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View Full Version : Status of US Pairs This Season



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legjumper
10-26-2011, 02:02 AM
Vise/Baldwin don't have the same kind of political support from USFS as Marley/Brubaker. I don't see Vise/Baldwin finishing ahead of Marley/Brubaker unless Mary Beth has another meltdown at Nationals like the one in the LP at SKAM.

I still wonder why they switched the Meno and Sand. I LOVE Meno and Sand and by extension I root for all of their teams, but I wonder if M/B are still working with Nicks at all? Is that totally over?

Based on what I saw at SA, Vise/Baldwin are a noticeable cut below Marley/Brubaker in quality in all areas. I wouldn't say that Vise/Baldwin's skating is labored, but the effort required to complete the elements is much more evident. They also don't have a strong pair quality between them. I respect them for working hard and being able to do what they do as well as they do it, but they are definitely a journeyman couple.

I thought I read somewhere that Nicks had retired from pair coaching, which is why Meno & Sand are now M/B's main coaches.

barbk
10-26-2011, 02:58 AM
Vise/Baldwin don't have the same kind of political support from USFS as Marley/Brubaker. I don't see Vise/Baldwin finishing ahead of Marley/Brubaker unless Mary Beth has another meltdown at Nationals like the one in the LP at SKAM.


Political support? I get the strong feeling that the USFSA will be delighted to support any pairs team that consistently lands their SBS triple jumps and throws in international competition, and it doesn't matter whether the names are Vise/Baldwin, Marley/Brubaker, Denney/Coughlin, Evora/Ladwig, or unknown/unknown.

stjeaskategym
10-26-2011, 03:19 AM
I should hope so, both are national champions who at one time beat each other. One is an Olympian who got as high as 7th at worlds with her former parter and he got 6th with his former partner. Much like V/T, they are not starting from scratch. They still have much to work on especially those horrible lift positions, but they should do well this season.

Those "horrible lift positions" received some pretty high GOE at Skate America. For some reason, unfortunately, the judges are sometimes lenient here. I think standards are just low. Both Denney and Marley could use improvement in lifts. Marley's back is generally nice and she sometimes gets a decent split, but the leg line is not good.

I do not love Denney/Coughlin, but one thing I do like is that they seem to have a comfortable, mature connection to each other, whereas when I'm watching Marley/Brubaker, it's forced and not believable. They can't help it that Marley is so youthful looking, but hey, it's figure skating, so it matters. M/B have some weaknesses in terms of the pair elements and getting their levels up, but they have nice programs... I enjoyed their long program at SA even as they were making many mistakes.

Evora/Ladwig may be the sentimental favorite for Nationals. They just need to hold up in terms of consistency. D/C seem to be the clear favorites, so it would take a lot for someone else to win, but I guess that's not really a fair statement to make without having seen E/L compete yet. Anything's possible. It's too bad Vise/Baldwin don't have a triple twist... Their LP score at SA was not bad considering their mistakes. It's hard to believe that this post covers just about every pair in contention for the top 4 at Nationals, but it just about does. :lol:

apollo13
10-26-2011, 03:27 AM
Castelli/Shnapir just may surprise people...

DORISPULASKI
10-26-2011, 04:00 AM
I hope so.

mapleleaf
10-26-2011, 05:03 AM
It's laughable to hype the Marley/Brubaker pairing. They were disastrous at Skate America. Can Brubaker partner up with Caitlin Yankowskas? Is he too short for her? Is she too heavy for him?

julieann
10-26-2011, 05:05 AM
Those "horrible lift positions" received some pretty high GOE at Skate America. For some reason, unfortunately, the judges are sometimes lenient here. I think standards are just low.

D/C GOE wasn't very high on the three lifts. The highest was .86 and the two +3 they got on that lift were laughable. I'll be curious if they get the same score outside the US. It was good going up and down but her posture in between was :eek:

Not Good (http://d.yimg.com/a/p/sp/getty/d4/fullj.f91225ab7c4f22d0b1069bab72549e6f/f91225ab7c4f22d0b1069bab72549e6f-getty-130134200.jpg)

Good (http://208.75.85.136/system/images/content/articles/0000/1642/_57C5703_1_a_span7.jpg)

julieann
10-26-2011, 05:10 AM
It's laughable to hype the Marley/Brubaker pairing. They were disastrous at Skate America. Can Brubaker partner up with Caitlin Yankowskas? Is he too short for her? Is she too heavy for him?

