2022-23 US Pairs Discussion - Second to None!

Sylvia

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I had posted (on August 10) Simon Shnapir's update on the new pair of Collier/Mitrofanov as follows:
In addition to his work with the dance teams, Shnapir is still coaching pairs and working with the single skaters at the Skating Club of Boston. His singles skater, Hazel Collier, who competed at the junior level at the 2020 and 2022 U.S. Championships, is now pursuing pairs with Misha Mitrofanov. Mitrofanov was the 2022 Four Continents Champion with his former partner, Audrey Lu.
“They (Hazel and Misha) are working through a couple little injuries right now, but they’ve made a lot of enormous progress in a short amount of time,” Shnapir described of the new partnership. “Credit to Misha for his experience, but a lot of credit goes to Hazel for her fierceness and just her willingness to learn and want to be thrown and want to be lifted, and want to compete and be successful in this discipline.”
According to Ganicheva/Letov's Instagram, Collier & Mitrofanov are training again and it sure looks like Hazel enjoys throw jumps, specifically the 3Lo! https://www.instagram.com/reel/Ch-FMSSgBUB/
 

Karen-W

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Nice improvement of their score for Ouellette/Newby-Estrella this week! Next week is going to be huge and it will be really interesting to see which teams are entered in the John Nicks Pairs Challenge on both the junior and senior sides.

Smith/Deng will have their 2nd JGP assignment in Riga next week and will, hopefully, come home with another medal. On paper, of the teams with competition experience, they are the strongest team in the field. The two Canadian teams scored around 104-105 at different Canadian summer comps and the Uzbeki team's ISU PB is around 99 from last season on the JGP. The Spanish and German teams are new, I believe.

SENIOR PAIRS
Baram/Tioumentsev 179.64
Plazas/Fernandez 151.08
Mokhova/Mokhov 160.48
Wessenberg/Eisenach 147.26
Hanns/Neudecker (new) 147.12
Digerness/Sadusky (new) 145.34
Kam/Meyh 137.06
Ouellette/Newby-Estrella (new) 115.29 --> 122.89 @Skate Houston
Fitzpatrick/Bearinger (new) 109.21

JUNIOR PAIRS teams:
Baram/Tioumentsev 171.36 at JGP Ostrava
Korytek/Chapman (new) 151.32
Smith/Deng 140.72 at JGP Ostrava
Catherine Rivers/Nathan Rensing (new) 114.80
Kayla Black/Kamden Black 94.99
Lilianna Murray/Jordan Gillette 94.83
Olivia Flores/Luke Wang (new) 93.86
Melania Delis/Jaden Schwab (new) 93.04
Margaret Church/William Church 88.44
 

Sylvia

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Karen-W

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Karen-W

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Looking over the starting orders for the Greater Chicagoland Fall Invitational NQS event - Laiken Lockley has a new partner! Edoardo Caputo, also from DuPage FSC. They're the only senior pairs team entered for the event. Junior pairs has two teams - Margaret Church/William Church and Isabelle Martins/Aaron Felberbaum.
 

Sylvia

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Looking over the starting orders for the Greater Chicagoland Fall Invitational NQS event - Laiken Lockley has a new partner! Edoardo Caputo, also from DuPage FSC
Caputo is 25 now and previously skated with Irma Caldara for Italy - their ISU bio from 2014-17 includes many junior internationals: http://www.isuresults.com/bios/isufs00054544.htm
He then skated briefly with Giulia Foresti in 2018: http://www.isuresults.com/bios/isufs00106724.htm

Isabelle Martins/Aaron Felberbaum (he’s new to pairs, competed in Jr. men last season) had registered for Skate Detroit in July but did not compete there.
 
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Karen-W

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Caputo is 25 now and previously skated with Irma Caldara for Italy - their ISU bio from 2014-17 includes many junior internationals: http://www.isuresults.com/bios/isufs00054544.htm
He then skated briefly with Giulia Foresti in 2018: http://www.isuresults.com/bios/isufs00106724.htm

Isabelle Martins/Aaron Felberbaum (he’s new to pairs, competed in Jr. men last season) had registered for Skate Detroit in July but did not compete there.
I knew you'd track down his past skating record! ;)
 

happycamper2554

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Caputo is 25 now and previously skated with Irma Caldara for Italy - their ISU bio from 2014-17 includes many junior internationals: http://www.isuresults.com/bios/isufs00054544.htm
He then skated briefly with Giulia Foresti in 2018: http://www.isuresults.com/bios/isufs00106724.htm

Isabelle Martins/Aaron Felberbaum (he’s new to pairs, competed in Jr. men last season) had registered for Skate Detroit in July but did not compete there.
Do we think they could skate for Italy. They are short in pairs.
 

