A precocious fourteen year-old with roots in the skating rink moved up from third after the short program to capture the novice ladies title today in Greensboro, N.C.
Hannah Miller, representing the Lansing Skating Club, won the title with three clean triple jumps and a ton of energy that would leave most gasping for breath.
“I definitely train a lot, and I think of the rewards that I can earn if I do well,” Miller said of her commitment to the program. “I stayed relaxed and did what I knew that I needed to do.”
Miller’s father, Kevin, was a member of the 1988 US Olympic hockey team, and had some great advice for his daughter on the biggest day of her athletic career.
“He reminded me to just stay in the moment, and take one thing at a time,” said the champion. “He gives me a lot of advice.”
Skating to William Joseph’s Piano Fantasy, Miller attacked her choreography with as much verve as her jumping passes. Her only mistake was a step out on a triple Salchow near the end of her program.
“I was happy with (the performance),” Miller admitted after her skate. “I did most of the jumps, and the spins went well. I checked out of that second triple sal, but I stayed with it and finished well.”
Miller’s total of 122.30 points narrowly edged out Barbie Long, the silver medalist, who earned a competition total of 121.85 points.
Long, also fourteen, skated the most technically ambitious program of the day, attempting six triple jumps, including two triple Lutzes.
“I was happy that even after I made a mistake on the first Lutz, that I was able to add a combination on to the second triple Lutz,” Bell said proudly after her program.
In second place heading into the freeskate, Long was credited with four clean triple jumps, including a double Axel-triple toe loop combination that opened her Schindler’s List freeskate.
“It feels good,” Long said of winning the silver medal. “I wasn’t too nervous, and I thought that it was really fun.”
After finishing in first place in the short program, Mariah Bell slipped to third place overall with an unsteady performance in her Cats program. The bronze medal is her first on the national level.
“I thought it was good today,” Bell said of her performance. “I think I got excited and didn’t stay focused on the triple toe, but I think I did well. The program is hard because it is all upbeat, so you have to have a lot of endurance which is good for a long program.”
The fourteen-year-old managed to land two clean triple jumps but popped a planned triple toe loop into a single at the end of her program. Still, her score of 115.33 points was more than enough to keep her on the podium.
Finishing in the pewter medal position was fifteen-year-old Amanda Hofmann who moved up from ninth place after the short program with a strong performance of her Saint-Saens program. Hofmann’s total score was 100.16 points.