U.S. Pairs 2014 - News and Updates, Part III

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by Sylvia, Jan 18, 2014.

  1. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

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    Do men generally have to qualify to sectionals? I didn't think there were enough to need regionals in most cases.


    Tim LeDuc also went to nationals as a Novice (2008). I don't think he went as a junior. I don't believe he ever got a consistent 3A, though he was working on them, and may have landed a few.
     
  2. Sylvia

    Sylvia On to Nationals!

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    Yes on both counts. Sorry, didn't mean to leave out LeDuc. ;)

    It was posted as hearsay information earlier in this thread; it hasn't been publicly announced.
     
  3. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

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    Are these just rumours? Has Rockne retired? Is Simon ending his skating career? And if so, might Marissa and Rockne team up?

    Okay Sylvia, I see your post. I do hope that Rockne has not retired. If Simon is ending his career, it would be interesting to see if Rockne and Marissa could gel.
     
  4. olympic

    olympic Well-Known Member

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    It would be on paper a better match than either Castelli / Shnapir and Davis / Brubaker. For Brubaker, Castelli has more presence, fearlessness, and confidence on the ice than Davis, and while both have problems on jumps and throws, I would assume Castelli has a better track record. They would probably have to forget the Throw Quad, though, and Marissa would have to learn another triple throw jump. Also, she would have to take time to adjust to a big change in height of her partner, but this would be a good move for the SBS spins
     
  5. lauren329

    lauren329 Active Member

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    I think Castelli is probably the best pairs girl the US has ever had or at least in a decade and Rockne at his peak was the most talneted guy. But I don't think that means they'd necessarily be successful at this stage. Maybe years ago but he's on the literal ninth life his career after three failed pairings and two missed Olympic berths. With a C/B pairing, the huge, expolosive throws would not be the same, the crazy high twist and the big impressive lifts would be gone. Those are huge parts of what makes her so awesome to watch and I feel like Simon never gets enough credit for that. Their SBS spins which admittedly were a bit of a trainwreck in the 2012-2013 season were actually really good at Nationals and pretty solid at the Olympics. So I don't think that's reason to throw in the towel on an eight year partnership where both partners were able to train close to home that's resulted into two National titles, an Olympic bronze and a top 9 finish at the Olympics. And while I certainly have never skated pairs, it seems like it might be hard after all those years of being accustomed to and working with a massive height difference to get used to a significantly shorter partner. And as much potential as Rockne had, I think its time for him to move on. The Olympics weren't in the cards in 2010 or 2014 and I highly doubt he's going to make the team for the first time at 32.

    If Simon wants to retire and Marissa wants to continue, then I really hope she does but I think her best chance for more national titles and some internatonal success is with him rather than starting over. Denney & Coughlin may have been able to jump right up to the top by partner switching but I think there's more depth in US pairs now and it would be hard for a new team to just leapfrog S/K, Z/B, K/O. Rockne certainly wasn't able to do it post Mary Beth although I suppose Lindsay was a weaker partner. And I don't see C/S ditching each other at this point unless one partner is really done. Worlds wasn't great but they more than exceeded expectations at the Olympics. Their SP in the pairs event was world class and IMO underscored relative to the numbers that were thrown around later.

    And besides, I think people are putting a little too much stock in one off handed comment from Trankov- they both seemed to indicate on the Today Show that they'd love another Olympics if they could. I expect to see them next year but I don't think we've gotten any real reliable indicators either way yet.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2014
  6. clairecloutier

    clairecloutier Well-Known Member

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    ^^I agree with your post, Lauren. I think your analysis is correct. Yes, if it were 5 years ago, Castelli/Brubaker might have been an interesting matchup. But with Rockne now 27, soon to be 28, it's pretty late for him to start a new partnership. Especially since, as you point out, he's never actually achieved real international success. It was one thing for Trankov to start a partnership w/Tatiana at 26; that was worth the try because they were both successful internationally with separate partners. Rockne has never gotten to that point, and it doesn't look like he ever will. The potential was there, but there were too many missed opportunities along the way. This past season, he was just going through the motions with Davis. And now with him engaged to Stefania, I think it's time to move on, and it sounds like he's realized that too.

