Golden Skate

2007 US Figure Skating Championships: Men’s Highlights

Novice Division

Armin Mahbanoozadeh (Fairfax, Va.) was the gold medal winner in the Novice division, while Alexander Johnson (Minnetonka, Minn.) edged out Keegan Messing (Girdwood, Alaska) for the silver.

Short Program

Performing to music from the Beetlejuice soundtrack, Mahbanoozadeh landed a triple Lutz-double toeloop combination, a solid triple flip and a double Axel. The 15-year-old also produced a good level three straight line footwork sequence and sit spin, placing first with 45.50 points.

Scott Dyer (Baltimore, Md.) produced a solid triple Salchow and triple toeloop-double toeloop combination in his routine to Espanña Cañi by the Manhattan Pops Orchestra. The 2006 Triglav Trophy Novice Champion also delivered a double Axel and showcased two good level four spins, placing second with 45.43 points.

Skating to Cello Concerto No. 1 by Saint-Saëns, Johnson executed a triple Lutz-double toeloop combination and a triple flip, but later singled an Axel. Despite the mistake, the 16-year-old displayed a very good level three straight line footwork sequence and a good sit spin to earn 44.62 points, placing third after the short.

Max Aaron (Scottsdale, Ariz.) stepped out of a triple Lutz (meant to be in combination jump) and struggled on the landing of a triple flip. The 2007 Pacific Coast Sectional Novice silver medalist placed fourth (43.32 points).

Alexander Aiken (Cumming, Ga.), who fell on a triple flip, placed fifth (42.13 points).

Alexander Zahradnicek (Charlotte, N.C.) was sixth (41.75 points), followed by Messing (40.42 points).

Long Program

Messing, who stood in seventh after the short, opened his Pirates of the Caribbean routine with a triple Lutz-double toeloop combination, but then put his hand down on a triple Axel. The 15-year-old also turned out the landing on a triple Lutz, but otherwise delivered four more triples and a good straight line footwork sequence to place first in the long (94.59 points) and third overall (135.01 points).

Skating to Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5, Mahbanoozadeh fell on a triple triple toeloop, but otherwise delivered a triple Lutz-double toeloop combination, a triple Salchow-double toeloop combination, and three more triple jumps. The 2007 Eastern Sectional Novice Champion also produced two very good level four spins, a double Axel, and good straight line footwork sequence to place second in the long (93.27 points) and first overall (138.77 points).

“I’ve been practicing hard all year,” said Mahbanoozadeh. “I’ve made a lot of my triples consistent, and at sectionals I had a really good skate and posted the highest score in the nation. So, I felt confident going into here.”

Johnson touched down with his hand on a triple flip and again after a triple toeloop (in combination with a double toeloop-double loop), but otherwise produced three more triple jumps, and a double Axel. The 2007 Midwestern Sectional Novice silver medalist also displayed good circular footwork and two level four spins, earning 91.28 points for a second place finish in the long and overall (135.90 points).

Dyer, who stood in second after the short, underrotated and fell on a triple Lutz and later underrotated and stepped out of a triple toeloop in his routine to Concerto in B Minor for Cello and Orchestra by Dvorak. Despite the mistakes, the 15-year-old produced three good level four spins, a good level three straight line footwork sequence, four good triple jumps to place fourth in the long (88.52 points) and overall (133.95 points).

Aaron (15) placed fifth in the long and overall (124.94 points), followed by Zahradnicek (15), who was sixth in the long and overall (121.72 points).

Aiken (16), who stood in fifth after the short, placed seventh in the long and overall (120.50 points).

Junior Division

Eliot Halverson (St. Paul, Minn.) won the title in the Junior division, while Brandon Mroz (St. Louis, Mo.) and Austin Kanallakan (Colorado Springs, Colo.) won the silver and bronze medal, respectively.

Halverson, Mroz, and Stephen Carriere (who competed at the senior level) were chosen to represent the U.S. at the upcoming World Junio Figure Skating Championships, with Kanallakan being the first alternate.

Short Program

Skating to Hana’s Eyes by Maksim Mrvica, Halverson landed a triple Lutz-double toeloop combination, a solid triple flip, and a double Axel. The 2006 U.S. Novice Champion also displayed good spins and footwork to place first after the short with 65.12 points.

Mroz delivered a solid triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination, a triple flip, and a double Axel in his routine to Improviso by Nino Rota. The 16-year-old also produced a very good level three circular footwork sequence and two level four spins, earning 61.76 for a second place finish.

