Carman, Knierim place first in junior pairs short

Marissa Castelli and Simon ShnapirReigning U.S. Novice Pairs Champions Brynn Carman and Chris Knierim (48.31) took command of the junior pairs competition Wednesday at the U.S. Championships in Cleveland, despite two major errors in their performance.

Both fell on the side-by-side double lutzes, for a mandatory two-point deduction, but they did perform a clean double twist and a throw double loop. “The rest of the program was really strong, and that’s all you can ask for,” Carman said.

Junior Grand Prix Final competitors Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir are second at nationals with a score of 47.57. In their performance, they coupled intricate choreography with strong technical skills including a double twist, side-by-side double lutzes and a throw double loop, all performed with positive grades of execution.

Castelli and Shnapir were the only American pair to make it to the Junior Grand Prix Final.

Tracy Tanovich and Michael Chau (46.84), who were second last year in junior pairs, looked to have the lead until his foot slipped out from under him as they were entering their forward-inside death spiral, sending both down on the ice. The fall, which lost them two-points, put them in third place.

Britney Simpson and Nathan Miller secured a fourth place standing with 46.39 points.

Reigning novice silver medalists Brittany Chase and Andrew Speroff (41.86) are eighth.

DeeDee Leng has plenty to celebrate after winning the junior ladies competition. She will be joined by silver and bronze medalists Ellie Kawamura and Christina Gao, who all giggled and answered in unison “Party!” when asked what comes next for them.

“Our goal tonight is to pull an all-nighter,” said Leng, who finished with 132.49 to Kawamura’s 131.25.

“Not my best tonight, but I had a great time,” said Leng, who won the short program but only managed a third place showing in the free skate, with two falls. “It’s fun competing against these great skaters.”

Pewter medalist Kristiene Gong was the only medalist not to fall in her free. Both Leng and Kawamura fell on the triple lutz and the triple Salchow while Gao fell three times.


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