    Rockne & Marissa might have been a good match artistically. However, there would have been downsides to the partnership as well. Like you said, her lifts & throws would never be anywhere near as big with Rockne. And I also don't know if she & Rockne would have been the best match in terms of personality. Some people have said Rockne is a rather difficult, demanding partner. I can't see that working well with Marissa. Granted, she & Simon have had their issues, but they seem to have found their way to a workable relationship.

    I agree the best thing is for Marissa & Simon to stay together and continue. I really hope they will! But the fact is, they've made no comment on their future plans, so that makes me wonder.
     
  7. reese

    reese Well-Known Member

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    I think the 9th at the Olympics is the best they could do and probably their ceiling internationally(in the 8th-10th in the World range). Bottom line is that Simon is not as strong of a skater or competitor as Marissa. They are never going to be classically well matched; it will never look effortless. Simon never looks fully comfortable when he skates and compensating for their large size difference really impacts basics like stroking. Also Simon is just never going to be a consistent jumper.

    I imagine Marissa will continue and find another partner. There are some interesting options out there. Speroff and LeDuc come to mind.
     
  8. BittyBug

    BittyBug Kiteless

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    Did Leng and LeDuc split?
     
  9. clairecloutier

    clairecloutier Well-Known Member

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    Just watching the TSL worlds recap right now--Dave thinks Marissa should pair up with LeDuc. I think that would be a better option than Speroff. As I said upthread, I just don't see Marissa & Andrew as a pair. Their skating styles seem too different. Speroff reminds me of Todd Sand, he has that sort of classic leading man/premier danseur look. Marissa, although great, is not particularly balletic/classical in style. And Speroff's jumps aren't that great, either. I haven't seen enough of LeDuc to judge if they might work or not. At least he would be closer to Simon's height; Speroff is half a foot shorter.

    While I agree that Marissa & Simon are never going to be "classically well matched," I do think they have the potential to go higher at Worlds. I mean, come on, with people like Sui/Han placing 4th in the short . . . and even Duhamel/Radford, who in my personal opinion are no more classically matched than Marissa & Simon, and no more artistically satisfying to watch, either. They're just more consistent, and have harder jumps . . . My personal feeling is that Marissa & Simon could potentially sneak in for a World medal at some point this quad, IF everything fell into place. But that won't happen with Simon doubling jumps all over the place.

    I agree with Lauren that Marissa is one of the best pairs girls we've had in a long time; I think she's one of the best in the world. I just want to see her succeed. If Simon can heal his injury and really commit to going for it, fine. If Simon wants to retire and she can secure another suitable partner quickly, I'm fine with that too. But I don't want to see her split with Simon until she has a good plan B, i.e, a really good partner in place to take over from him.
     
  10. reese

    reese Well-Known Member

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    I don't believe they have decided whether or not to continue together. I do really like them and hope they continue. If not, I think LeDuc is a real catch. He has it all and has spent time with some inconsistent partners, but if you look back at his personal sbs jump record, it's pretty impressive.
     
  11. BittyBug

    BittyBug Kiteless

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    I like LeDuc a lot, and think he has great presence on the ice. Castelli and LeDuc could be an interesting match should they each find themselves without a partner.
     
  12. hippychick

    hippychick Member

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    Last edited: Apr 8, 2014
  13. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

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    I would really only like to see LeDuc with Castelli if Leng is not continuing. For fans to want to break up pairs, while lamenting the fact that none of our pairs stay together kind of makes me laugh. As soon as someone better comes along all the pressure is to drop what you already have.

    I don't think LeDuc's lifts with Leng have been a problem, and Castelli is very small. Though I'm sure all pairs skaters are always working on upper body strength.
    I do wonder what has caused L/L's long program melt downs this year. Their shorts have been fabulous.
     
  14. snoopy

    snoopy Team St. Petersburg

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    I youtubed Leng and Leduc - they look well matched in style, size and maturity. Castelli looks more polished than Leduc at this point, so they would be mismatched, at least for awhile.

    Kind of an obscure question but would anyone know why Christina Zeitsev and Ernie Sanders? did not compete at US Nationals??
     
  15. clairecloutier

    clairecloutier Well-Known Member

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    I get your point about this. That's why my preference is for Castelli/Shnapir and Leng/LeDuc to both continue on as they are, if possible. You're right that we need our pairs to stick together as much as possible. OTOH I'm a big Marissa fan, so I want her to have a partner if Simon retires . . . . But I'd only really support her switching to LeDuc if Leng is ready to step away, otherwise it doesn't seem quite right.
     
