GREENSBORO, N.C. — Ashley Cain and Joshua Reagan claimed the junior pairs title Friday at the 2011 U.S. Championships in Greensboro, N.C. It is the second national championship for Cain and Reagan, who won the novice crown at last year’s competition.
Behind a lyrical performance to Tchaikovsky’s “Romeo and Juliet” that featured a solid throw triple flip and throw triple Salchow, Cain and Reagan (142.28) topped silver medalists Andrea Poapst and Christopher Knierim (136.46) by 5.82 points. Cassie Andrews and Timothy LeDuc won the bronze medal with 129.84 and Brynn Carman and AJ Reiss (129.02) were fourth.
For the silver and bronze medalists, Greensboro marked their first nationals as a team. But Carman and Reiss finished last year. In 2009, Carman and Knierim were the 2008 U.S. Champions in novice pairs and the junior silver medalists in 2009.
Cain and Reagan’s performance received a standing ovation. The program opened with an elegant Group 3 Lift, graded at a Level 4, and then the team landed side by side triple Salchows. They also performed a double twist and a double Axel-double Axel sequence. Both their side by side combination spins and their pair combination were Level 4.
“It was a great skate,” he said. “I was so happy after so many different points. In the ending spin she said, ‘we did it’ and we were both just so happy.”
Cain also finished sixth in the junior ladies competition.
Poapst and Knierim’s free skate to excerpts from Amelie moved them from sixth place after the short program to the runners-up spot. She had a fluke fall on some choreography but the team was otherwise impressive, starting with their sky high triple twist, which gave them a 1.50 grade of execution. They also received high marks on their throw triple Salchow and Group 5 Toe Lasso Lift.
“The biggest thing we’ve been working on was getting our component score,” Knierm said.
In program components, Poapst and Knierim edged out the champions 45.82 to 44.87.
“We’ve also been working on looking like a senior team, or a team that’s ready for senior,” Poapst said.
Andrews and LeDuc had sloppy moments in their fifth place program, as evidenced by the six elements receving a negative grade of execution. Their double flip-double toe-double loop combination was solid as was their Level 4 Group 5 Toe Lasso Lift.
“We definitely left a lot of points on the table, but it’s definitely a step forward for us. We are still very pleased with our effort today,” LeDuc said. “To be out there a nationals with this kind of pressure, being second after the short, we’re please and we definitely know we still have a lot of room to improve in the future.”
The second jump in Carman and Reiss’ double flip-double toe combination was downgraded for under rotation but they still placed third in the free.
“Competing at U.S. Championships is such a great experience,” Carman said. “We were very happy to just go out there and do the best we could, very happy with our performance. We have great coaches who train us very hard all year round.”
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