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Thread: Question about Junior & Novice levels

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    Question about Junior & Novice levels

    Starting a new thread with this question that was posted in the Junior Worlds subforum:
    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz View Post
    My question would be what is the Junior Level and why does it get more hype than the Novice Level? I believe it is just about age and not about proficiency. Can a 10 year old enter the Junior Level and skip Novice?
    In the USFS system, there are no minimum or maximum age restrictions to compete at the Novice/Junior/Senior levels in US National qualifying competition (Regionals/Sectionals) as long as the requisite USFS skill/proficiency tests are passed. So yes, a 10 year old Intermediate skater can skip the Novice level and compete at the Junior level at Regionals as long as they pass the Novice AND Junior Moves in the Field and Freestyle tests by the Regional qualifying application deadline. Whether or not he/she would be competitive is another matter, however.

    There ARE minimum and maximum age restrictions for ISU Novice and Junior competitions.
    Last edited by Sylvia; 02-10-2011 at 07:21 PM.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Are there ISU international novice events?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    Are there ISU international novice events?
    I believe Coup de Nice holds a novice competition, and there are others in Europe. Nina Jiang won one - the Gardena Spring Trophy, and I think the Triglav Trophy has Novice too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    Are there ISU international novice events?
    Yes. USFS has sent a number of young skaters after Nationals to compete internationally at the Novice level (if they were too young for ISU junior) over the years -- at Triglav Trophy (Slovenia), Gardena Spring Trophy (Italy), Challenge Cup (The Hague, Netherlands).

    ETA: Both Yasmin Siraj and Nina Jiang were sent to Gardena in April 2010 after 2010 Nationals to gain international experience prior to making their JGP debut -- they had competed Junior at Nationals (Siraj 2nd, Jiang 5th) but were still too young to compete as juniors internationally and so were entered in the Novice Ladies event at Gardena (Jiang won, Siraj was 2nd).

    ISU Communication No. 1649: SINGLE & PAIR SKATING, ICE DANCE and SYNCHRONIZED SKATING GUIDELINES FOR INTERNATIONAL NOVICE COMPETITIONS
    1. Entries
    Entries to the competitions are made by the Members (for International Competitions) or Sections/Clubs (for Interclub Competitions), which must be a member of the Member, based on the age and the level of the skaters.

    2. Age requirements (Rule 108, paragraph 2. new d) and paragraph 3. new c) ): in International Competitions, a Novice is a Skater who has met the following requirements before July 1st preceding the event (the specific date: before July 1st, applies to all indicated dates):
    - has reached at least the age of ten (10) - has not reached the age of fifteen (15)
    Last edited by Sylvia; 02-10-2011 at 08:14 PM.

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sylvia View Post
    Starting a new thread with this question that was posted in the Junior Worlds subforum:

    In the USFS system, there are no minimum or maximum age restrictions to compete at the Novice/Junior/Senior levels in US National qualifying competition (Regionals/Sectionals) as long as the requisite USFS skill/proficiency tests are passed. So yes, a 10 year old Intermediate skater can skip the Novice level and compete at the Junior level at Regionals as long as they pass the Novice AND Junior Moves in the Field and Freestyle tests by the Regional qualifying application deadline. Whether or not he/she would be competitive is another matter, however.

    There ARE minimum and maximum age restrictions for ISU Novice and Junior competitions.
    Thank you Sylvia. It's so difficult to find the various Levels on the USFS page. Sorry, I put you through all this work.

    Now, what is the Intermediate Level? and how does it apply to a first time competition skater?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz View Post
    Now, what is the Intermediate Level? and how does it apply to a first time competition skater?
    Intermediate is a US test/competition level; other countries use different words to define the levels below novice. E.g., Canada calls the equivalent level "prenovice."

    In the US, the test levels are (from top to bottom):
    senior
    junior
    novice
    intermediate
    juvenile
    prejuvenile
    preliminary
    prepreliminary
    (no-test)

    The skater needs to start at the bottom and work their way up through the tests. They can compete at any level along the way for as long as they like until they pass more tests, or they can just keep passing tests until they reach the level they want to compete at.

    Prejuvenile and below are considered "nonqualifying" levels. The competitions don't count for anything except themselves. They're a good way to gain experience on the way up, or just for skaters to enjoy competing.

