Thursday, January 24, 2008

U.S. Nationals Day 1

Well it just wouldn't be a vacation for me unless my Internet connection was tricky but it's up and working now and reports are on the way. I surprisingly had no trouble finding my way around St. Paul and it appears to be a charming city. Winter Carnival (I know! They embrace the cold here so much that they throw their big festival in the dead of winter!) is going on right now and the city is alive and vibrant.

First, can I tell you...IT'S COLD! - 13 when we left the arena last night...brrrrr.

The Compulsory Dance gave great insight to who would fill the vacuum left by Gregory and Petukhov. No surprise, Belbin and Agosto opened up a big lead after the Compulsory Dance. Davis and White were behind in second and the podium gap is currently being filled by Navarro and Bommentre! Samuelson and Bates are close on their heels and I think we are in for a big battle for the bronze. Remember, three spots open for the World Team in Ice Dance. It was certainly fun seeing all those teams slide around the ice to the Yankee Polka.

The Pairs also took to the ice for their short programs and it was a battle of points. The hardest program versus the fewest mistakes. McLaughlin and Brubaker continue their stellar season, the have a very slim lead. They completed a beautiful, huge triple twist, solid side-by-side triples, and only had a slight hand down on the throw triple loop. They skated with good speed and good unison. Right behind then in second are veterans Inoue and Baldwin who are making their competitive debut this season here. They had a flawless program but less difficulty. They completed side-by-side double axels, a double twist, and nice throw triple salchow. They seemed to drop off in speed near the end of the program and their unison looked a tad rusty. For a team that has been training all season for this event...I expected a bit more. Last years chapions Castile and Okolski are in third with a good showing, this is also their competiive debut this season. They may have been higher had they also not backed off the content. In fourth is Evora and Ladwig who pumped up the audience with their rock n' roll short (he's also the local favorite as he is the lone competitior in the pairs field from Minnesota). Dissapointing performance for Nari-Nam and Leftheris, they are in 8th. Things I'm looking for in the free: Can Nari-Nam and Leftheris bounce back, can Vise and Trent (currently 5th) land that throw quad salchow again and move up, who exactly will be on the podium?

I also had the chance to see the Junior Men's short program...too much fun! Adam Rippon and Curran Oi are fantastic. Our future is in great hands!

Full results here.

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