2023-24 US Pairs Discussion - Chan you count Howe many teams we have?

Karen-W

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Seems like it's time to start a new thread since there are so many new teams forming and music announcements from existing teams already!
USFS' International Selection Pool for pairs - 10 are listed now [Jr./Sr. Grand Prix Final/Nationals/4CC/Junior Worlds/Worlds placement(s) included below]:

Sonia Baram and Daniel Tioumentsev [JGPF2/S4/JW1]
Emily Chan and Spencer Howe [GPF6/S2/4CC2/W5]
*Olivia Flores and Luke Wang [J4]
Ellie Kam and Danny O'Shea [S3/4CC6/W12]
Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier [GPF2/S1/W2]
Katie McBeath and Nathan Bartholomay [S6]
Maria Mokhova and Ivan Mokhov [S7]
Valentina Plazas and Maximiliano Fernandez [S5/4CC5]
Anastasiia Smirnova and Danil Siianytsia [S-wd]
*Naomi Williams and Lachlan Lewer [J2/JW]

* = ISU Junior age-eligible in 2023-24

New pairs teams formed this spring! (Notable skaters looking for partners still include Gabbie Izzo, Cayla Smith, Megan Wessenberg & Lilianna Murray)
New team announced last week - Jolena Grohne & Reede Lunt: https://www.instagram.com/p/CsH0o59LA28/
He is new to pairs, having competed in Junior Men at the Midwestern Sectional in November 2022 ("Junior pairs skater" is on his IG profile); she won Intermediate gold at the U.S. Pairs Final with Jared McPike.
@Sylvia and @ice coverage, you were right -- Martins and Bedard are together again! She's relocating to California after the school year ends for training.
Chelsea Liu & Balazs Nagy ("We're back") shared this triple twist clip just now: https://www.instagram.com/reel/Cr_cJRApLCE/
(I'm assuming they plan to compete for USA but we'll see.)
Looks like Alexa (and Tim LeDuc!) will be coaching with Chris Knierim and his new program: https://instagram.com/oakton_edge_skatingacademy
^^^
And they just announced their first new pairs team - Ashley Fletcher & Aaron Felberbaum, who will be competing as juniors.


New Pairs Team:
Adele Zheng and Andy Deng. Adele is 17 and Andy is 18.
This is Adele’s first try at pair skating. She is courageous and learning her pair skills quickly.
Andy has experience in pairs as he qualified for the JGP final last season. Andy pursues his college education at Indiana University Bloomington. The team will reside in different states but travel to each others home rinks to pursue their Team USA goals! Go get ‘em!🇺🇸

Blurb taken from Oakton Edge Skating Academy Instagram Page

And music announcements!
Naomi Williams and Lachlan Lewer have announced their new SP music: https://www.instagram.com/reel/CsT4my7LpHV/
Joli Garçon by Pink Martini
Choreo: Drew Meekins
Music Editing: Hugo (@sk8mixhugo)
Clip filmed by Luke Wang
"We are excited and inspired to be skating our 2023/24 freeskate program to the soundtrack of “Top Gun: Maverick” featuring “Hold my Hand” by Lady Gaga." - Plazas/Fernandez's post tonight on their vmskates IG account: https://www.instagram.com/p/CpeLA2LL-gF/
Linzy Fitzpatrick/Keyton Bearinger's 2023-24 free skate music = Pirates of the Caribbean.
SmirSiia announced their music for next season - https://www.instagram.com/p/CrBMpmbrmw6/ - they didn't specify which music was for which program - "Beneath Your Beautiful" by Labrinth feat Emeli Sandé; and "Earned It" by The Weeknd from Fifty Shades of Grey.
”Beneath Your Beautiful” is the free skate music (Trudy confirmed on FB). 😊

Junior pair Olivia Flores/Luke Wang's FS music announcement & clip on Star Wars Day ;): https://www.instagram.com/reel/Cr1AaqnLAh0/

