Copely takes Lichtman to the dark side and to a U.S. gold medal

Charlotte Lichtman and Dean Copely captured the junior ice dance title at the 2011 AT&T U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

Charlotte Lichtman learned today that being lured into the twisted world of Michael Keaton’s Beetlejuice isn’t always a bad thing. Her ice dance partner, Dean Copely, appropriately attired in black and white stripes, played the role to perfection, and the duo came away with the US junior dance championship as a result.

“In the beginning, I’m kind of creeping behind her, and she doesn’t really know what I am all about,” Copely said of his skating character. “I have to convince her that I am this nice and friendly person, and then she wants to get to know me. We’re kind of having fun in the beginning, and then she sees my dark side for the first time… Then it’s a seductive tango piece that pulls her in, and transitions into the last part when she thinks that she is free and clear of me. Instead, she steps over into my world.”

Despite missing the second part of their required twizzle sequence, Copely recovered well enough to convince his partner to come to his underworld. Their total score of 132.28 points was enough to move them up from second place after the short dance to share the gold medals.

“I want to say that I am usually a good twizzler, but I had some blade issues at the (Junior Grand Prix) Final, and I couldn’t do a twizzle in the practices to save my life,” Copely shared. “Somehow I pulled all of those off there. Coming into here, I felt very confident with them, and maybe I just didn’t spend enough time paying attention to them.” 

Other than the mistake on the twizzles, Lichtman and Copely performed beautifully, creating Picasso-like pictures on the ice appropriate to the program’s theme. Though they did not receive the highest element score of the day, their program components were strong enough to propel them to the top step of the podium.

“Obviously it feels really good to accomplish our dream slash goal,” Lichtman said through her bright smile. “I feel like we really fought through it. It didn’t feel perfect, but we tried to keep the performance and the energy up.”

Finishing just behind the champions with the silver medals are Lauri Bonacorsi and Travis Mager, with a passionate program to Jose Norman’s Cuban Pete and Hersh’s This Business of Love.

“This is the most that we could do, and we gave it our all,” Bonacorsi admitted. “I think that the effort was definitely there, and everything was clean so we are pleased with our performance.”

Bonacorsi and Mager moved up from third place after the short program with a rousing performance that not only earned the team positive grades of execution on each of their elements, but also their highest score of the season. Their total score of 127.39 is also a new personal best.

“That’s our best score in the free dance by four points,” Mager revealed. “This was our best overall score by eight points and change, I think. I can be satisfied with what we did. ”

Winning the bronze medals are Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus, who recovered well after a scoring glitch in the short dance caused the duo some undue stress.

“When the scores first came up, we were trying to figure out what we had done to make our technical scores so low,” Cannuscio recalled. “We talked with our coach to see if we maybe had an illegal element, or if we had gotten no level on the (compulsory section) Viennese. When we saw the protocol, and saw that we weren’t scored for what we did, we knew there was an issue.”

McManus continued, “When we first saw the score, I thought ‘game over’. Our whole training this season has been to go to Junior Worlds, and when I saw (the technical score), I thought that it was all over. Everyone was really great, though. The Chief Referee stuck with us the whole time and kept us updated. And the Referee apologized for the error. It was a little extra layer of stress that we didn’t really need. But at that point, our nerves were shot, so it was easier for us to go out today and skate in some ways.”

Cannuscio and McManus performed to Carmen Fantasie and Cavatina with the appropriate amount of sass and passion. They received level four on each of their three lifts, as well as their spin.   Cannuscio and McManus earned a competition total of 122.86 points.

“It feels great to come away with a medal,” McManus said with relief in his voice. “We’ve worked so hard this season, and it’s great to have a National medal to show for it.”

Moving up from sixth place to win the pewter medal was Anastasia Olson and Jordan Cowan, who earned the highest technical scores of the day. Fifth at last year’s championships, the duo finished third in the free dance with their Zoot Suit Riot program.

Finishing in fifth place was Alexandra Aldridge and Daniel Eaton, last year’s novice champions. The leaders after the short program, Joylyn Yang and Jean Luc Baker made a major error on the twizzles and took themselves out of contention for the title immediately. With the error, Yang and Baker were relegated to sixth place overall.

“Honestly I can’t say that I know what happened,” Yang said of her fall on the element. “I went into it confident, and it just didn’t work out.”

Her partner was supportive of Yang after the skate. “It’s no big deal,” Baker said. “It’s Nationals. It’s not the end of the world, and we do this because it is fun, which is why we skate. Just being here is amazing, and so I’m proud of her either way.”

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