    All the levels starting with juvenile are "qualifying levels." There are age limits for juvenile (under 13) and intermediate (under 18). (The juvenile limits are higher for pairs and dance at these levels.) Skaters at these levels can enter a regional competition, and the top skaters in each region go on to a national championship. The original name of this championship, which started in 1991, was "Juvenile/Intermediate Nationals." That's really the most descriptive name for what it is. It's currently called "U.S. Junior Figure Skating Championships" (or "Junior Nationals" for short), but that's confusing because "Junior" in this use doesn't refer to the junior test/competition level.

    As you know, novice through senior skaters enter regionals, where the top four qualify to move on to sectionals. Then the top four from each of the three sections qualify to move on to Nationals (the U.S. Figure Skating Championships). Skaters can also get to Nationals through byes.

    By the time a skater reaches intermediate level, s/he has probably competed in dozens of club competitions at intermediate level and lower levels over the past several years. How long it takes a skater to reach intermediate level after they start skating will depend on a lot of factors, but 5 years is probably about average. How often they compete before they enter regionals and how long they stay at juvenile or intermediate level once they get there will also vary.

    So some intermediates are very experienced competitors and even experienced at national-level competition if they qualified for the national event at juvenile level.

    Other skaters who start late and have enough talent to move up quickly might make their competition debut at intermediate level as teenagers, but that's less common. They'd probably get at least some experience at nonqualifying levels.

    Getting to the national event (whether "Nationals" or "Junior Nationals") for the first time is a big deal, at whichever level it first happens for a skater.
    Last edited by gkelly; 02-11-2011 at 01:09 PM.

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    Some links that may be useful:

    age and test requirements

    See the lists of short and long program requirements for different levels at several links here:
    http://www.usfigureskating.org/New_Judging.asp?id=355

    Comparable ice dance documents (including the age and test requirements) are linked here:
    http://www.usfigureskating.org/New_Judging.asp?id=356

    Note that senior and junior requirements follow the ISU rules for program content, but not for age.

    The ISU does have novice rules/guidelines, but the US doesn't follow them exactly, and other countries also have differences.

    Requirements for lower levels (including the names of the levels) are up to the individual federations.

    Tests rulebook

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    ^^^^
    Thank you so much for this information. I hope other posters take note of it.

    It seems that starting at juveniles and up with their respecive tests leads one to Seniors. Did Johnny Weir have to start at juveniles?

    Juniors are a viable Competition Level, because of the ISU, and also the Test requirement because of the USFS, to permit age eligible skater to skate in seniors.

    Are there restrictions on When one may take a Test for another Level? Can a Novice Skater skip Juniors and go right into Seniors if he/she passed the Senior Test?

    I presume if a Novice Skater podium places, he has the option to stay Novice and not be forced to skate at a higher level if no higher Tests were taken.

    Selection of Sectionals are based on the results of Regionals. Is there a requirement to enter into Regionals?

    I shall flag your posts for future reference when needed. Thank you again.
    Last edited by Joesitz; 02-11-2011 at 12:33 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz View Post
    It seems that starting at juveniles and up with their respecive tests leads one to Seniors. Did Johnny Weir have to start at juveniles?
    He had to pass all the tests. Anyone who starts out in the US system needs to start with the prepreliminary moves in the field test and work their way up from there.

    I think he was already 12 when he started testing and he did get past the juvenile test and enter some juvenile competitions while he was still under the age limit.

    He tested straight up to novice to compete at that level the year he was 13.

    That's very unusual (going from no test to novice in less than 2 years).

    Are there restrictions on When one may take a Test for another Level?
    As long as you have passed all the prerequisite tests, you can take the next test whenever you can find a test session to offer it. You can take several tests on the same day at the same test session, but you have to pass the prerequisite tests before you can pass the ones they're prerequisites for.

    I.e., if you want to test intermediate freestyle, you have to have already passed intermediate moves in the field and juvenile freestyle.

    You could test all three on the same day (if you'd already passed juvenile MITF and prejuvenile FS), but the intermediate FS would have to be the last one scheduled that day. If you didn't pass one of the earlier tests, then the last test would be postponed until another day after you passed the prerequisite.

    If you want to compete at regionals in October, you need to have passed the necessary tests by September 1 of that year. And you must not pass any higher freestyle tests until after you're done competing at that level for that season.