🎶: ‘The Force Theme’ & ‘Rey’s Theme’
Star Wars Cover by Samuel Kim
Choreo: Drew Meekins
Music Arrangement & Composition: Hugo Chouinard & Luke Wang
🎥: Ivan Desyatov
 

Trillian

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Adele Zheng & Andy Deng seem like a potentially promising match, but I’m so puzzled by the logistics involved if he’s actually planning to attend IU Bloomington. Commuting between the Chicago area and Bloomington on a regular basis would be bad enough. But on top of that, Bloomington just has a seasonal rink AFAIK (and there’s really nothing else nearby), which makes me wonder if he still considers Fort Wayne his “home rink.” I haven’t been there, but according to Google maps, Fort Wayne is three hours from Bloomington and three hours from the Chicago area. I know people have made a lot of unconventional training arrangements work over the years, but I cannot wrap my brain around any possible version of this one as a long-term arrangement.
 

happycamper2554

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Adele Zheng & Andy Deng seem like a potentially promising match, but I’m so puzzled by the logistics involved if he’s actually planning to attend IU Bloomington. Commuting between the Chicago area and Bloomington on a regular basis would be bad enough. But on top of that, Bloomington just has a seasonal rink AFAIK (and there’s really nothing else nearby), which makes me wonder if he still considers Fort Wayne his “home rink.” I haven’t been there, but according to Google maps, Fort Wayne is three hours from Bloomington and three hours from the Chicago area. I know people have made a lot of unconventional training arrangements work over the years, but I cannot wrap my brain around any possible version of this one as a long-term arrangement.

If she is 17 and is senior in high school (I couldn't find anything that lists her school year) She could go to Indiana next years as well or he could transfer, making it a one year problem. No idea what her plans are, but I assume this something they would have discussed before pairing up.
 

Karen-W

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He could be planning on taking a hybrid of in-person and online classes, which would enable him to perhaps only need to be in Bloomington a few days each week.

Plus, they're still young enough for the JGP, which could put them in the position of being assigned to the two earlier JGPs before classes start (or not since it looks like classes start Aug 21st, lol).
 
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ice coverage

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(1) From Columbus [Ohio] Sports Commission e-mail today 🏳️‍🌈:

Meet & Greet with Timothy LeDuc​
June 17 • Goodale Park • 1PM-2PM​

In celebration of Pride Month, join two-time U.S. Figure Skating National Champion and the first openly non-binary skater to compete in the Olympics Timothy LeDuc at the Stonewall Columbus Pride Festival and March.​

Watch us skate in the march or find our tent at the festival from 1 p.m. - 2 p.m.​

(2) USFS Pairs Camp starts tomorrow. :)
 

Sylvia

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I haven't seen much posted yet on social media from camp (in Westminster, CO) participants, but I have glimpsed Kam/O'Shea and 3 junior pairs from Nationals - Williams/Lewer, Flores/Wang, Rivers/Rensing - plus the new team of Adele Zheng/Andy Deng in some Instagram story photos so far.

Chris Knierim was on This Week in Skating's podcast (recorded last Friday):
After the 15-minute mark he mentioned LeDuc told him he didn't want to be a head coach of any pairs at this point but has been choreographing some programs so far and that both of them would be at this week's Pairs camp.
Re. Fletcher/Felberbaum: LeDuc has choreographed their programs and Chris is hoping they will develop well enough to potentially be ready for a JGP this season (both are 18).
Re. Zheng/Deng: They had a couple of tryout sessions together under Chris' and Timothy's supervision -- she's been learning pair skills fairly quickly and so they partnered up despite her inexperience. So far they've been training on weekends and Chris hopes everyone stays on the same page as they work around their complicated training schedules this season. Rohene has choreographed their Junior SP (he has choreographed for Adele in the past).
 

ice coverage

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Hot off the press, announcement of a new Senior Pair: Blake Eisenach and Haley Scott.