Performing to The Feeling Begins, Douglas Razzano (Scottsdale, Ariz.) landed an excellent double Axel, a solid triple toeloop-triple toeloop combination, and a triple flip. The 2007 Pacific Coast Sectional Junior silver medalist also produced two level four spins and good level three footwork to place third with 58.31 points.

Curran Oi of Wellesley, Mass. landed a double Axel, a triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination, and a triple flip in his program to Children of Sanchez by Chuck Mangione. The 16-year-old also delivered good footwork and two level four spins, placing a very close fourth (58.27).

Princeton Kwong (Los Altos Hills, Calif.) had to hang onto the landing of a triple flip in his routine to Marco Polo by Yo-Yo Ma, but otherwise produced a very good triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination and a solid double Axel for a fifth place finish (57.39 points).

Kanallakan fell during his straight line footwork sequence and singled an Axel, but otherwise executed a good triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination, a solid triple flip, and two very good spins, placing sixth (55.04).

“It was definitely the weakest short program I’ve done all year,” admitted the 2006 JGP Spin of Norway Champion. “I started off really well and I just lost focus going into the Axel and made a silly mistake doing the footwork from my long program.”

Adam Rippon (Clarks Summit, Pa.) finished seventh (52.82 points), followed by closely by Daniel Raad of Hackensack, N.J. (52.71 points) and Jonathan Cassar of Waterford, Mich. (52.54 points).

Long Program

Performing to a modern arrangement of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue, Kanallakan reeled off a triple flip-triple toeloop combination, a triple Lutz-double toeloop combination, and a triple flip. The 2006 JGP Courchevel Champion had to hang onto the landing of a double Axel, but otherwise produced three more triple jumps, a double Axel, two good level four spins, and a very good level three straight line footwork sequence. The 16-year-old was awarded first place in the long (122.90 points), and with a total score of 177.94 points, placed third overall to capture the bronze.

“It was pretty good, said. “I took everything one step at a time. I didn’t get into the choreography as I usually do, but it was still pretty good. I was able to do all my jumps and everything went well.”

Skating to music form the soundtracks of Tales from the Crypt, The Nightmare Before Christmas and Beetlejuice, Halverson opened with a double Axel, but underrotated his triple toeloop (in combination with a triple Lutz). Despite the mistake, the 2007 Midwestern Sectional Junior Champion landed a triple loop-double toeloop-double loop combination, a triple flip-double toeloop combination, a double Axel, and three more good triple jumps. The 16-year-old also delivered a very good level two circular footwork sequence and three level four spins to place second in the long (122.67 points) and first overall (187.79 points).

“I feel incredible and that was definitely the program I wanted to do,” said Halverson. “I wouldn’t change anything. To have won a novice and junior title in successive years means a lot,” said Halverson. “It’s a good reward for all of the hard work I’ve put in this season. I’m really excited. Last year’s nationals was a really good experience, and winning helped me keep going for this year.”

Mroz opened his Malaguena routine with a solid triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination, followed by a triple flip-double toeloop combination, and a good level four flying sit spin, but then fell out the landing of a double Axel and later had a bad ‘lean’ in the air during a triple flip-double toeloop combination. Nevertheless, the 2006 JGP Final silver medalist also displayed very good circular footwork and landed three more triple jumps and a double Axel to place third in the long (116.80 points) and second overall (178.56 points).

“In general, I think it was an ‘ok’ skate,” said Mroz. “I think it wasn’t my best. I’ve done better, but I think even though there were mistakes, I was fighting all the way through.”

“Going into second, you have that feeling of ‘you’re up there, but if you want to move up, you’ve got to throw down the gauntlet’,” continued the 2006 U.S. Novice silver medalist. “I’ve been in this situation before. I’ve been in better and worse spots, so I know how to deal with the pressure. I’ve gone through that all season.”

Richard Dornbush (Corona, Calif.), who stood in 13th after the short, landed a triple Lutz-double toeloop combination, a triple flip-double toeloop-double loop combination, and a double Axel-triple toeloop combination. Despite stepping out of a triple loop, the 15-year-old landed three more solid triples and displayed a good level three combination spin to place fourth in the long (112.54 points) and eighth overall (156.72 points).

Oi fell on a triple Lutz and struggled with the landing of a triple flip in his routine to Freedom by Michael W. Smith, but otherwise landed four good triple jumps (two in combination with double jumps), and a solid double Axel-double toeloop-double loop combination. The 2006 Gardena Spring Trophy Junior Champion also produced good spins and footwork, placing fifth in the long (112.23 points) and fourth overall (170.50 points).

Razzano produced six good triple jumps and a double Axel in his routine to Warsaw Concerto, but the 18-year-old fell on a triple toeloop and stepped out of a triple flip, placing sixth in the long (109.95 points) and fifth overall (168.26 points).