Sylvia

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Grace Knoop (5th in Junior Pairs with Blake Eisenach at 2019 U.S. Nationals; she currently is a journalism student at Boston University and co-president of BU's Intercollegiate Team that won the national title in April) wrote the JGP Ostrava recap for USFS' Fan Zone:

ETA: She and Eisenach placed 5th in Junior at the 2019 Bavarian Open in Oberstdorf, Germany (got their minimums in their Team USA debut to be listed as a 2019 Junior Worlds 2nd alternates). They qualified for 2020 Nationals in Junior but WD due to injury.
 
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Karen-W

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Skate St Moritz start orders are up -

Senior pairs - 2
Mandy Romero/Kristofer Ogren
Nica Digerness/Mark Sadusky
Kam/Meyh were entered but are listed as WD

Junior pairs - 1
Naomi Williams/Lachlan Lewer - he skated last season for Australia with Campbell Young (last competition was Golden Spin of Zagreb) - ISU bio with Young - http://www.isuresults.com/bios/isufs00111361.htm.
 
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Amy L

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Skate St Moritz start orders are up -

Junior pairs - 1
Naomi Williams/Lachlan Lewer - he skated last season for Australia with Campbell Young (last competition was Golden Spin of Zagreb) - ISU bio with Young - http://www.isuresults.com/bios/isufs00111361.htm.
He's switching to the US? Since there are so few Australian pairs at any given time, you'd think he'd stick with them since getting international assignments would be less complicated. But maybe it's a training/funding thing??
 

Karen-W

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He's switching to the US? Since there are so few Australian pairs at any given time, you'd think he'd stick with them since getting international assignments would be less complicated. But maybe it's a training/funding thing??
No clue. Does he need a release to skate at a domestic US competition?
 

Sylvia

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Cayla Smith & Andy Deng won JGP Riga Pairs with a nice total score of 137.23 points!!!!
Smith/Deng's ISU personal best scores are all from Ostrava (140.72 / 54.39 / 86.33); nevertheless, CONGRATS to them on being the first unofficial qualifiers for the JGP Final in Torino!! :)

ETA that I initially had wondered why Baram/Tioumentsev weren't assigned to Riga as well, but now it looks like a smart move by USFS, giving Cayla/Andy a chance to win the gold and ensuring that they qualify for the Final! B/T could use more training time for that throw triple (loop) and going up against the 2022 World Junior silver medalists Golubeva/Giotopoulos Moore in JGP #6 can only benefit them.
 
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Sylvia

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Skate St Moritz start orders are up -
...
Junior pairs - 1
Naomi Williams/Lachlan Lewer - he skated last season for Australia with Campbell Young (last competition was Golden Spin of Zagreb) - ISU bio with Young - http://www.isuresults.com/bios/isufs00111361.htm.
Naomi Williams, representing SC of Boston, is 16 (her DOB as listed in her IPS profile is 7/14/2006). She competed at the Novice level in singles last season and attended the U.S. Pairs camp earlier this year.

They are based at the World Arena in Colorado Springs - the WASA [World Arena Skating Academy] Pairs IG account posted about their new partnership earlier this week: https://www.instagram.com/p/CiNt_NurjDK/
My understanding is that they are planning to try and qualify for U.S. Nationals this year, so I assume his "paperwork" is all in order.

ETA that Young/Lewer's last international for AUS was the Bavarian Open - Junior Pairs FS was on January 21, 2022.
 
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Sylvia

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Karen-W

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Heads up! We have new teams that have earned Worlds and 4CCs TES minimums at the John Nicks Pairs Challenge!!!
Mokhova/Mokhov - Worlds SP/FS
Plazas/Fernandez - Worlds SP/FS
Wessenberg/Eisenach - Worlds SP/FS
Hanns/Neudecker - Worlds SP/4CCs FS
Ouelette/Newby-Estrella - 4CCs SP/Worlds FS

It will be interesting to see if the USFS adds either Hanns/Neudecker or Ouelette/Newby-Estrella to the ISP based on their results here. Ouelette/Newby-Estrella improved their NQS score by over 21 points today! Plazas/Fernandez also improved their NQS score by 14 points - and finished 3rd behind Ghilardi/Ambrosini and Chan/Howe, so, hopefully they'll receive the SkAm Pairs TBD spot!