His Instagram post from a few minutes ago shows video of them practicing a throw jump:

"I am thrilled to announce that Haley Scott and I have partnered up to compete in Senior Pairs this year. We are excited for the season and already working very hard to reach our goals! ✨"

 
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Karen-W

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I see Kam/O'Shea on the far left and Plazas/Fernandez on the far right of this pic on Jenni Meno's IG story - who are the three teams in the middle?

 

ice coverage

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Katie McBeath and Danill Parkman are a new Senior Pair Team.

I see Kam/O'Shea on the far left and Plazas/Fernandez on the far right of this pic on Jenni Meno's IG story - who are the three teams in the middle?


Katie McBeath/Daniil Parkman are next to Kam/O'Shea.

Ellie Korytek/Timmy Chapman are next to Plazas/Fernandez.

Not sure, but maybe Linzy Fitzpatrick/Keyton Bearinger are in the center??
ETA: I can't think of who else they could be. 🤔
ETA: Sorry, never mind -- I was wrong. Not Fitzpatrick/Bearinger.​

ETA:​
BTW, as a separate thing, Nina Ouellette and Rique Newby-Estrella posted Instastories showing themselves off ice at Pairs Camp. (They definitely are not in Jenni's photo.)​
 
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Karen-W

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Katie McBeath/Daniil Parkman are next to Kam/O'Shea.

Ellie Korytek/Timmy Chapman are next to Plazas/Fernandez.

Not sure, but maybe Linzy Fitzpatrick/Keyton Bearinger in the center??
I thought that looked like Katie 2nd to left but wasn't sure if that was Daniil holding her.

Now we have the confirmation of their partnership. ;) I'm glad she's found a solid partner like Parkman and Nate can retire instead of wreaking his back any further.
 

Karen-W

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Not sure, but maybe Linzy Fitzpatrick/Keyton Bearinger are in the center??
ETA: I can't think of who else they could be. 🤔
I'm not sure who else it could be either, though I don't feel like either looks like Linzy or Keyton. But process of elimination... We might have more senior pairs teams than any other country, but we don't have THAT many that we can't identify most of them pretty easily, lol.
ETA:
BTW, as a separate thing, Nina Ouellette and Rique Newby-Estrella posted Instastories showing themselves off ice at Pairs Camp. (They definitely are not in Jenni's photo.)​
Yes, I meant to mention that they're there also, and that team in the middle is definitely not them, lol.

Known US Senior Pairs teams -
Knierim/Frazier
Chan/Howe
Kam/O'Shea
Smirnova/Siianytsia
Plazas/Fernandez
Mokhova/Mokhov
Fitzpatrick/Bearinger
Ouellette/Newby-Estrella
Hanns/Neudecker
Digerness/Sadusky
Rivers/Renting
Delis/Schwab
McBeath/Parkman
Martins/Bedard
Scott/Eisenach
*Liu/Nagy (assuming they're competing for the US)

Internationally age-ineligible for either Senior or Junior competition
**Baram/Tioumentsev
**Korytek/Chapman
It's looking good for the USFS to use up all of the JGP slots we earned this year at Jr Worlds, which is a nice change from the past two seasons.
Known US Junior Pairs teams -
Williams/Lewer
Flores/Wang
Fletcher/Felberbaum
Grohne/Lunt (she turned 13 last week)
Zheng/Deng
Cooke/Kennedy
 
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ice coverage

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Not sure, but maybe Linzy Fitzpatrick/Keyton Bearinger are in the center??
ETA: I can't think of who else they could be. 🤔

I'm not sure who else it could be either, though I don't feel like either looks like Linzy or Keyton. But process of elimination... We might have more senior pairs teams than any other country, but we don't have THAT many that we can't identify most of them pretty easily, lol. ...

I too was thinking that they don't really look like Linzy and Keyton 👍, but was trying to use process of elimination -- which led me astray, as it turns out! Ooops, sorry. (I will edit my post above.)

Second part of multi-part Instagram post from Naomi Williams this morning shows the same mystery twosome in another off-ice group photo, this time with junior pairs.
The mystery woman is tagged as Kait Lyday. From perusing her website (not a direct quote): Now age 30, she was heavily involved in cheerleading as a top competitor, as well as coach and choreographer. So maybe she is teaching USFS pairs some skills off ice??