Rippon underrotated and fell on a triple Lutz during his straight line footwork sequence. The 17-year-old also stepped out of a triple Salchow and a double Axel, placing seventh in the long (105.68 points) and sixth overall (158.50 points).

Kwong (17) fell on both a triple flip and triple loop, placing eighth in the long and slipping to seventh overall (157.97 points).

Cassar (20) finished ninth overall (150.83 points), followed by Raad (19) who was 10th (147.72 points).

Senior Division

Evan Lysacek (Naperville, Ill.) won his first US National title, while Ryan Bradley (St. Joseph, Mo.) and Johnny Weir (Quarryville, Pa.) won the silver and bronze medal, respectively.

All three medalists earned a spot to both the upcoming World and Four Continents Championships (4CCs), however Weir declined his invite to the 4CCs and Jeremy Abbott will take his place.

Short Program

Lysacek opened his Passion routine with a very good triple Axel, followed by solid triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination, and a good triple flip. The current World bronze medalist also delivered an excellent level three straight line footwork sequence, a very good level three circular footwork sequence, and good spins, placing first after the short with 78.99 points.

Evan felt that a weight had been lifted from his shoulders. “I think this was my goal today. To show anyone that has criticized my short program skating that when I’m really well-trained and prepared and want to win something, that nothing can stop me,” said the 2006 U.S. National silver medalist.

Skating to his King of Chess routine, Weir opened with a solid triple Axel and a triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination. Despite a shaky landing on a triple flip, the defending national champion also displayed a very good circular and straight line footwork sequence, as well as three level four spins, placing a very close second (78.14 points).

“I hadn’t competed well all season and with all the pressure of being a three-time champion,” said Weir. “I’m trying to keep the title. I’m so happy that I didn’t fall on my butt and I was able to get through it. I trained very hard for this program it showed through today, he said.

Bradley reeled off a very good triple Axel, followed by a solid triple flip-triple toeloop combination, and a triple Lutz in his program to Polka and Happy Birthday Variations by Gidon Kremer. The 2007 Midwestern Sectional silver medalist also produced a good level three straight line footwork sequence, a good combination change spin, and good circular footwork to place third with 73.58 points.

“I feel awesome,” said Bradley. “I’ve never been close to breaking the 70s (in points). At home, I knew my spins and footwork had more flair – a little better levels. I started thinking yesterday that I might be able to get up there if I can put it all together.

Of his costume, Bradley said: “I wanted the tackiest, brightest colors you can find. I wanted it to be a normal suit, but in awful colors that should never be near each other. I look in the mirror and it just makes me laugh! You have to squint to look at it. How can you not enjoy something like that?”

Skating to Legends by The Brave, Parker Penning ton (Windsor, Conn.) landed a triple Axel, a triple flip-double toeloop combination, and a triple Lutz. The 2006 Nebelhorn Trophy silver medalist also produced two very good level four combination spins and a good level two straight line footwork sequence, placing fourth with 68.56 points.

Shaun Rogers (Millersville, Md.) fought with the landing of a triple flip in his routine to The Battle on the Ice by Prokofiev, but otherwise produced a triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination, a very good triple Axel, a good circular footwork sequence, and a very good level three combination change spin to place fifth (67.34 points).

Performing to Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, Nicholas LaRoche (Gardner, Mass.) opened with a triple Axel which had a wild landing, followed by a solid triple flip and triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination. The 23-year-old also displayed good straight line and circular footwork, as well as a very good level four combination sit spin, placing sixth with 67.33 points.

Scott Smith (Sandy Spring, Md.) stepped out of his triple Axel in the opening of his skate to Night Train, but landed a triple toeloop-triple toeloop combination, a triple loop, and displayed good level three footwork, placing seventh (67.01 points) after the short.

Braden Overett (Denver, Colo.) produced an outstanding flying sit spin in his routine to music from the Havana soundtrack, as well as very good footwork, but stepped out of a triple Axel and had problems with his combination jump, placing eighth (66.58 points) after the short.

Jeremy Abbott (Aspen, Colo.) also produced good footwork and spins, but fell on a triple Lutz and stepped out of a triple Axel in his short to Dead Already from the American Beauty soundtrack. The 2007 Midwestern Sectional Junior Champion stood in ninth (64.48 points) after the short.

Stephen Carriere (Wakefield, Mass.) stood in 10th (64.34 points) after the short, followed by Derrick Delmore of Ft. Washington, Md. (62.49 points).