  16. Sylvia

    Sylvia On to Nationals!

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    Zaitsev/Stevens had to withdraw from the Junior Pairs event at Midwestern Sectionals last November due to injury (can't remember the details).

    ETA 2 photos of Castelli & Shnapir and other Sochi Olympic medalists being recognized by the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park last night:
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2014
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  17. The Observer

    The Observer New Member

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    It's hard to know whether Rockne's multiple partnerships are as a result of a demanding personality, or bad luck in terms of finding a girl at his level.

    But as you say, while some people may want him to continue, it sounds like he is transitioning into another career now and preparing to get married.
     
  18. stjeaskategym

    stjeaskategym Well-Known Member

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    Rockne has had such major issues trying to form and maintain a partnership these past four years, it's a shame that nothing worked out for him. Who knows if he would consider returning if the right person came along, but given that he's pretty short, his options for even a decent partnership, never mind a really suitable one, are so limited (Lindsay really wasn't a great match for him, but without her, it would have meant being partnerless two years in a row). And on top of that, he's been in a long distance relationship, and it sounds like he and Stefania hardly got to see each other this past year. Skate Canada was one of the only times their paths crossed. So it's not really surprising to hear that he's retired. I don't know if he's difficult to work with or not, but he sure has had a lot of bad luck with partnerships.
     
  19. semogal

    semogal Well-Known Member

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    Alexe Gilles just tweeted:

    Congrats to @lexxapaige and @ChrisKnierim on their engagement!!!! SO happy for you two! :)))))) xox @Scimeca_Knierim
     
  20. olympic

    olympic Well-Known Member

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    LOL. Forget their happiness. I like this news because it likely cements their partnership :EVILLE:
     
  21. clairecloutier

    clairecloutier Well-Known Member

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    Happy happy for Alexa/Chris! :)
     
  22. NadineWhite

    NadineWhite Well-Known Member

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    Congrats to Scimeca & Knierim on their engagement, they make an AWESOME pair both on the ice & off, and I think they will tie Denney & Coughlin as USA's top American Pair Team, jmho. :)

    Regards Castelli & Schnapir, I love their tenacity & commitment to each other on the ice, they never gave up or listened to doubters, they stuck together through thick & thin, and after 8 years they are 2-time US National Champions & Olympic Bronze Medalists. :cool: And they're still young (23 & 26) and have a lot more to give this sport! I look forward to seeing them on the ice together again. :40beers:

    Regards Rockne Brubaker (27) & Andrew Speroff (25), they are both still so young, therefore I wouldn't be surprised to see them back on competitive ice one day if a pairing comes up that neither can resist trying out with. At least I hope so. :saint: The only thing that would prevent them would be economic reasons imho. Rockne's getting married and seems to want a steady income from being a Director, and I know Andrew Speroff has always wanted to do ice shows, as he's had to work two jobs. Still, others have come back after unofficially retiring (aka Todd Gilles, Hamish Gaman, and even Mark Ladwig).

    Hmmm, regards the other pairs that competed at 2014 Sr. US Nationals, I've been watching them on youtube to try to gauge how good they are and also to find a pair partner for the small petite 4'11" Gretchen Donlan.

    Kayne (5'2") & O'Shea (6'1") are tall & elegant, but I personally think he would do better with a smaller partner. Same goes for Leng (5'2") & LeDuc (6'1"). Out of all the pair men that skated at Nationals, I liked LeDuc the best for Donlan. jmho.

    It was encouraging to see that quite a few of the pair men are over 6-feet tall, including Zack Sidhu (6'1"), and it also looks like AJ Reiss & James Morgan are over 6-feet tall.

    However, the only women that are under 5-feet tall were Gretchen Donlan (4'11") & Lindsay Davis (4'11"), whereas quite a few of the women are 5'2" tall (aka Alexa Scimeca, Tara Kayne, Deedee Leng). Also, Jessica Pfund & Alexandra Shaughnessy look to be around 5'2" tall.

    Btw, my favorite pair team will be entering Seniors next year ~ Madeline Aaron (4'11") & Max Settlage (5'8"). http://web.icenetwork.com/skaters/team/aaron_settlage :encore:
     
  23. blue_idealist

    blue_idealist Well-Known Member

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    Kayne and O'Shea shouldn't break up. They were so good at 4CC.

