men free skate

Again, this was a weak field. There was only one successful triple jump in the event, and only Justin Clements and Peter Kozodoy landed clean double axels.

Justin Clements (1) is obviously the best skater of this group; he looks bigger and stronger than the other guys, and has more polish and smoothness in his skating. Elements were spin combination, double axel with a turn out, double salchow, double loop, double lutz/double toe, double toe/double toe, unusual straight-line steps, double axel, double flip, double toe, double lutz, circular steps, flying camel. I think he skated to a mishmash of music but the only cut I recognized was the Warsaw Concerto.

Peter Kozodoy (2) did double axel, fall on double toe, fall on triple toe, double lutz, double flip/double toe, death drop, popped salchow, double axel, flying camel/back sit, fall on triple toe, straight-line steps, double flip, double loop with hands down.

Patrick David (3) and Brad Vigorito (4) got the other two spots for Easterns. Patrick fell on his double axel attempt but had good speed and energy through his program. Brad landed what sure looked to me like a triple loop, and I think it must have been because I can't imagine why else he would have placed as high as he did; I thought he flutzed and did double loops in all his combinations because his solo double toe was an obvious "toe axel".

Although he placed well down in the standings, I found that my attention in this group was drawn to Timothy DeBellaistre, who skates like a baby Rohene Ward, with bendy moves like high-leg spirals and layback and biellmann spins. The double jumps he did were very nice with good spring and strong extensions on the landings, but he was pretty slow and needed more difficulty in his connecting elements.

Senior ladies short program

This was an incredibly painful event to watch. One of the problems is that the ISU has changed the rules this season so that the girls are now required to do two different triple jumps, one in the combination and one as the jump out of steps, and a very large fraction of the competitors are simply incapable of doing this. And many of them weren't even trying -- e.g., they were doing an obviously intentional double flip as the jump out of steps, or a double/double combination, or completely omitting all semblance of footwork before the attempted solo triple. I think maybe the USFSA ought to consider revising the requirements for the senior test to make it a more accurate reflection of the skills that are now expected of senior competitors.

The second reason why this event was so painful to watch was that they were using open marking, which made it drag on interminably with reading and re-reading of the scores. It's actually a requirement in the USFSA rulebook that they use open marking for senior events at qualifying competitions, but given the very large number of competitors nowadays, maybe they should consider revising this rule, too, to make things move along more quickly.

Anyway, on to the actual skating.

Tiffany St. Bernard (1) did a triple toe with a barely-controlled landing with a single toe tacked on to the end, nice triple salchow, double axel. Very fast and powerful skating, but Galina Zmievskaya has her skating to "Ave Maria" in a pastel-colored dress, doing this ballerina thing with little toe steps and lots of arm-waving.

Kristin Tudisco (2) did double axel, triple toe, triple salchow/double toe, but all three of her jump elements were visibly cheated as usual.

Alexa Ainsworth (3) was a pleasant surprise. I hadn't seen her compete for a couple years and hadn't even realized she was still skating and had tested up to senior. Triple salchow/double toe, fell on good attempt at triple toe, double axel; fast and energetic skating.

After that, there was a big drop in quality. Katie Beriau (4) did a "line drive" double axel with a clean-edge takeoff and no step up, big splat on a hopeless triple salchow, and double lutz/double toe as her combination, obviously not intended to be a triple. Tanya Bakerman (5) did a way-underrotated attempt at a triple toe, double axel, and double flip/double loop with a step-out as her combination. Dorothy Nowobilski (6) did double axel, fall on triple salchow, and double toe/double toe as her combination (she probably at least intended that to be a triple/double). And things only got worse below that.

As a side note to the competition, Jenny Kirk was supposed to be competing here, but she must have been given a bye for some reason, because she was not even listed in the start order. It's not clear why she would have gotten a bye, though, because she she doesn't have a conflicting international. Injury, perhaps?

Junior ladies short program

They were using open marking for this event, too, but it wasn't nearly as bad as the senior ladies, both because the skating was better, and because there were fewer competitors left after the qualifying round. Here's the rundown on the top finishers:

Erica Archambault (1): triple salchow/double toe, double lutz, double axel. Good spins, as usual.

Chynna Pope (2): double axel, double flip/double toe, double lutz. Strong basic skating.

Amy Bobrick (3): double axel from back spiral, triple lutz maybe two-footed slightly, fall on triple lutz. She skates like a senior, very fast and powerful.

