Saturday, February 5, 2011

U.S. Nationals: Ladies Freeskate

Unfortunately, this year's ladies event was basically what I'd expected - a messy event full of splats and pops, and had little in the way of inspiration. There were some shining moments where lesser known skaters delivered, and I'm glad to see that the champion skated a good program, but I am really hoping that in the near future the ladies will step up and give us an all around more enjoyable ladies championship.

That said, let's get started.

The first couple of groups opened up the competition with few successful triple attempts until Kristiene Gong landed five in her routine,(albeit, a couple received a slight negative GOE) and was easily the best so far, pulling up from 17th to 9th overall with a total of 143.30.

After Kristiene, Ellie Kawamura struggled, landing just one triple. Kelsey Traunero was somewhat more successful, landing two triple flips (one in combination with a double toe) and a pair of triple salchows. Unfortunately, her triple toe attempt was downgraded, as was the latter half of her double axel-double toe. Like many of the girls, her spins, footwork, and spiral were passable, but for the most part not particularly noteworthy.

Melissa Bulanhagui appeared to two foot her opening triple salchow, but proceeded to land a nice triple lutz, triple flip, an okay triple lutz-double toe-double loop (the latter deemed underrotated), and landed the following triple toe, triple salchow-double toe, and a big double axel pretty well. Spins weren't amazing, but still, a pretty impressive display. My only slight disappointment was that she didn't go for her triple axel. Total 144.53 (10th)

Danielle Kahle and Kristine Musademba both struggled with their jumps, but the latter had some nice spins. They finished 18th and 15th, respectively.

Alexe Gilles opened the second to last group, marking the beginning of the ladies freeskate coverage on NBC. Unfortunately, she only landed one clean triple (a lutz) and proceeded to pop or two foot everything else.

Caroline Zhang appeared to be in better shape than she was during the Grand Prix season. She landed a triple flip-double toe that was actually kind of nice, before she went for a high kick triple lutz and crashed. I wonder if it wouldn't be better for her to just leave that jump out of her programs until her coaches can the kick under control. After that was a triple salchow, which was downgraded and fallen on. Her triple loop-double axel sequence was fine, and then she popped her second flip attempt into a single. She finished her jumping passes with a triple loop-double loop- double loop with a tano variation on the end and a double axel that was just okay. She had some nice spin positions, especially on the layback, and her spiral sequence was nice. She skated a bit better than I had expected overall. 140.95 total, 12th overall.

Joelle Forte skated better than many of the top ladies, which was pretty surprising to me since I don't believe I've ever heard of her before this event. She landed a triple flip, triple lutz-double toe-double loop (slight negative GOE), triple salchow, double axel, triple lutz, triple toe-triple toe sequence, and a triple salchow double toe, and for the most part, they were actually pretty well done. She had poor spins, but the jumps were there, which was pretty unusual that night. 149.28 total, good enough for 9th place.

Yasmin Siraj had trouble on her early jumping passes,  singling her triple flip, having to eek out the latter half of her triple lutz-double toe, and falling on her double axel-triple toe (she was forward on the landing of the axel, but went for the triple toe anyway - she is definitely gutsy). Yasmin did pull it together for her jumping passes after that though, landing a triple salchow, triple lutz, triple toe, and double axel-double toe-double loop pretty well. Her spins were okay, but she had a nice spiral (though I wish she'd not have to hold it) and a footwork sequence that had some interest to it. There's a nice quality to her skating that makes you want to watch her; I'm looking forward to seeing how well she develops. 152.47 overall, 8th place.

Morgan Bell had a rough go of it, only having one entirely succesful jump, a double axel. While her second triple toe was alright, neither it nor the prior attempt were in combination, so it was marked triple toe+SEQ, lowering the base value of the jump. The other jumps were all either popped, fallen on, or marked as underrotated or downgraded. She finished in 17th place.