    Can a Novice Skater skip Juniors and go right into Seniors if he/she passed the Senior Test?
    Yes. They would need to pass the necessary junior and senior tests. But there's no need for them ever to enter any junior-level competition.

    I presume if a Novice Skater podium places, he has the option to stay Novice and not be forced to skate at a higher level if no higher Tests were taken.
    That's right. See Nathan Chen, who won the U.S. novice title last year and decided not to move up

    Selection of Sectionals are based on the results of Regionals. Is there a requirement to enter into Regionals?
    I'm not sure what you're asking.

    What are the requirements to enter regionals?
    You have to have passed the freestyle test for the level you're competing at, and no higher. And be a current member of US Figure Skating, be an "eligible" person, etc.

    Is it necessary to enter regionals in order to compete at sectionals?
    Yes, you enter the qualifying season, which starts with regionals for singles skaters. Pairs and dancers now start at sectionals.
    But you can end up not actually competing at regionals and starting with sectionals if you have a bye -- based on either last year's results (senior level only: last year's sectional winners can skip regionals and go straight back to sectionals; last year's top five at Nationals can skip regionals and sectionals and go straight to Nationals), international competition conflict, or not enough competitors entered in your regional event to hold the competition.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz View Post
    It seems that starting at juveniles and up with their respecive tests leads one to Seniors. Did Johnny Weir have to start at juveniles?
    Yes, he wrote about his trip to Nationals (called "Junior Olympics" back then) as a Juvenile in his book. In fact, Weir skipped the Intermediate level and competed Novice the following year -- here's Weir's earliest U.S. qualifying competition history:
    1998 - State Farm U.S. Championships, Novice - 3rd
    1998 - Eastern Sectional, Novice - 1st
    1998 - South Atlantic Regional, Novice - 1st
    1997 - Junior Olympics, Juvenile - 4th
    1997 - South Atlantic Regional, Juvenile - 1st

    Are there restrictions on When one may take a Test for another Level?
    The USFS Moves in the Field test has to been passed before the Freestyle singles test at that level is taken. The Juvenile and Intermediate levels have maximum age restrictions for qualifying competition; Novice, Junior and Senior do not.

    Can a Novice Skater skip Juniors and go right into Seniors if he/she passed the Senior Test?
    Yes. That's what Deanna Stellato did after she won the U.S. Novice title in 1999 -- she competed at Senior Nationals in 2000 and placed 9th (and then won the silver medal at 2000 Junior Worlds behind Jennifer Kirk).

    I presume if a Novice Skater podium places, he has the option to stay Novice and not be forced to skate at a higher level if no higher Tests were taken.
    Yes, that's what 10-year-old Nathan Chen opted to do after he won the Novice title in 2010. He was allowed to stay Novice and win the title again this season. He will turn 12 in May and reportedly will move up to Junior in the US next season.

    Selection of Sectionals are based on the results of Regionals. Is there a requirement to enter into Regionals?
    The skater just has to have passed the required Moves in the Field & Free style tests at the level in which they wish to compete at Regionals.

    Juvenile and Intermediate singles skaters qualify for Juv./Int. Nationals via Regionals. Novice, Junior and Senior singles skaters qualify for Sectionals via Regionals.

    ETA: gkelly was faster!

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    As long as you have passed all the prerequisite tests, you can take the next test whenever you can find a test session to offer it. You can take several tests on the same day at the same test session, but you have to pass the prerequisite tests before you can pass the ones they're prerequisites for.
    This is called "contingency testing" and can be quite stressful on the skater. At some clubs, the club keeps any test fee for tests that would be tested on contingency that the skater can't take due to not passing the pre-reqs. Typically, unless the pre requisite test is a slam dunk for the skater, coaches do not have their skaters test contingency unless there's a struggle to meet a deadline for Regionals because when parents waste money (or perceive they are wasting money), it can get kinda ugly.


    There was a person who dropped in on the skater area of this board last year or so who talked about the unfairness of having to start at the pre-pre test instead of taking whatever test you want and starting at that level and the unfairness of having to test at all, oh yeah, and the unfairness of requiring moves in the field tests in advance of whichever test the skater was taking. Basically she was given a similar type of polite response as you see here about the test structures.

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