... Internationally age-ineligible for either Senior or Junior competition
**Baram/Tioumentsev
**Korytek/Chapman
**Rivers/Rensing ...

Rivers/Rensing are age-eligible for Senior internationals, per Nats bios.

Known US Junior Pairs teams -
Williams/Lewer
Flores/Wang
Delis/Schwab (are they still together?)
Fletcher/Felberbaum
Grohne/Lunt (she turned 13 last week)
Zheng/Deng

FWIW, Delis/Schwab are age-eligible for Senior internationals.
He will be too old for Junior internationals in 2023-24.

... Patriot Ice Center's second annual ice show in Newark, DE on May 5 & 6, with guest performer Polina Edmunds, plus Emmanuel Savary, Peter Liu, Sydney Cooke & Matthew Kennedy (new pair team?) ... : https://patrioticecenter.com/spring-ice-show/

117(!) photos of the skaters & ensembles that performed with Johnny Weir are published here:
https://www.delawareonline.com/pict...potlight-skating-club-wilmington/11582485002/
Soloists pictured include Michael Solonoski, Peter Liu, Julia Epps and Blake Gilman, David Shapiro, Jenna Hauer and Benjamin Starr / (in 2nd half) Nick Hsieh, Emmanuel Savary, Sydney Cooke and Matthew Kennedy ...

Another pair for the Junior list:
Sylvia had posted in the Shows thread about Sydney Cooke/Matthew Kennedy performing in April and May at two different Delaware shows.​
Last week, Cooke/Kennedy competed together in Junior Pairs FS at Colonial Open.​
[I have not (yet??) come across any photos of them at Pairs Camp.]​
 
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Karen-W

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@ice coverage - beat me to posting the link to Naomi Williams' pics from Day 1 & 2.

I'll edit the Senior age-eligible teams, as well as the Jr teams!
 

love skating

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USFS article on Daniel Tioumentsev and his work with SpaceX:

With him working full time and going to school and the pair not being eligible internationally and not being in the aforementioned pair camp picture I'm worried about Baram & Tioumentsev. In earlier interviews I thought they sounded pretty committed to staying to together and sticking it out but now I'm not so sure. I'd be sad if they split though since I feel like they have so much potential.

Question about pairs camp: Do pair skaters without a partner go too or is it only for those partnered up? Just curious.
 

Karen-W

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USFS article on Daniel Tioumentsev and his work with SpaceX:

With him working full time and going to school and the pair not being eligible internationally and not being in the aforementioned pair camp picture I'm worried about Baram & Tioumentsev. In earlier interviews I thought they sounded pretty committed to staying to together and sticking it out but now I'm not so sure. I'd be sad if they split though since I feel like they have so much potential.

Question about pairs camp: Do pair skaters without a partner go too or is it only for those partnered up? Just curious.
I think they'll probably stick together if the ISU makes a change to the age rules for Jr Pairs at the Congress next year, which would mean only one season they need to sit out from international competition at either level. But, all bets are off if nothing happens on that front and they're looking at being out of it internationally until the 2026-2027 season.
 

Oldfun

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USFS article on Daniel Tioumentsev and his work with SpaceX:

With him working full time and going to school and the pair not being eligible internationally and not being in the aforementioned pair camp picture I'm worried about Baram & Tioumentsev. In earlier interviews I thought they sounded pretty committed to staying to together and sticking it out but now I'm not so sure. I'd be sad if they split though since I feel like they have so much potential.

Question about pairs camp: Do pair skaters without a partner go too or is it only for those partnered up? Just curious.
Any one can go pair camp, regardless paired up or not.
 

Debbie S

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Any one can go pair camp, regardless paired up or not.
Really? It seems from the pics that only teams were there. I know the dance camp is only partnered teams, and it's by invitation only. I would think the pairs camp would work the same way?

USFS has held camps for those interested in trying pairs, which I think is separate from the official pairs camp, for those not partnered.