Ashley Wagner started off well with a triple flip-double toe, which was fine, followed by a double axel-triple toe, the latter of which was two footed and underrotated. After that was a triple flutz (which was nice other than the edge :-/),  triple loop-double toe-double toe that was alright, a triple salchow that was good, and then another two foot, this time on a triple loop and she singled her second flip. Her spins and spiral sequence were all good and she's fairly interesting to watch. There were a lot of nice things in that program; it's a shame that she had so many little errors, they really add up. 165.36 total, 6th place.

Vanessa Lam started her program with a triple lutz-double toe-double loop combo that was alright, as well as a triple flip-double toe. Her jumps don't get much height, but she rotates them quickly. Layback spin was nice, but she turned out and possibly two footed a triple toe. She may have two footed the triple loop after that too, it looked a little rough. Her spiral sequence was nice, as well as the spin after that. Double axel-double axel sequence with no speed going into it, followed by a two footed triple lutz. The footwork had no energy or life at all to it, and then she fell on a downgraded triple flip, finishing with a slow spin. Vanessa didn't really perform; seemed to be all about the elements for her. 162.91, 7th.

Agnes Zawadzki opened with a double axel-triple toe that seemed a little tough on the latter half to me, followed by a good triple flip. Combo spin was okay,  then a triple lutz attempt that was doubled - it looked like she slipped on the entry. Layback position could be more more impressive. Triple lutz-double toe was nice, followed by a biellmann spiral sequence that wobbled a bit. Fall on an underrotated triple loop, but good comeback with a nice triple salchow. She fell out of a triple toe, but tacked on a double toe and double loop. Footwork was okay, and she ended with an alright combo spin. Agnes could use more refinement in her skating, but when she hits them, her jumps are HUGE! 173.84, 4th.

Christina Gao started off with a nice triple flip-triple toe and triple salchow. Lots of speed going into the jumps too. Ran out of room at the end of her triple lutz-double toe-double loop and had to stepout. She did a nice spin and then a decent biellmann spiral, followed by an okay triple loop and double axel. Fall on the second triple flip, which was downgraded. Combo spin was alright, and she had a little slip in the footwork but it was okay other than that. Triple toe was a little tough, maybe two footed? Her final spin was nice, until the bit of traveling at the end of it. I like her a good bit; she surprised last year at Nationals, so I'm glad to see her skate decently here. Definitely hoping she places well at Junior Worlds. 167.20 total, 5th.

Alissa Czisny: Triple lutz-double toe was nice, followed by a good triple flip and triple toe-double toe-double loop. Spin was nice, but she had to fight for the underrotated triple loop. Spiral sequence was good, and her triple lutz-double toe, double axel, and triple toe were all okay. She finished with two really nice spins and an alright footwork sequence. As I've noted in prior posts, I don't really care for Alissa's skating much, but kudos to her on skating a nearly clean freeskate and not giving up on that loop. I wasn't sure what to expect from her, but she did hold it together. 191.24, 1st place.

Mirai Nagasu: Love her dress. Triple lutz-double toe just okay, she had to work for it. Double axel-double toe, okay. Edge deduction on the triple flip, alright otherwise. Lovely layback and biellmann positions. Triple lutz, underrotated. Triple toe-double toe-double loop,  okay. Great spiral sequence, followed by another just okay jump, a triple loop. Ina bauer to a double axel, which she fell out off and then she screwed up a flying sit spin, receiving no credit for it. Last spin was fine, but the damage was done. She looked nervous before she even started the program and then was tentative throughout. It's a shame, she's my favorite of all of these girls. 177.36, 3rd place.

Rachael Flatt: Double axel-triple toe, wobbly and the latter was underrotated. Doubled the intended triple lutz after that, followed by a camel spin with a variation I can't stand.  Not really a fan of the choreography either. Triple flip was alright, as well as a combo spin. Spiral sequence, meh. Triple lutz-double toe okay, triple flip-double toe-double loop with a bit of a high kick on the flip. Triple loop was okay, as well as the footwork. Fallout on the triple salchow. Ending combo spin was okay. 183.38, 2nd. I'd probably have sent Mirai to Worlds, but c'est la vie.

Full Results

Check back  for the men's freeskate post sometime today or tomorrow. 

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