Golden Skate

Kayne and O’Shea in front at U.S. Nationals

Tarah Kayne and Daniel O'Shea

Tarah Kayne and Daniel O’Shea perform their Short program at the 2016 U.S. Figure Skating Championships

Tarah Kayne and Daniel O’Shea are the current leaders after the Pairs short program at the 2016 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, which is taking place in Saint Paul, Minn. Alexa Scimeca and Christopher Knierim are second, followed by Marissa Castelli and Mervin Tran.

Kayne, 22, and Daniel O’Shea, 24, were the cleanest pair on Thursday, earning positive grades of execution (GOE) in all of their solid elements. They produced a triple twist, side by side triple Salchows and a throw triple Lutz, as well as a level four lift and pair combination spin. They earned 69.61 points.

Their routine to “España cañí” by Pascual Marquina Narro is new and both skaters admit that they had been pondering using this music for a long time.

“The music is something we talked about using maybe next season,” said O’Shea. “The shorts weren’t going that well for us this season. We knew after Cup of Russia that we were going to do it, but there were like three days between Russia and Zagreb (Golden Skate). We started it as soon as we could and are happy we did.”

Scimeca, 24, and Knierim, 28, looked solid at the beginning of their routine to Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters,” began with a level four back-outside death spiral, however, they had a fall on the side-by-side triple Salchows. Neverthless, they produced a good throw triple Lutz, along with a level four lift, footwork, and pairs spin to score 67.35 points.

“It’s disappointing, because we haven’t been skating like that,” said Knierim. “Especially that triple twist (level 2). We don’t mess up. The jump is the one I fell on all week.”

“It’s a bit of a bummer,” Scimeca agreed. “We felt really prepared. We actually felt really good out there. We just got off the ice and really wanted to get back out there and do it the way we can. We’re accepting of it, because we want to do it lights out at the World Championships.”

Castelli and Tran, both 25, finished in third with 64.12 points. Their routine to “Summertime” featured a triple twist, throw triple Salchow, and two level four spins and footwork, however, they struggled on the side by side Salchows.

“I just second guessed myself going in and lost my energy right in the moment,” said Castelli of the Salchow. “It was a big mistake for me and I know that I won’t do it again. I know I can do that jump, it was just a fluke.”

Overall, they felt they did a good job on selling the program.

“We’ve worked really hard on trying to smooth it out more,” Castelli said. “We’ve put in a lot of work on elements and our confidence.”

Madeline Aaron and Max Settlage are currently in fourth (57.47), followed by Jessica Pfund and Joshua Santillan (54.20).