    I wonder if Lindsay Davis will find another partner or retire. She's still quite young.
     
  24. lauren329

    lauren329 Active Member

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    Scimeca and Knierim have all the potential in the world but I certainly wouldn't call them America's top pair at least currently as they lagged way behind D/C in the fall and were majorly overtaken by C/S when it counted at Nationals. Part of that was his injury but I see three other problems--- 1) They seem to be nervy competitors- in addition to some falls that can be attributed to his injury, she made many mistakes this season with shaky landings on throws and falls on the SBS jumps. They were great their first season when literally there were no expectations but in an important sophomore season where they were expected to contend, they made costly mistakes every time. 2) They skate slow and tenative compared to D/C, C/S, even K/O. This is much more apparent live than on the computer screen. Z/B aren't as fast as either but they aren't as cautious 3) Their generic romantic programs underserve them. They are too talented not to have better programs. But they seem really attached to Delilah so I expect more of the same.

    I think you sell K/O short. They found ways to beat C/S and S/K at different points this season. She has almost a Madison Chock-esque charisma where you just want to watch her and he presents her beautifully. With D/C likely gone, I expect them on the podium at Nationals next year and I expect them to be one of our more successful pairs this quad.

    I love watching Maddie Aaron but I'm not expecting big things from them on the senior circuit just yet. They need some time to up their technical content and gain consistency. I don't think it will be a Haven and Brandon situation where they're right up there right away- they're just not soup yet to be a senior factor.

    Lastly, I think people are underestimating Z/B. They may not be the most exciting of the US pairs but they have an elite status now as Olympians and I don't think they'll easily concede their status as a top US pair to S/K, K/O and the like. It reminds me of how many expected C/S to basically hand over the national title to S/K or D/C without a fight. And Z/B are consistent under pressure in a way that maybe none of our other pairs have proved to be which I think will always keep in the mix.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2014
  25. snoopy

    snoopy Team St. Petersburg

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    I checked the heights of Anton/Elena and Maxim/Tatiana - they are similar to the heights above. Actually, I think they have less of a height difference than the American pairs mentioned. So with proper technique, they should be able to make it work.
     
  26. clairecloutier

    clairecloutier Well-Known Member

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    I agree Scimeca/Knierim made a lot of mistakes this past season, Alexa as well as Chris. But I'm not ready to write them off as poor competitors just yet. I think competing is just so difficult when you have an injury. You know you're not at your best physically, and it plays with your confidence. The healthy partner is likely to be worrying about the injured partner (esp. when they're a couple off ice), and thus both partners' confidence level is affected. My guess is that's what happened with Alexa & Chris this year. I think we'll see a return to more consistent performances next season. I do agree with you though that speed is their #1 weakness. They really, really need to improve on that to move up at Worlds and start winning GP medals. I too am un-thrilled about Sappenfield and wish they would leave her. However, if they are happy with her, things may yet improve. And their artistry should continue to develop naturally the longer they're together. I am optimistic for next season.

    As to Kayne/O'Shea, I can't believe anyone would advocate them splitting at this point. They're one of the most promising U.S. pairs in years. Tarah has star quality and it's ridiculous to suggest she's too big for O'Shea. She is 5'2" and fine-boned with a slight frame. They're well matched, they've already won a 4CC medal, there's absolutely no reason for them to split. I too expect big things from them in the next 4 years.
     
  27. kirkbiggestfan

    kirkbiggestfan Well-Known Member

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    I am secretly hoping that Mary-Beth Marley comes back and finds a partner if that is what she wants at this point. She was like barely 5' with strong jumps.
     
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  28. reese

    reese Well-Known Member

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    I believe she tried out with Matthew Blackmer a few months ago but it didn't go anywhere. So perhaps she is looking to get back into pairs if she finds the right partner.
     
  29. Ageless

    Ageless Member

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    Rockne is going to be the Skating Director at the Fox Valley Ice Arena in Geneva, IL. Here is a link to the rink's website with the announcement.

    http://www.foxvalleyicerink.com/
     
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  30. jdonavan

    jdonavan Member

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    Leave it to this board to keep the "logic" and the lols coming!! It has been stated before: Complaints about teams breaking up then in the same breath fan fiction about future pairings. Lets pray there are no further break ups for the next quad and the US builds in International experience. These teams should all be focused on Boston 2016.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2014