2006-07 Junior Grand Prix Final: Pairs Highlights

USA’s Keauna McLaughlin and Rockne Brubaker edged out Ksenia Krasilnikova and Konstantin Bezmaternikh of Russia to win the gold, while teammates Jessica Rose Paetsch and Jon Nuss took the bronze. Kendra Moyle and Andy Seitz were fourth.

Short Program

Performing to music from the Somewhere in Time soundtrack, McLaughlin and Brubaker began with a very good level four lift, followed by side-by-side double Axels, a double twist, and a somewhat labored throw triple Salchow. The JGP Chinese Taipei Cup Champions went on to produce a combination spin, a good level four spiral sequence and pair spin, and a good back-outside death spiral, earning a new personal best of 55.30 points for a first place finish after the short.

“We knew they [Krasilnikova and Bezmaternikh] had skated well, but we knew what we had to focus on,” said Brubaker. “No matter how good another team does, we only do what we’re able to do. [The program] felt the most comfortable – like kind of a practice skate.” In regards to their new personal best, McLaughlin added: “In each competition, we try to improve and I think we improved a lot since our last competition, so I’m really happy with it.”

Krasilnikova and Bezmaternikh delivered a good routine to Emmerich Kálmán’s The Circus Princess, executing a good throw triple Salchow and double twist, but their side-by-side double Axels were shaky. The current World Junior bronze medalists also produced a level four lift and spiral sequence, and a good back-outside death spiral to earn 52.07 points for a second place finish after the short.

“I’m not so happy about my double Axel,” said Bezmaternikh, referring to a shaky double Axel. “I think it didn’t look too good. I don’t know why it happened, I did a good one in warm up. Overall we felt good on the ice, we were calm. The music is from last year, but we changed some entries and the elements have changed. For tomorrow we just aim for a clean skate.”

Skating to music from the Anastasia soundtrack, Paetsch and Nuss opened with a good level four lift, followed by side-by-side double flips, a double twist, and a throw triple Salchow. The 2006 US Novice Champions went on to deliver a good level three spiral sequence and two level three spins, earning a new personal best of 47.94 points for a third place finish after the short.

“It felt like it was great,” said Nuss. “Every element was just as good as we can do it.” Nuss also added that the competition felt like a reunion. “We haven’t seen some of these guys in a long time. It’s nice to be with them.”

Russia’s Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov produced a good double twist, a throw triple Salchow, a good level four lift, and side-by-side double Axels, but the team had problems with their side-by-side flying camel spin. The JGP Chinese Taipei Cup silver medalists earned 47.37 points for their Love Story routine, placing a close fourth behind the Americans.

Moyle and Seitz produced a good level four lift, a double twist, a throw triple Salchow, and a level four spiral sequence, but Moyle popped her jump in the side-by-side double Axels. The 2006 World Junior silver medalists finished fifth with 46.16 points.

Teammates Bridget Namiotka and John Coughlin and Kaela Pflumm and Christopher Pottenger finished sixth and seventh, respectively, while Canada’s Emilie Demers Boutin and Pierre-Philippe Joncas were eighth.

Long Program

Krasilnikova and Bezmaternikh opened their Spartacus routine with a double twist, followed by a good throw triple Salchow, a triple twist, and a level four spiral sequence, but during the side-by-side double Axels, Bezmaternikh put his hands down on the first jump and turned out the landing on the second. The JGP Liberec Champions recovered to produce two level four lifts, a throw triple loop, and a level four pair combination spin, placing first in the long with a new personal best of 94.51 points. With a total 146.58 points, the team missed the the podium by less than half a point to place second overall.

“Like yesterday it wasn’t clean,” said Bezmaternikh. “There were two mistakes on the Axel. I don’t know why.” Regarding the new personal best, he added: “We’re growing step by step. We’ll continue to strive for perfection.”

Overnight leaders McLaughlin and Brubaker were last to skate. They opened their Dance of the Knights routine with a good triple twist, but then McLaughlin stepped out of the landing on the throw triple Salchow and fell on her jump in the side-by-side double Axels. Brubaker later two-footed the second jump in a double Lutz-double flip sequence. Despite the mistakes, the team produced a good throw double loop, two very good lifts, a good level four spiral sequence, and a level three back-outside death spiral. With a new personal best of 91.31 points, the JGP Budapest Champions placed second in the long, but won gold with a total score of 146.61 points.

“We held back a little bit,” said Brubaker, “but at the same time I feel it was a big step. We haven’t really gone last in a competition for the long program and waiting that time. We wanted to skate better but it was a good learning lesson. It taught us a lot.”

Pflumm and Pottenger, who stood in seventh after the short, skated a clean performance to Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor by Sergei Rachmaniov which included a good throw triple Lutz, two level four lifts, a throw triple loop, a side-by-side double Lutz-double flip sequence, a level four spiral sequence, and a level four side-by-side flying camel combination spin. The JGP Budapest silver medalists placed fifth in the long with a new personal best of of 88.91 points, moving up to fifth place overall (131.19 points).

Skating to Prince Igor by Alexander Borodin, Moyle and Seitz opened with a level four lift, followed by side-by-side double Lutzes, a throw triple Salchow, a double twist, and a double Axel-double Axel sequence, but then the current US Junior Champions struggled during a lift. Despite the mistake, the team went on to deliver a good throw triple loop, a level four spiral sequence, and a good level four flying camel combination spin, earning 86.69 points for a fourth place finish in the long. With a total score of 132.85 points, the team placed fourth overall – as they did last year.

Paetsch and Nuss were fifth in the long with a new personal best of 85.11 points, but placed third overall with 133.05 points to win the bronze. Despite problems on their last lift which didn’t take off, the team delivered a routine which included a double twist, a throw triple Salchow, side-by-side double Lutzes, a very good level four lift, a level four spiral sequence, a throw double loop, and a double Lutz-double flip sequence.

“To come in here and to compete against some of the senior level teams of our country and to medal is definitely exciting,” said Nuss. “We beat our personal best today, again. This is only our first year on the Junior Grand Prix circuit.”

Namiotka and Coughlin were sixth in the long (81.49 points) and overall (126.94), while Bazarova and Larionov placed eighth in long (77.79 points), dropping from fourth to seventh overall (125.16 points).

Boutin and Joncas finished seventh in long (78.97 points) and eighth overall (119.00 points).

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