Still have Greater Chicagoland and Skate St. Moritz this weekend, but here's the current update:

SENIOR PAIRS (12 spots total)
Baram/Tioumentsev 179.64
*Chan/Howe 174.09 @ John Nicks Pairs Challenge
Plazas/Fernandez 151.08 --> 165.68 @ John Nicks Pairs Challenge
Mokhova/Mokhov 160.48
Hanns/Neudecker (new) 147.12 --> 148.72 @ John Nicks Pairs Challenge
Wessenberg/Eisenach 147.26
Digerness/Sadusky (new) 145.34 --> @ Skate St. Moritz
Kam/Meyh 137.06
Ouellette/Newby-Estrella (new) 115.29 --> 136.96 @ John Nicks Pairs Challenge
Fitzpatrick/Bearinger (new) 109.21 --> 121.54 @ John Nicks Pairs Challenge
Laiken Lockley/Edoardo Caputo (new) @Greater Chicagoland
Mandy Romero/Kristofer Ogren @ Skate St. Moritz

*Bye to Nationals – other teams with byes – Knierim/Frazier, McBeath/Bartholomay

As of this moment, Smirnova/Siianytsia are not qualified for a bye – criteria states they must be assigned to and COMPETE in 3 Challenger/GP events and currently they're only scheduled for their two GPs after their withdrawal from Nebelhorn last week.

JUNIOR PAIRS (12 spots total)
Baram/Tioumentsev 171.36 at JGP Ostrava (competing senior domestically)
Korytek/Chapman (new) 151.32
*Smith/Deng 140.72 at JGP Ostrava
Rivers/Rensing (new) 114.80
Murray/Gillette 94.83 --> 104.30 @ John Nicks Pairs Challenge
Delis/Schwab (new) 93.04 --> 101.49 @ John Nicks Pairs Challenge
Black/Black 94.99
Flores/Wang (new) 93.86
Church/Church 88.44 --> @Greater Chicagoland
Isabelle Martins/Aaron Felberbaum (new) @Greater Chicagoland
Naomi Williams/Lachlan Lewer (new) @ Skate St. Moritz

*Bye to Nationals – unofficially qualified for JGPF
 

Sylvia

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@clairecloutier's article on Plazas/Fernandez (eta - fascinating stuff, thanks very much, Claire!):
Excerpts:
Valentina "Val" Plazas's life journey started not in the United States, but in South America. She was born in Bogota, Colombia, to Colombian parents. The family immigrated to the U.S. 16 years ago when Plazas was 6 years old.
"I'm so glad we moved here," Plazas said. "We got our citizenship in 2017 or 2018."
Plazas played soccer as a child. At age 12, she decided to try figure skating. Most elite figure skaters start skating at an earlier age, but Plazas proved to be a quick study.
"I progressed and got my jumps really quickly," she recalled. "All the coaches were like: 'You could go to the next level.'"
By 2019, Plazas was competing in juniors.
Then an opportunity arose for Plazas to represent Colombia in singles skating, an option open to her as a dual citizen. She held talks with the Colombian Skating Federation.
But at the same time, another opportunity presented itself: The chance to skate pairs with Maximiliano "Max" Fernandez for the United States.
Fernandez hadn't forgotten about skating. But he didn't know if he had a future in the sport. His email inbox wasn't exactly overflowing with interest from potential partners.
"I had no feelers," he admitted. "I'm pretty short; I'm only 5'7". To find someone who's height-appropriate for me in pairs is pretty tough."
But his luck was about to turn. In mid-2019, Fernandez went to Pines Ice Arena in Pembroke Pines, Florida, to help his uncle film skating classes. The director of the rink recognized him as a former U.S. junior champion and asked why he wasn't skating. Fernandez replied that he had given up looking for a partner.
"She said: 'I have someone perfect for you.' And there was Valentina," Fernandez recounted. "We had a tryout, and it went pretty well. We did double Axels, and I hadn't done double Axels in forever. I saw Valentina cranking some triples out, and I said, 'Okay, she's the one.' I asked her – and she said no."
Fingers crossed they will be named to Skate America next week! :)
 
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mtnskater

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I really like Smith and Deng from the Junior Grand Prix. Their coach has made them pay attention to posture and ballet style arms with finish through the fingers. Deng has lovely open shoulder skating style and Smith appears to be the perfect pairs girl. Feisty, gritty, athletic but also hitting nice positions and style at age 14. Good technique foundation. Sure hope they stay together and keep working with their coach who appears to be doing a very good job. 👏
 

Karen-W

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Mixed bag of results today in the last two NQS pairs comps. As Sylvia noted above, Lachlan Lewer's last international competition for Australia was Bavarian Open. He is still age-eligible for juniors, so it wouldn't surprise me, if Williams/Lewer skate well at the Pairs Final and at Nats, to see them on a plane for the 2023 Bavarian Open (which starts Jan 31, 2023) in order to earn the TES mins for Jr Worlds. We only have two spots for Jr Worlds, but I can't see the USFS not wanting to have at least one alternate with the TES mins available.

Good improvement for Church/Church today on their NQS high score. Digerness/Sadusky were about 6 points lower today than at Colorado Cup, but still solidly in that lower-mid range tier among US senior teams.

Next up is the pairs competition at US Classic!

