Novice, junior events kick off nationals

Marissa SecundyThe U.S. Championships in Cleveland kicked off with four novice and two junior events including the junior ladies short program, where 2008 U.S. Novice Ladies Champion Marissa Secundy sits ninth with 42.28 points.

DeeDee Leng won the short program with 53.57. Rounding out the top four heading into Wednesday’s free skate are Ellie Kawamura (51.82), Christina Gao (49.45) and Kristiene Gong (49.21).

Secundy started her performance with a single lutz that received a negative grade of execution. She recovered nicely with a solid triple loop-double loop combination and a double axel but she could not catch up to Leng, who landed a triple lutz, a triple Salchow-double toe and a double axel.

After the junior compulsory dance, Madison Chock and Greg Zuerlein (32.90) lead Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani (31.98). Piper Gilles and Zachary Donohue are third with 29.50 while Shannon Wingle and Timothy McKernan are fourth with 28.92.

Lauri Bonacorsi and Travis Mager took the lead by .96 points in the novice dance competition after winning the Blues and placing second in the Paso Doble. Anastasia Olson and Jordan Cowan sit second with 46.26, with a first place in the Paso and second in the Blues.

Gabrielle Friedenberg and Benjamin Nykiel are third place overall with 44.14.

After the novice pairs short program, Cassie Andrews and Nicholas Anderson have the lead with 39.53. Skating to to de Angelis’ “Jalouse Analouse,” the pair opening with a Level 3 double twist, a Group 5 Axel lasso lift and a throw double Lutz. They also landed side-by-side double lutz jumps.

Haven Denney and Daniel Raad (35.75) are second. Also in podium position are Olivia Gibbons and Tyler Harris (35.11), who are in third, and Ashley Cain and Sergey Sidorov (31.55), who are fourth.

Lauren Gifford and Carson Bodnarek are sixth with 30.17. They performed strong elements, including a double twist, a throw double flip and side-by-side double lutz jumps, but they received a one-point deduction for a fall.

After the novice ladies short program, Kiri Baga leads following a 43.16 performance. Mary Beth Marley is in second place with 42.04 while Nina Jiang is third with41.86. Yasmin Siraj is fourth with 38.70.

“I was nervous, but I had nothing to lose,” said Baga, who landed a triple toe and a triple Salchow-double toe. “I’m so excited to have skated well.”

A triple lutz-double toe and a double axel helped put 2008 U.S. Intermediate Men’s Champion Joshua Farris in command of the novice men’s short program. He received a score of 51.81, helped by two Level 4 spins, and has more than a seven point lead on Jason Brown (44.24).

Steven Evans (42.18) and Edward Tea (42.01) are third and fourth.

All novice events conclude Tuesday with the men’s free skate starting at 11:20 a.m. local time; novice ladies free skate at 1:30 p.m.; novice free dance at 3:30; and novice pairs free skate at 5:55. The junior original dance is at 8:15.


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