Tuesday, April 9, 2013

U.S. Nationals Recap, Part 4

The final part! While I initially intended to include the 12th place finisher, Ashley Cain, I cannot for the life of me find any videos on Youtube of either of her programs from Nationals, and there's only one from this season on Youtube where she got injured in the middle and had to stop midway through before resuming.

This final part will discuss the 10th and 11th place finishers, Hannah Miller and Caroline Zhang. I'll include a photo of Ashley Cain to make one point about her FS.

10th Place - Hannah Miller

Given the whole Ashley-Gracie fiasco, this was probably one of the most overlooked jokes of a result. Hannah skated two completely clean programs, yet finished behind 9 other people, many of whom had multiple major mistakes in both programs. No, this is not the most mature program of the bunch, but it's very pretty, and the maturity is coming - she's only 16, and was still on the junior circuit this fall! Which brings me to my next point - Hannah had the best international season on the junior circuit of all Americans. After not even being sure if she'd get one JGP assignment, she got two, won silver at both, thereby qualifying to the JGPF where she won another silver. I have absolutely no idea why the judges at Nationals buried her in the standings, when she proved in the fall that she can compete with the top international juniors, and beat many of them - she beat Anna Pogorilaya at the JGPF! She had an excellent shot at a medal at Junior Worlds! Regardless of her joke of a 10th place finish (I would have placed her more around 5th or 6th), she should have still received a spot on the Junior Worlds team. The USFSA claims that these teams are picked on fall results as well as Nationals, but it's clear that they picked the team based on Nationals only, which was ridiculous and WRONG, mainly to Hannah. She proved that she is consistent and can place near the top against top juniors around the world, and therefore should have had a shot at a Junior Worlds medal. Still, Hannah has a VERY bright future ahead of her.

11th - Caroline Zhang

Sorry for the terrible quality - as usual, it's almost impossible to find videos of Nationals on Youtube. Frankly, I think that Caroline is finished. The young phenom had a terrific junior career, but her skating has become a disaster since she hit puberty. Her speed (or lack thereof) is as slow as Rachael Flatt's, and her technique is still a disaster, despite what the commentators try to tell you. She STILL has a leg kick on the flip, her lutz, axel, and loop entrances are still all complete messes, and the majority of her jumps are now underrotated. To top all of that off, she's skating to the most generic piece of music ever used in figure skating - STOP. USING. TURANDOT....NOW!!! The layback is really the only positive that's existed in her skating for the last few years, which is a shame, because back in 2007 and 2008, she appeared to have a very bright future ahead of her.

12th - Ashley Cain

Sorry I couldn't get the photos next to each other - I'm still learning! The photo of her white dress is from the 2012-2013 season. The photo of her blue dress is from the previous season. Anyone with eyes can see that they're almost carbon copies of each other. While both happen to fit their respective programs, it's almost an identical dress - originality? I think not. I'm a bit puzzled as to why Ashley Cain gave up her pairs career with Joshua Reagan. Unless there's a mass retirement in the US after Sochi, her singles career is never going to reach the level that her pairs career could have, and already did. Ashley and Joshua were junior Nationals champions two years ago, and went on to place 4th at Junior Worlds, and received a senior GP assignment the next season at Rostelecom Cup. She's a nice, pretty skater, but unless she amps up the technical content, as I said, her singles career will never hit the heights that her pairs career already did and would have.

That's it for Nationals! I'll start my Worlds recaps soon!


Friday, April 5, 2013

U.S. Nationals Recap, Part 3

I know I know!!! This is so late, but I've been so crazy busy with school stuff, the college process, and SAT work. Still, better late than never, right?

Part 3 will discuss Nagasu, Cesario, and Wang, who placed 7th, 8th, and 9th, respectively.

7th - Mirai Nagasu

Remember just three years ago, that Carmen LP that Nagasu had, and all the spark and speed she used to skate with? I honestly feel that it's all gone now. Yes, I'm aware that she had the flu during this competition, but her speed (or lack thereof) is approaching Zhang levels of slow. She used to have some of the faster spins in the world, but now they're as slow as Flatt's. This pretty, exciting music is playing in this program, and she's barely moving or doing any choreography. This WAS scored accurately. Those jumps are still underrotated, and there's really no excuse for that anymore. Back at the Olympics, Sandra Bezic said that "she will learn those jumps, and accomplish those fully rotated jumps." It's three years later, and the URs have become MORE of a problem, instead of being fixed. Honestly, the USFSA is really sending her a message. Unless some miracle happens in the next year, the Olympics are just not going to happen for her.

8th - Samantha Cesario

Now THIS was underscored. This is one of the best Swan Lake/Black Swan programs I have ever seen, maybe third to Baiul and Cohen. Cesario has LOVELY, elegant style, including fabulous landing edges and positions. The flow out of the opening triple Lutz is beautfiullll. One of the things I love most about this program is how she builds the character through the program, and really tells the story in her skating. I can see what/who she is portraying without being told 50 times in interviews (cough cough Ashley Wagner). While she builds the drama throughout the program, that choreographic sequence towards the end with the gorgeous spread eagles is a fabulous peak to the program, before she goes into the gorgeous double axels and the final spin. It's a real shame that injuries have held this wonderful skater back over the last couple of years, because she could have potentially been at a much higher level now. In terms of her Junior Worlds performance, she rightfully won the SP, and then was COMPLETELY robbed in the LP. I have no idea what the hell was going on, if they wanted a Russian sweep, or if they wanted to ensure that Radionova won, but that scoring was just wrong. Samantha looked upset, disappointed, and pissed off, and she had every right to be. Samantha will be too old for the JGP circuit this coming season, so let's all hope to see her on the GP circuit.

9th - Angela Wang

I couldn't find a video anywhere of her FS from Nationals, so here's her FS from the JGPF.
This is a very pretty program, although I do think she could do a bit more with the choreography. Still, that 3Lz-3T-2T is extremely impressive, even if it is pure code-whoring. While she did beat Hannah Miller for 9th (which was ridiculous), it was only by .08. Some delusional fans seem to think that Wang will make the Olympic team next year - she has a shot at the Jr Worlds team, but that's it.

The final 3 I will talk about (Miller, Zhang, Cain) will come soon! I promise!

Please comment and leave your thoughts!