Earlier in the day in the junior pairs short program, the top four teams were separated by less than two points, making it a dogfight for the podium on Friday. Leading the charge are the leaders and last year’s novice champions Brynn Carmen (Broadmoor SC) and Chris Knierim (Broadmoor SC) with 48. 31 points.
Carmen (14) and Knierim (21) used high levels and clean elements to slip past the rest of the field, but both skaters fell on the side-by-side double Lutzes in the program.
“Honestly, I am surprised to be leading at this point,” Knierim admitted sheepishly. “We have had a good season so far, and we want to do better in the freeskate in order to keep that momentum.”
The leaders earned level fours on four individual elements, and also enjoyed the highest program component scores of the competition. They lead Marissa Castelli (SC of Boston) and Simon Shnapir (Colonial FSC) by less than a point.
Castelli (18) and Shnapir (21), the only American team to qualify for this season’s Junior Grand Prix Final, executed all of their elements, but struggled to do them with the finesse of the leaders.
“We had a few stumbles here and there,” explained Castelli. “I’m looking forward to the free program. I enjoyed the short, but I look forward to having the opportunity to skate again and show that we can do better.”
Though Castelli and Shnapir earned level fours on three different elements, they only earned a level one on both their spiral sequence and death spiral, keeping them behind the leaders with 47.57 points.
In third place are the reigning silver medalists, Tracy Tanovich (Southwest Florida FSC) and Michael Chau (Southwest Florida FSC) with 46.84 points. The young team started their program well, nailing each of their elements with ease, but fell on the entrance to their death spiral at the end of the program.
“We have to focus on doing one element at a time,” acknowledged Chau. “In the future, we will just try not to get so comfortable in the end of our program.”
Tanovich (12) and Chau (18) squeaked past Britney Simpson (Broadmoor SC) and Nathan Miller (Broadmoor SC) who are in fourth place with 46.39 points. Rounding out the top six are Lauren Farr (Sun Valley FSC) and Mac Kern (SC of Wilmington) in fifth (43.31), and Kloe Bautista (All Year FSC) and Galvani Hopson (Los Angeles FSC) in sixth (42.810).