Thursday, February 17, 2011

U.S. Nationals: Men's Freeskate

Scott Dyer was the first up and did my state proud with a fairly solid freeskate (though like some of the other men in the early groups, he didn't attempt a triple axel.) He finished with a total of 177.15, pulling up to 13th overall.

Lloyd Ting landed most of his jumps, but most of the elements weren't done particularly well, which along with a lack of a triple axel, didn't hold him in good stead. 22nd, with 140.92 overall.

Sean Rabbitt skated much better than he did in the short program and had some energy in one of his footwork sequences, but his spins were poor in general and he had some jump problems. (Sidenote: If memory serves me correctly, he was one of the skaters struggling with the flu that week.) 155.71, 20th.

Parker Pennington struggled, two footing and underrotating jumps. He had some of the better spins at that point in the competition though. 164.68 total, 17th.

Andrew Gonzales, like Pennington, had some jump troubles, but his spins and footwork were pretty good. 162.52, 18th.

Wesley Campbell doubled his lutz and a loop and wasn't particularly artistic. He did have an cool variation on an upright spin though. 176.69, 14th.

Christopher Caluza dedicated his performance to a friend that had been killed. Unfortunately, he had a rough go of it, falling twice, and one of the times was on a spin. Something about his skating appeals to me. 157.72, 19th.

Alexander Johnson landed the first clean triple axel of the men's freeskate and then singled the intended double axel right after it. Sigh. He also did four jump combos, rendering the last one obsolete. To be fair though, he was competing with what he thought was a sprain, which really was a break, so it is likely pain, not combo counting, was at the forefront of his mind. 165.50, 16th.

Joshua Farris had a torn abductor muscle in his left hip, and then if that wasn't enough, he had a severe allergic reaction the day before the freeskate, leading to him being in the hospital til early the next morning. After that, he broke on an axel attempt in the freeskate. Needless to say, his performance overall was disastrous and while I admire his guts, I don't understand why his coach or parents let him compete with the problems that existed before the start of the freeskate. 151.73, 21st.

Jonathan Cassar had a good performance that was probably the most artistic at that point in the event. He landed 4 clean triples & two double axels, putting his hand down on a triple flip and turning out of a triple lutz-double toe. His spins were mostly good as well as his footwork. He was pretty enjoyable. 187.76, 11th.

* I didn't see Jason Wong, Grant Hochstein, or Jason Brown due to NBC broadcasting Jeremy and Ryan's short programs instead. They are on IceNetwork now, but to date, I still haven't seen them.

Adam Rippon: Stepout on the opening triple axel, then tacked a double toe onto it (unfortunately though, he wasn't credited for the toe and it became a +SEQ). After that was a double axel that seemed so easy that intially, in my nervous state, I thought that he'd singled it. Gorgeous Rippon triple lutz, followed by a pretty footwork sequence (though he'd do well to increase the level from a 2), and a nice death drop. After that was his second triple axel, which was pretty great and one of the better ones I've seen him do in competition. Triple flip-triple toe was great, followed by a tano triple lutz-tano double toe, an intended three jump combo which was cut short as Adam was getting too close to the wall. Beautiful triple loop, then the second footwork sequence, done nicely, as well as a nice triple salchow and alright combo spin. Good program, and he was absolutely thrilled. It's no secret that Adam is one of my favorite skaters, so I bummed after his dismal short, & pretty nervous for his freeskate, but he really did deliver a solid performance that both he and his fans can be proud of. 220.04, 5th.

Richard Dornbush: Opening triple flip was good, but almost too big. Triple axel-triple toe was really nice, followed by a triple lutz that looked like a possible flutz, but no edge call. Slow combo spin and some cute choreography after it, and then a lovely triple axel. Sit change sit was alright, followed by a nice triple salchow from a hydroblade transition. Triple flip-double toe-double loop, the latter with both arms over his head, then a double axel-double axel sequence, the latter of which was kinda meh. Triple loop was alright and his second footwork sequence was nice, and he ended with an alright combo spin. Richard did a really great job. I like this Sherlock Holmes program a good bit, and enjoyed Richard's skating more than I thought I would. Definitely a guy that could be a factor for years to come. 225.56, 2nd.

Armin Mahbanoozadeh: Walley into a nice triple lutz, followed by a great triple axel. After that a triple flip-triple toe that was pretty good, and the triple loop after was good as well. Nice circular footwork, though on the slow side, then a triple axel-double toe combo that was alright and a nice spin. Triple flip, maybe two footed, then a good combo spin, nice triple salchow and a double axel-double toe-double loop. He finished up with his second footwork sequence and a combo spin, both nicely done. A more subdued performance than at Skate America, but still a quite solid freeskate.Armin is another favorite of mine who I desperately hoped would make a comeback in the free and like Adam, he delivered. I love how he smiles during his programs; it's nice to see the skaters enjoying themselves. I do think he got shafted on PCS though; while I agree that his performance didn't have the excitement it did at Skate America, his components shouldn't be so close some of the skaters who placed lower than he did and really, at the very least his transitions should have been in the 7's. 215.05, 6th.