Sarah Farley (4): fall on triple toe, double lutz, back spiral into double axel. Fast, big jumps, was really skating aggressively and attacking her whole program.

Holly Bugbee (5): double flip/double loop, back spiral into double axel (hmmm, seems to be a popular move this year), double lutz. Busy choreography to terminally perky Fred-and-Ginger medley.

Intermediate ladies short program

I didn't take notes on this, sorry, but here's what I remember....

I think Juliana Cannarozzo (1) skated cleanly, with a double axel/double toe combination, but her program was full of jiggling in front of the judges that really turned me off. It reminds me of the stuff Louann Donovan used to do at that age. I was also bugged by her poor posture and lack of extension. She was being coached by Mark Mitchell and Peter Johansson, and I would have thought they wouldn't let her get away with that. Oh well. On the positive side, she has a lot of energy and looks like a fierce competitor.

Danielle Shepard (2) also went for double axel/double toe but the axel was a bit cheated. Brittany Peltz (3) did a double lutz combination instead of going for a double axel, and owes her high placement to the overall quality of her skating. She's the most physically mature of these girls and has more power in her skating. She has a stunning straight-leg layback spin, too. Melanie Drogseth (4) landed her double axel, but then stepped out of the double toe. Sasha Tokarev (5) did a good double axel combination, and then botched the solo single axel at the end of her program.

Junior ladies free skate

Erica Archambault (1): triple salchow/double toe, double lutz, fell on good attempt at triple loop, triple toe, spread eagles and spirals, double axel/double toe, super layback spin, straight-line steps, triple salchow with hops into a double flip, flying camel with illusions. I thought Erica looked very stressed, as if this is serious business for her now. She didn't have a great warmup and it must have been a relief for her to get through the program so well.

Amy Bobrick (2): triple lutz probably lightly two-footed again, back spiral into three turns into a triple loop, triple salchow, flying camel, double axel, double toe/double toe (she had warmed up a triple/double), death drop, circular steps, spirals, double flip (also a triple in warmup), double axel with steps into a double toe, spin combination. Personally, I would have had her in first place because of her power and speed, but she did kind of give it away by backing off on those two triples in the second half of the program.

Chynna Pope (3): double axel/double toe, double lutz/double toe, double salchow, flying camel, double axel, layback, spirals into a double loop, split jump into double flip/double loop, double lutz, circular steps, spin combination. No triple jump, but the doubles she did were of good quality, and the strength of her basic skating holds her up.

Sarah Farley (4): stag leap, flying camel/back sit spin very fast, big double axel, spiral into triple toe, double lutz, fall on triple salchow, flying sit spin with a bit of a two-foot touch down, I thought, double loop, spirals, layback, double flip(?)/double toe, double axel/double toe, split jump into double lutz/double loop, spin combination. As in the short, she really attacked her whole program and went after everything; I would have had her third, myself.

Holly Bugbee (5): double axel, flying camel/back sit/cross-foot, double toe, triple salchow way underrotated and two-footed, layback, spread eagle into double lutz/double toe, spin combination, spirals double flip/double toe, spiral into double loop with arms overhead, back lunge into double axel/double loop, something I missed because I couldn't keep up with note-taking, straight-line steps, double flip, back-to-front combination spin immediately followed by a death drop to end the program. This program was really packed with tricks, but aside from being turned off by the incredibly cheesy medley of patriotic songs ("God Bless America", "Battle Hymn of the Republic", etc) I also found myself getting really annoyed by Holly's poor posture and lack of extension on her in-between skating.

Senior ladies free skate

I decided I couldn't handle sitting through this, so I took a lunch break and missed all but the last few skaters, and didn't take notes on the ones I did see. Neither Tiffany St Bernard (1) nor Kristin Tudisco (2) skated as well as they did at the Boston Open a few weeks ago. The main thing I remember about Katie Beriau's (3) performance was how scary her double axel was (see my comments about it in the short). I came in too late to see Alexa Ainsworth (4), but was told she didn't land anything harder than a double lutz.

Novice ladies free skate

Katie Thordarson (1): good triple toe/double toe, triple salchow, double axel landed without much flow; skating from jump to jump with little or no choreography here. Layback, spirals, double loop, flying camel with a hop change to a forward sit spin, circular step, fall on triple toe, shakey double flip/double toe, spin combination.

