It’s “Junior Day” at US Nationals!

Junior titles in three of the four disciplines were decided today (Nathan Chen won Junior Men’s yesterday). We also saw the first scheduled practice session for the Senior Men, and caught some Senior Pairs practice as well.

Junior Dance

Yes, I watched Junior Dance on purpose (well, the last flight anyway), and I liked it!! Perhaps it’s the evolution in recent years of a more technical, less strum-and -drang style of program, but it’s definitely more to my taste.

Gold: Alexandra Aldridge/Daniel Eaton

Silver: Lauri Bonacorsi/Travis Mager

Bronze: Lorraine McNamara/Quinn Carpenter (she’s only 12, but has a big ice presence)


Junior Pairs

Watching junior pairs is so interesting. The skaters who are just barely doing junior-level skills remind you of just how very difficult this sport is, while the top-level teams illustrate how beautiful pairs is when two skaters “gel”. Hmm…if Caydee Denney and John Coughlin win Senior Pairs, both of the Denney sisters will be 2012 Champions!

Dalilah Sappenfeld had all three of the winning pairs!

Gold: Haven Denney/Brandon Frazier

Silver: Britney Simpson/Matthew Blackmer

Bronze: Kylie Duarte/Colin Grafton

Junior Ladies

I was eager to see Gracie Gold after reading Phil Hersch’s column about her several weeks ago (I would paste the link, but can’t figure out how to do that on my iPad at the moment ūüė¶ ) People, this girl’s Lutz is MASSIVE. She actually has a delay! Even with a fall on her ¬†second triple Axel, Gold scored 178.92 to win by over 20 points. This is the highest score ever recorded by a junior lady since the new scoring system debuted. I know being US Junior Ladies’ Champion is no great guarantee of future success, but Gold is a real jumping talent, the likes of which we haven’t seen in US ladies in a long,long time.

Gold: Gracie Gold

Silver: Ashley Cain

Bronze: Hannah Miller

Practices

The senior men had their first scheduled practice this morning, and evidently some of them aren’t in San Jose yet, as there were many no-shows. Ross Miner and Ricky Dornbush had pretty good sessions. No Abbott, Mroz, ¬†Carriere, Mahbanoozadeh, or Rippon.

We saw the senior pairs practice twice. The race for the gold seems pretty clearly between Evora/Ladwig and Denney/Coughlin. Amanda Evora landed one triple toe all day, and she two-footed it. That has been a problem for them in the past and unfortunately seems to be continuing.

News from across the pond (Euros)

–Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy have withdrawn prior to the short program due to ¬†Savchenko’s leg injury. The three Russian pairs competing (Volosozhar/Trankov, Bazarova/Larionov, and Stolbova/Klimov) are in the top three spots after the short.

–Bobrova/Sovloviev have a slight lead after the short dance.

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