SENIOR PAIRS (12 spots total)
Baram/Tioumentsev 179.64
*Chan/Howe 174.09 @ John Nicks Pairs Challenge
Plazas/Fernandez 151.08 --> 165.68 @ John Nicks Pairs Challenge
Mokhova/Mokhov 160.48
Hanns/Neudecker (new) 147.12 --> 148.72 @ John Nicks Pairs Challenge
Wessenberg/Eisenach 147.26
Digerness/Sadusky (new) 145.34
Kam/Meyh 137.06
Ouellette/Newby-Estrella (new) 115.29 --> 136.96 @ John Nicks Pairs Challenge
Fitzpatrick/Bearinger (new) 109.21 --> 121.54 @ John Nicks Pairs Challenge
Laiken Lockley/Edoardo Caputo (new) 98.54 @ Greater Chicagoland
Mandy Romero/Kristofer Ogren 97.71 @ Skate St. Moritzx

*Bye to Nationals – other teams with byes – Knierim/Frazier, McBeath/Bartholomay

Currently Smirnova/Siianytsia are not qualified for a bye – criteria states they must be assigned to and COMPETE in 3 Challenger/GP events

JUNIOR PAIRS (12 spots total)
Baram/Tioumentsev 171.36 at JGP Ostrava (competing senior domestically)
Korytek/Chapman (new) 151.32
*Smith/Deng 140.72 at JGP Ostrava
Naomi Williams/Lachlan Lewer (new) 123.05 @ Skate St. Moritz
Rivers/Rensing (new) 114.80
Murray/Gillette 94.83 --> 104.30 @ John Nicks Pairs Challenge
Church/Church 88.44 --> 102.62 @ Greater Chicagoland
Delis/Schwab (new) 93.04 --> 101.49 @ John Nicks Pairs Challenge
Black/Black 94.99
Flores/Wang (new) 93.86
Isabelle Martins/Aaron Felberbaum (new) 84.72 @ Greater Chicagoland

* Bye to Nationals – unofficially qualified for JGPF
 

LilJen

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I really like Smith and Deng from the Junior Grand Prix. Their coach has made them pay attention to posture and ballet style arms with finish through the fingers. Deng has lovely open shoulder skating style and Smith appears to be the perfect pairs girl. Feisty, gritty, athletic but also hitting nice positions and style at age 14. Good technique foundation. Sure hope they stay together and keep working with their coach who appears to be doing a very good job. 👏
I stopped skating a few years back, but as a FW skater I can attest that Alena Lunin (and her husband Sasha) is one of the best coaches I’ve had. Super supportive of adult skating, so I am probably biased 😀 Andy started skating there and was among the quickest learners ever. Truly, though: fantastic emphasis on basics such as stroking, figures, ballet, good jump technique (Sasha is THE MAN with the harness), and of course hard work and having fun. Growing up in the Soviet pair system and winning a Jr worlds bronze alongside champions Gordeeva and Grinkov wasn’t for nothing!
 

Karen-W

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Jim Peterson posted this congratulations to Plazas/Fernandez for their two bronze medals this past week - AND says they've been assigned to SkAm (wheeee!) as well as Finlandia!

Based on the results from US Classic and the John Nicks Pairs Challenge, I am guessing that Mokhova/Mokhov will also be sent to Finlandia. They have certainly earned the consideration.

 

Sylvia

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Jim Peterson posted this congratulations to Plazas/Fernandez for their two bronze medals this past week - AND says they've been assigned to SkAm (wheeee!) as well as Finlandia!

Based on the results from US Classic and the John Nicks Pairs Challenge, I am guessing that Mokhova/Mokhov will also be sent to Finlandia. They have certainly earned the consideration.
I just noticed today that Smirnova/Siianytsia still are the only pair team listed for Finlandia Trophy on USFS' International Assignments page (last updated yesterday 9/19) although they, Plazas/Fernandez AND Maria Mokhova & Ivan Mokhov were listed in the ISU entries for Finlandia that were published online of 9/13 (copied out in the ISU Challenger Series thread by me on that day): https://www.fsuniverse.net/forum/th...ies-2022-23-season.109817/page-4#post-6294969

And the TBD for Skate America is still there - hiopefully Plazas/Fernandez's names will appear there soon!
Any news about when Alexa and Brandon will start their season?
Skate America. BTW, I forgot to post a link to these 2 practice clips back in late August when Alexa shared an effortless-looking 3S and 3T+2T+2T when she was briefly in Chicago: https://www.instagram.com/p/Ch2cmoCOlu_/

Emily Chan and Spencer Howe have a new joint Instagram account (created after U.S. Classic following their consecutive silver medals in NYC & Lake Placid): https://www.instagram.com/emily_and_spencer/
 
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