The Zhangs are only a few inches apart so it may work; Caitlin is 5'2" and Rockne is 5'9".

aka_gerbil
10-26-2011, 05:20 AM
Marley and Brubaker look better than Denney and Coughlin in general, except Marley really needs to start landing the jumps/throws more often. Denney and Coughlin are good, but bland. I think either Denney or Coughlin will win Nationals or Evora and Ladwig will, but I'm rooting for Evora and Ladwig since I still don't like the way D and C came together, and Evora and Ladwig usually have more interesting programs. I love their lifts too. The US only has two spots to next year's Worlds, right? That's a shame because I wish Marley and Brubaker could make it but they'll probably end up 3rd or 4th (behind Vise and Baldwin?) at Nationals.

It's my understanding that she usually lands the jumps quite well but nerves got the best of her at SA. Since it's not an inability to do the jumps, hopefully a few more outings will fix the issues with nerves.

Jayar
10-26-2011, 05:46 AM
I still wonder why they switched the Meno and Sand. I LOVE Meno and Sand and by extension I root for all of their teams, but I wonder if M/B are still working with Nicks at all? Is that totally over?

They are still working with Nicks. Meno and Sand are their primary coaches, but Mr. Nicks is still on their coaching team. This came straight from Rockne and Mary Beth.

Jayar
10-26-2011, 05:49 AM
The Zhangs are only a few inches apart so it may work; Caitlin is 5'2" and Rockne is 5'9".

But Dan has a slight build and Hao is a linebacker. Apples and oranges.

julieann
10-26-2011, 06:28 AM
But Dan has a slight build and Hao is a linebacker. Apples and oranges.

A tryout would have been nice to see even if it wouldn't have worked out.

madm
10-26-2011, 06:32 AM
It's laughable to hype the Marley/Brubaker pairing. They were disastrous at Skate America. Can Brubaker partner up with Caitlin Yankowskas? Is he too short for her? Is she too heavy for him?

Caitlin is nearly 5'4" and is too big for Rockne who is 5'9". Re: M/B's switch to Meno and Sand, they coach at the same rink as Nicks and are the logical choice to fill in for the nearly retired Nicks who probably doesn't want to coach full time anymore or travel to competitions.

reese
10-26-2011, 06:42 AM
I can't believe Caitlin doesn't have a partner yet. I'm trying to look at the positives-- at least she's not just jumping into a partnership with just any available elite male pairs skater, but I miss her lines and extension so much. The Denney/Coughlin LP feels 20 minutes long to me. I remember I went into my kitchen to get some water in the middle of their SKAM LP and when I came back they STILL had like 15 minutes left. Their seemingly inevitable march to the National title this year is beyond depressing. I'll just be crossing my fingers that on the day of Evora/Ladwig can land those jumps.

Re: Marley/Brubaker... I'm sure when Team Brubaker hand picked Mary Beth they were thinking long-term and planning for 2+ or so building years. But I'm sure they were also banking on her maturing physically in some way (not necessarily getting too much taller, but just having more on-ice presence and looking less like a kid). I know she's only 16, but I'm wondering if maybe she's one of those people that will always look very youthful, even into her twenties, like a Kerri Strug. Their dad-daughter vibe might never really go away, and that would SUCK because I really want them to succeed.

5Ali3
10-26-2011, 07:46 AM
I thought I read somewhere that Nicks had retired from pair coaching, which is why Meno & Sand are now M/B's main coaches.

Mr. Nicks keeps trying to retire and keeps getting sucked back into coaching. I think the decision to stop traveling was fairly recent and the change in credentialing for Skate America (post-entry deadline) might have prompted the ISU bio switch of Nicks to "former coach."


A tryout would have been nice to see even if it wouldn't have worked out.

That's not the way that pair tryouts work. It's like a marriage: if you have a spouse, you're not supposed to try out other spouses to see if there's another one that you like better. Oh sure, some people continue to try out spouses once they've made their choice and gotten married, but if you get caught, you're likely to lose your original spouse - with no guarantee that you'll find another.

A good partnership is not just about a size, skill, and style match: it's about work ethic, attitude, perseverance, collegiality, and so much else. Those factors are impossible to quantify and compare from competition performances or news articles, but the pair community is small and everyone knows pretty much everything about everyone else.


My guess it was just nerves which you can't blame on her being new to pairs because she fell on two single skater elements and only one throw.

The singles elements in a pair program do not exist in isolation from pair element. The real challenge - what's really hard about stringing together elements into a program - is the necessity of dulling the cognitive processes and allowing muscle memory to take over. Mary Beth doesn't have the muscle memory of the pair elements to be able to do them without thinking about what she needs to do, especially because they have changed the technique on the elements that they did last year, so her muscle memory was restarted. She does have the muscle memory to be able to do 3T/3S in her sleep, but I suspect that was her undoing: in a program where 11 of the elements are new to you, it's easy to either underestimate or overestimate what you need to put into the two jumps. I could still see her inexperience in pairs - the tracking is considerably better than at Nationals but still not all there - but I also saw considerable improvement in their elements. It's hard to both rework all elements and learning perfect tracking in one off-season.