Long Program

Lysacek opened his Carmen routine with a very solid quadruple toeloop-triple toeloop combination, a triple Axel, a triple loop, and a triple Salchow. The 2006 Cup of China Champion went on to produce a triple Axel-triple toeloop combination, two more triple jumps (one in combination), and a double Axel. He displayed very good spins and received very high marks for his level three straight line footwork sequence, placing first in the long (169.89 points) and overall (248.88) to win the title.

“It’s alright. I’m kind of tired,” said Lysacek jokingly, on winning his first National title. “It was amazing. It was definitely kind of a new ‘me’ and I tried to really be tunnel-visioned.”

“I was watching Tiger Woods today at the Buick Invitational,” explained the 2006 Skate America silver medalist.”Like really watching how confident he was when he stepped up. I tried to take that [same] approach to each jump and have no doubt.”

Lysacek admitted to being nervous before taking the ice for his long. “It was not easy at all, and I felt like I was going to throw up before I went on. But then this like strange calm came over me and I went into this zone that I’ll hopefully be able to recreate for future competitions.”

Skating to a Perez Prado medley, Bradley opened with a very solid triple Axel-triple toeloop combination and triple Lutz. The 23-year-old went on to produce four more good triple jumps, two solid double Axels, and very good circular footwork, while displaying good spins throughout. The 2006 U.S. Collegiate Champion placed second in the long (145.63 points) and overall (219.21 points) to win his first senior national medal.

“I haven’t even been close to the medal stand in Seniors [before],” said Bradley. “It was like a swirling bubble. I got so happy. Everything I’ve been trying to do all season long …I was pushing myself. It’s just so good to have everyone behind me. It’s such an amazing feeling I can’t even explain it.”

Abbott (21), who stood in ninth after the short, stepped out of a triple flip and singled two Axels, but otherwise produced a triple Axel-triple toeloop combination, a triple Lutz-double toeloop-double loop combination, and three more good triple jumps. The 2006 Finlandia Trophy Champion also delivered two very good level four combination spins and a good level three circular and straight line footwork sequence to place third in the long (136.47 points) and fourth overall (200.95 points).

Performing to Child of Nazareth by Maxime Rodriguez, Weir landed a triple Axel, but then two-footed a quadruple toeloop and later fell on a triple loop. The 22-year-old also singled an Axel, but otherwise executed three more triple jumps, an excellent circular and straight line footwork sequence, and good spins for a fourth place finish in the long (135.06 points). However, with a total score of 213.20 points, the 2006 Cup of Russia silver medalist slipped to third overall.

Weir, who skated after Lysacek, had heard the thunderous applause after his teammate’s performance. “I kept closing my eyes… I would be just at my practice rink and everything would be normal. But a reaction like what Evan had for his performance is very difficult to block out. In addition to all of the pressure that I had coming into this event, I just felt like everything was pushing down on my shoulders. It was probably the most difficult performance of my career thus far.”

“I was excited that I was able to stand up on the quad and that I fought for every element today,” continued the 2006 Skate Canada bronze medalist. “I didn’t give up – even after the fall on the triple loop and the popped triple Axel. I still kept fighting – adding the stupid little double toeloops on the last two jumps of the program just to get a few extra points. I’m pleased even though it wasn’t a great performance. It was better than anything else I have done this season, and hopefully I’ll keep growing on this. By Tokyo, hopefully I will be on the medal stand for Worlds.”

Delmore, who stood in 11th after the short, opened with a triple Lutz-double toeloop-double loop combination in his routine to Harlem to Madagascar, but singled an Axel and stepped out of a triple toeloop. The 2007 Eastern Sectional Champion placed fifth in the long (132.60 points), rising to sixth place overall (195.09 points).

Smith produced a triple Axel-double toeloop-double loop combination, a triple Salchow, and a solid triple Axel in his routine to music from the Romeo and Juliet soundtrack, but then doubled a loop, singled a Lutz, and fought for the landing of a triple flip. The 25-year-old placed sixth in the long (129.58 points) and was fifth overall (196.59 points).

Pennington fell on a triple Axel and two-footed the landing of a triple Salchow. The 2007 Midwestern Sectional bronze medalist placed eighth in the long (124.23 points), dropping from fourth to seventh place overall (192.79 points).

Rogers, who stood in fifth after the short, fell on a triple Axel (discounted due to second pass), put his hand down on the landing of a triple Lutz and a triple flip, placing ninth in the long (122.81 points) and eighth overall (190.15 points).

Carriere placed seventh in the long (124.70 points) and was ninth overall (189.04 points), while Overett placed 10th in the long and overall (188.47 points).

LaRoche, who stood in sixth after the short, placed 12th in the long and 11th overall (179.27 points).

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