2006-07 Junior Grand Prix Final: Men’s Highlights
USA’s Stephen Carriere dominated the men’s event to win the gold, while teammate Brandon Mroz rose from fifth place to capture the silver. Kevin Reynolds of Canada catapulted from seventh place after the short to win the bronze.
The US men dominated the short program, finishing first through fifth place – three of which scored less than two-tenths of a point from each other.
Carriere landed a solid double Axel in the opening of his routine to Stray Cat Strut and Pink Panther, followed by a very good triple Lutz-double toeloop combination, and a level three straight line footwork sequence, but then stumbled on the landing of a triple flip. The 2006 US Junior Champion recovered to produce good spins and footwork, earning a new personal best of 59.46 points for a first place finish after the short.
“I was a little away from myself,” said Carriere.”I was too slow. When I got up I was really thinking ‘get the rotation done.’ When I came down, I kind of overexcited myself and so I stepped out.” The JGP The Hague Champion added: “I definitely can do it a lot better. I’ve been training a lot better. I was very surprised to have a personal best. I’ll take that in and I’ll do a better one tomorrow.”
Skating to music from the Drumline soundtrack, teammate Tommy Steenberg delivered a solid triple flip, but then had a shaky landing on a triple Lutz, adding a double toeloop instead of a planned triple. The JGP Mirecurea Ciuc Champion quickly recovered to produce a good level two circular step sequence, a double Axel, a level four combination spin, placing second after the short with 56.42 points.
“I’m satisfied with it,” said Steenberg. “Obviously, the combo wasn’t my best, but my triple flip and double Axel were both solid and I held the spins pretty well. I think the whole performance was good.” The 18-year-old added that the program was a tricky one to choreograph. “I actually tried it a year ago, and it didn’t really work for me then. Then this year I re-choreographed it a second time, and it still didn’t work. I ended up trying it one last time, because I thought if I could make it work it would be fun. This year, I ended up doing a lot of the choreography myself, and it has been a good working process. I think it really pushed me in my presentation and creativity.”
USA’s Austin Kanallakan produced solid routine which featured a triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination, a triple flip, a double Axel, and a very good level three combination sit spin. The 2006 Junior Grand Prix Final silver medalist earned 55.88 points for his routine to Leyenda by Vanessa Mae, placing third overall after the short.
“I did my jumps very well but I’m a little bit disappointed on how I skated the program, said the 15-year-old. “Technically, it’s probably the best I’ve done so far this year. I think my footwork could have been a lot better and my skating skills in the second half of the program could have been a little bit more controlled. It felt a little wild.”
Teammate Curran Oi also did well in his short to Children of Sanchez by Chuck Mangione, landing a double Axel, a triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination, a triple flip. The JGP Courchevel silver medalist also displayed two level four combination spins, placing fourth with a new personal best of 55.76 points.
Mroz delivered a very good triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination and a double Axel, but stepped out of the landing on a triple flip in his routine to Nino Roto’s Improviso. The JGP Chinese Taipei Cup Champion was awarded 55.62 points for fifth place finish after the short.
Japan’s Takahito Mura landed a triple Axel-triple toeloop combination, a triple flip, and double Axel in his short to Art on Ice by Edvin Marton. The 2006 Japanese Junior silver medalist placed sixth with a new personal best of 55.36 points.
Reynolds was seventh (53.08 points), followed by Russia’s Artem Borodulin (50.38 points).
Skating to Space Shuttle and God Bless the Child, overnight leader Carriere reeled off a very good triple Axel, followed by a solid triple toeloop-double toeloop-double toeloop combination, a good triple flip-double toeloop combination, and a good level three straight line footwork sequence. However, the JGP Budapest Champion then had a shaky landing on a triple Lutz and he stumbled out of the landing on a triple loop. Despite the mistakes, he quickly recovered to produce a triple flip, triple Lutz-double toeloop combination, a triple Salchow, and good spins and footwork, earning a new personal best of 128.67 for a first place finish in the long and overall (188.13 points).
“I think it was great that I came back from last year,” said the 17-year-old who was sixth last year. “Last year I had no experience with the Junior Grand Prix Final. I didn’t know what it was like going into it. I’m glad that I was able to improve on my placement and on my point total.” He added that his program could have been better: “I started well. In the middle it was kind of sketchy, kind of scary, but then I really pushed myself. I think I lost maybe a little bit of my focus [in the middle]. That’s what I have learned.”
Skating to Malaguena by Ernesto Lecuona, Mroz landed a triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination, but followed up with a shaky triple flip-double toeloop-double loop combination and later fell on a triple Salchow. The 15-year-old otherwise landed two double Axels, a triple flip-double toeloop combination, two more triple jumps, and produced level three and four spins for a second place finish in the long (112.44 points). With a total of 168.06, the JGP Chinese Taipei Cup Champion rose from fifth to second place overall to win the silver.
“I think it was a great comeback,” said Mroz, referring to after the Short Program. “The skating was ok. I really had to fight through the program, but overall I’m glad for this being my first Junior Grand Prix Final to end up second.”
Reynolds, who stood in seventh after the short, fell on a quadruple Salchow attempt, but then landed a quadruple toeloop. The 2005 Canadian Junior silver medalist also delivered two double Axels, a triple flip-triple toeloop-double loop combination, and a triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination, but fell on a triple loop and two-footed the landing both jumps on a triple Salchow-double toeloop combination. Nevertheless, he earned 108.22 for a third place finish in the long and catapulted from seventh to third place overall (161.30 points) to win the bronze.
“I was happy because it was the first time I attempted and landed the quad toe [in competition],” said the 16-year-old. “I kind of lost my focus on the triple loop but came back strong with the two triple-triples at the end.”
Borodulin delivered an almost flawless program, which featured six triple jumps and two double Axels. The 17-year-old placed fourth in the long (106.79 points) and seventh overall (157.17 points).
Mura landed a very good triple Axel, but doubled a Salchow and struggled on other jumps to place fifth in the long (104.48 points) and fourth overall (159.84 points).
Oi fell on two jumps and during a straight line footwork sequence. He placed sixth in the long (101.96 points) and fifth overall (157.72 points).
Steenberg, who was second after the short, placed seventh in the long (101.15 points), slipping to sixth place overall (157.57 points).
Kanallakan, who was third after the short, placed eighth in the long and overall.