Keegan Messing: Managed the opening triple axel and put his hand down on his quad toe attempt, but it was credited as rotated. A spin was fine, and then he did a double axel from a near stand still. After that was a triple lutz-double toe that wasn't great, I thought the latter may have been underrotated, then a really nice stretched out camel variation and okay triple axel-double toe combo. First footwork sequence was just okay (& it was only a level 1) followed by a great combo spin. Second footwork sequence was alright, and the triple loop after that was okay too. Edge call on his triple flip-double toe-double loop and the flip looked like it may have been two footed as well. Last element of the program, a triple lutz, also looked possibly two footed, but it received positive GOE, so I might be mistaken. Keegan did a pretty good job; he's not as sophisticated as the prior three men, but there's potential there. I think putting him on the Junior World team was a great decision and think it'll be interesting to see how he fares there. 213.29, 8th.

Douglas Razzano: First all all - nice costume! He opened with a very nice triple axel, followed by a stepout on a quad toe and stumbled and fell on his second triple axel (SEQing it.). Triple lutz after that was nice, and the following two spins were alright. First footwork sequence was boring, followed by a nice triple toe-triple toe combo. Okay triple salchow and a good triple loop, then another dull footwork sequence. Douglas finished up with an okay double axel-double toe-double loop combo and an alright combo spin. Only one triple lutz and no triple flips (left out to avoid wrong edge deductions possibly?) , which I guess is the reason for the triple toe-triple toe (though I still find it incongruous). He skates like many of the Russian men - jumps are pretty good, but not very exciting to watch. 206.76, 10th. 

Ross Miner: Pretty footwork to start, followed by a triple axel-double toe - the axel was huge! Triple lutz-triple toe, the former looked possibly two footed but again,  maybe a bad angle of the landing. Triple axel alright, as well as a spin. Haha, cute wink the choreography, then a triple loop that was fine and an alright triple lutz. Triple salchow-double toe-double toe was nice, then another footwork sequence which was alright, and a big triple flip. Pretty good death drop after that, as well as a double axel, with finishing with a spin that was just fine. Really good technically and not bad artistically; just not as developed as a few of the others. 224.35, 3rd.

Jeremy Abbott: Started off well with a nice triple lutz and triple flip. He landed a bit forward on the front half of his triple axel-double toe, but it was alright overall. Flying upright spin was okay, and his first footwork sequence was nice and musical. Handdown on his second triple axel, and then a fall on what amounted to a two and 1/2 lutz - the severe underrotation was clearly visible without replay - which also became a +SEQ, lowering the base value and costing him a combo. The following triple loop-double toe-double loop was shaky and he stumbled out of it (the double loop was deemed underrotated). Jeremy got to get it back together with an alright triple salchow, and a nice footwork sequence and double axel. I really love that spiral and knee slide move; the choreography in the program is really nice. He finished with a nice spin, but the damage was done. I love Jeremy, but facts are facts and sadly, Jeremy simply choked. There was a fluff piece talking about how he doesn't want to be the "forgotten" American men's skater anymore and that he is glad to be out of Evan and Johnny's shadows, but when the spotlight was on him, he didn't deliver. I believe that when he is on, his skating speaks for itself and he certainly has had memorable performances. Unfortunately this time, he gave it away.  224.16, 4th.

Brandon Mroz: Fallout on an underrotated quad toe to start, followed by okay footwork. Triple axel-double toe was alright, as well as a triple lutz . Good triple loop, followed by a death drop that was fine, and then a nice triple axel. Triple lutz-triple toe, second foot was put down on the landing of the toe loop. Triple salchow was fine, and same for the triple flip-double toe-double loop. The spin after that was rather poor, but the following footwork sequence was okay, and the final spin was better. The underrotation and subsequent fallout on the quad toe really hurt him along with spins that garnered no positive grades of execution and two of which were only level 1. 213.49, 7th.

Ryan Bradley: Stepped out of both of his quad toes at the start, +SEQing the second, despite his attempt to combo it by tacking on a double toe after the stepout. First footwork sequence was okay, followed by a big triple axel that he held onto, and a good triple lutz. Alrightish spin and a cute second footwork sequence, but it was really simple. Miraculously pulled a triple axel-triple toe out of nowhere, and held onto a triple loop after that. Triple salchow-double toe-double toe was slow, but okay, and then an alright triple flip. A couple of slow spins and he was finished his program. He lost speed after the first few jumps, and not a whole lot was pretty, but Ryan fought and did enough to hold on to the lead to win his first National title. 231.90, 1st.

It could be argued that one of Ryan's quads shouldn't have been credited as fully rotated, but still, I can't bring myself to be angry that he won. And while Richard and Ross certainly did skate incredibly well, I still don't have as much confidence in this World team as I would like to. I do think it would have been reasonable to send Jeremy to Worlds in Ross's place, especially since he missed third by such a small margin. Obviously, Jeremy combusted at Nationals, but he skated even near clean at Worlds, he'd most likely have a better chance at challenging for a medal or even the top 6.

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