Tanovich and Chau capture US junior pairs title

Tracy Tanovich, 12, and Michael Chau, 18, placed first in the Long Program to win the Junior Pairs title.

In the Junior Pairs final, Tracy Tanovich (Southwest Florida FSC) and Michael Chau (Southwest Florida FSC) moved up to win the title in an exciting competition that saw the top two teams deliver stellar performances.

“It was the best performance that we had all year,” Chau declared, “and that is something that we should be proud of. We have been battling the long program, and we really held things together. I am really proud of [Traci].”

Tanovich (12) and Chau (18) won the silver medal last year, and moved up to the top spot on the podium with a polished and well-executed program to Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake.

“I didn’t know that the audience enjoyed the program so much,” said the miniscule Tanovich. “It was a nice feeling to have such a good program, and I was really happy and pleased with myself. It was nice to know that everyone else liked it, too.”

The young team is ineligible to compete at the Junior World Championships due to age restrictions (Tanovich is too young), but that did not detract from the performance one bit. The only error in the otherwise perfect program was a minor misstep on the landing of the throw triple Salchow.

“We had a little bobble on the throw triple sal,” Tanovich explained, “but we recovered from that, and our side-by-side jumps were good and easy. I was a little nervous in the beginning, but I overcame that.”

The Eastern Sectional Junior Champions earned 88.66 points for their free skate and had a competition total of 135.50 points, edging out the leaders of the short program by less than one point for the win.

Brynn Carman (Broadmoor SC) and Christopher Knierim (Broadmoor SC), last year’s novice champions, led after the short program, but were unable to overcome the polish of the Tanovich and Chau.

“We had good speed and flow throughout the program,” noted Carman, “and I think that we had a good solid program.” “I had fun,” added Knierim.

Carman (14) and Knierim (21) skated well nevertheless, opening with a jaw-dropping triple twist lift that drew gasps from the audience. However, like the champions, the silver medalists had one mistake in the program: the singling of an intended double flip. The margin of victory was so small that a double flip would have won the title for the Junior Grand Prix Finalists.

Carman and Knierim scored 86.61 points in the freeskate, and earned a competition total of 134.92 points.

Finishing with the bronze medals were Marissa Castelli (SC of Boston) and Simon Shnapir (Colonial FSC) with an error-laden program.

“Our program was not the best that we performed,” admitted Castelli. “I think that we performed well, but technical-wise, we just didn’t do that well. We’ve been practicing well lately, so I was a little upset with how things didn’t happen.”

Even with the mistakes, high levels on their elements kept Castelli (18) and Shnapir (21) in contention, and their opening Axel lift was the highest scoring element of the free skate.

The 2008 Novice bronze medalists earned 82.30 points for their free skate, and had a competition total of 129.87 points.

Finishing in fourth place was Britney Simpson (Broadmoor SC) and Nathan Miller (Broadmoor SC) with 122.44 points, while Molly Aaron (Coyotes SC of Arizona) and Daniyel Cohen (SC of Boston) earned 118.16 points to finish in fifth.

The event continues with the Senior Free Dance and the Senior Pairs’ and and Ladies’ Long Program.

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