Jessica Houston (2): double axel with a hard check on the landing and a double three, triple toe/double toe, flying camel without much fly into a back sit spin, walley into double lutz, layback, spiral, triple salchow, steps, double loop, slow straight-line steps with hops, walleys into a good double axel, stag jump into double flip/double loop, spin combination. I was expecting her to be first by a big margin, but she ended up losing to Katie on a tie-breaker.

Michelle Boulos (3): very fast skating into double flip/double toe that flew over the ice, double loop, double axel with strong flow, big flying sit spin, fall on triple salchow, layback, double lutz/double toe, circular step, spirals, walleys into double axel, spin combination with a biellmann. She's a bit bigger than the other skaters and skated with plenty of power, and the tinkly music-box music seemed too little-girl and totally wrong for her.

Brianna Perry (4): fall on double axel, double lutz, fall on double loop out of three turns, double flip (?), layback, spirals, fall on triple salchow, change camel, straight-line steps, death drop, walleys in both directions into a double flip that she fell out of, triple salchow (!!), split jump. Brianna looked like a train wreck in this performance until she hit that salchow at the end of the program, which gave the judges just enough excuse to send her to Easterns. She really is a much better skater than this and I'm sure the judges know that.

Young-In Bae (5): layback, triple salchow badly underrotated and two-footed, fall on double axel, slow flying camel, double lutz/double loop with unchecked landing, illusions, double loop (?), MITF, split jump/double axel/double toe sequence, spin combination.

Ashlee Cushing (6 in FS, 7 overall): nice layback, double loop, double axel/double toe, circular steps, double flip/double toe, flying camel without much fly, double lutz, double axel, walley/split/double salchow sequence, spin combination. She didn't try a triple, but this was good-quality skating, and I would have had her 4th here. (She was 10th in the short so that still wouldn't have gotten her to Easterns, though.)

Intermediate ladies free skate

Melanie Drogseth (1): spin combination with a jump change, double flip(?) from steps, triple salchow, double lutz/double toe, layback, good double axel, double flip/double toe with a step out, spiral, sequence of split/double lutz/double loop, death drop (?), ina. The clear winner here. I'd heard she'd been struggling to get her double axel but it looked pretty consistent to me both in competition and warmup, and the ones she was doing were all fully rotated and landed on one foot. Her program, BTW, is to the violin arrangement of themes from "Turandot".

Danielle Shepard (2): double lutz, double axel with a slight two-foot, split jump and turns into triple salchow with a slight cheat, double lutz(?)/double loop, underrotated triple toe that she hopped out of, straight-line steps, death drop, MITF, spin combination with her arms behind her back in the front half, charlotte spiral, double flip, back spiral, double lutz, flying camel with illusions. Her program was to upbeat techno music.

Juliana Cannarozzo (3): double lutz/double toe, good double axel, steps, double flip, layback, way underrotated triple salchow landed on two feet, ina, double axel/double toe, circular steps, double loop, spin combination, split jump into double flip (?), sloppy death drop with more dive than fly. She skated to "West Side Story". Again, I was annoyed by her poor posture, and I think some of the judges dinged her on the second mark for it, too.

Brittany Peltz (4): very fast into double lutz/double toe, walley, triple salchow with a turn out, flying camel, circular steps, double loop, double axel with worse two-foot than Danielle's, double flip/double toe, layback with nice position but not held very long, good change-edge spiral, spin combination. She's a Scotvold student and skated to "Beauty and the Beast", which immediately reminded me of Nancy Kerrigan.

Sasha Tokarev (5): inside axel (?), fell on triple salchow, double axel, one-foot axel with an edge pull on the landing into a double lutz (!! -- never seen that done before!), double loop, fell on double axel, layback, badly underrotated triple salchow landed on wrong foot, double lutz. Skated to "Kalinka", I think.

As in the short program, these five skaters were clearly bunched together at the top. Most of the lower-ranked skaters were trying either a double axel or a triple salchow, but not landing either one successfully. Overall, though, this was a really enjoyable competition, and the highlight of the weekend.


Photos are Copyright (c) 2002, Sandra J. Loosemore, and are provided for personal viewing only except as noted in Skateweb's photo use policy.

Obligatory disclaimers: I only took photos on Friday. Lighting in the main rink was really bad and not many of my photos turned out well, so I didn't think it was worth trying again during Saturday's events.

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