Saturday, June 13, 2009

Who's Who Among U.S. Pairs/Dance Teams in the GP

With two TBA slots still remaining for US pairs in the upcoming Grand Prix season (both slots being for Skate America), and only eight other slots for US pairs overall, there aren’t nearly as many teams to mull over. Meanwhile, the dance discipline has 13 US entries to crow about. Let’s see who made the cut outside of those that were on the podium:

--Marissa Castelli/Simon Shnapir (3rd, Junior Pairs)—while a bronze at Junior Nationals may not seem worthy of a bid in the Senior GP, a bronze at Junior Worlds (the highest placing this year by a US pair) is another story… and that is the most recent history of Castelli/Shnapir, who have been competing at the national level since 2006.

-- Amanda Evora/Mark Ladwig (4th, Senior Pairs)—Evora and Ladwig seem to be fairly consistent competitors who have been making appearances on the Senior GP circuit since 2005. They also won the pewter medal in 2007.

-- Caitlin Yankowskas/John Coughlin (7th, Senior Pairs)—Though they’ve only been skating together since 2007, Yankowskas and Coughlin made a strong enough impression (perhaps their 4th place in the short program at Nats) to earn a nod over Katz/Lynch (6th place) and Castile/Okolski (5th)—at least so far. Speaking of which, I’ll be kind of surprised if former National champs Castile/Okolski are not given one of the TBA slots…though the USFS is probably waiting to see how some of the pairs do early in the GP season before making any more SKAM assignments.

--Madison Hubbell/Keiffer Hubbell (4th, Senior Dance)—add to that placement a very solid JGP season (two wins and a silver medal at the Final), and the fact that the Hubbells got two Senior GP assignments isn’t all that surprising.

-- Madison Chock/Greg Zuerlein (1st, Junior Dance)—Chock & Zuerlein were the team that defeated the Hubbells for the Junior Worlds championhship, so no big surprise to see them with 2 assignments, either.

-- Jane Summersett/Todd Gilles (6th, Senior Dance)—These two most likely got this nod because the 5th place finishers (Matthews/Gislason) are no longer partners. It’ll be interesting to see what they make of this opportunity.

I remember being pretty impressed with The Hubbells at Nationals, but couldn’t remember exactly why, so I gave them the
Clip of the Day . I think the music and choreography gave this a feel vaguely reminiscent of another brother/sister dance team… The Kerrs.

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