I hope Sonia and Daniel stay together, but I would understand if they didn't.
 

ice coverage

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... Question about pairs camp: Do pair skaters without a partner go too or is it only for those partnered up? Just curious.

Any one can go pair camp, regardless paired up or not.

Really? It seems from the pics that only teams were there. I know the dance camp is only partnered teams, and it's by invitation only. I would think the pairs camp would work the same way?

USFS has held camps for those interested in trying pairs, which I think is separate from the official pairs camp, for those not partnered. ....

In Daphne and Gina's podcast with Chris Knierim, he lamented that very few men are among the partnerless skaters attending this year's pairs camp. From the context, I'm 99% sure that he was referring to the same pairs camp happening this week for already-existing partnerships.
I forget the exact numbers that Chris said, but the imbalance of genders was obvious. Something like two or three partnerless men/boys at this year's pairs camp, compared to twenty or so partnerless women/girls.
Sorry that I don't have a time-stamp for this comment from Chris. His love for the pairs discipline and for coaching pairs ❤️ came across very strongly, as did his desire to increase participation of men/boys in pairs. They were recurring themes for him throughout the podcast.
ETA: I should have said that Chris also has a general desire to increase participation in pairs, period. With a special concern regarding the rarity of men/boys who are interested in pairs.​

(I do remember what Debbie is talking about too -- that USFS definitely has been known to also have separate camps for skaters who are hoping to form a partnership for pairs. It's just that in the podcast, Chris made no allusion to this separate type of camp, IIRC.)

...
Chris Knierim was on This Week in Skating's podcast (recorded last Friday):
After the 15-minute mark he mentioned LeDuc told him he didn't want to be a head coach of any pairs at this point but has been choreographing some programs so far and that both of them would be at this week's Pairs camp.
Re. Fletcher/Felberbaum: LeDuc has choreographed their programs and Chris is hoping they will develop well enough to potentially be ready for a JGP this season (both are 18).
Re. Zheng/Deng: They had a couple of tryout sessions together under Chris' and Timothy's supervision -- she's been learning pair skills fairly quickly and so they partnered up despite her inexperience. So far they've been training on weekends and Chris hopes everyone stays on the same page as they work around their complicated training schedules this season. Rohene has choreographed their Junior SP (he has choreographed for Adele in the past).

Excellent podcast by This Week in Skating with Chris Knierim:


Anyway, I agree that Daphne and Gina's entire podcast with Chris was excellent. (y)
It covered many topics, including (but not limited to) Oakton's Instagram account and its introductions of some of their skaters.
Chris gave additional thoughts/background on each pair who has been announced.
Thanks to Sylvia for her notes on some of this discussion, and also on some of the parts about Timothy LeDuc.
Chris sounded very appreciative of Timothy.

Chris said that Oakton's singles skaters also will be introduced on Instagram.
He credited promotional whiz (my words, not a direct quote, IIRC) Alexa for all the Instagram content. A cute/funny moment was Chris laughing that he does not even know the Instagram password. :lol:
(Lest anyone misunderstand, I am not saying that Instagram will be Alexa's only role at Oakton.)

Thanks to @Gina_FigureSkatersOnline, @Daphne, and Chris. 👏
 
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icefan13

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I think they'll probably stick together if the ISU makes a change to the age rules for Jr Pairs at the Congress next year, which would mean only one season they need to sit out from international competition at either level. But, all bets are off if nothing happens on that front and they're looking at being out of it internationally until the 2026-2027 season.
Does anyone have any indication of how likely this is to happen? I know very little of such matters.

The situation is a bumner because I really like this young team and thought their “Cha Cha Cha” SP was so cute and well performed this past year.
 

Oldfun

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Pairs Camp is by Invitation only.
I didn’t make it clear, what I mean is pair camp included several different camps, so any one can go and choose the right one. All pair teams intending to compete at the novice, junior, or senior levels during the 2024 qualifying season are invited. But others can go too. For example this year camp included:

U.S. Figure Skating Pair Camp:

Novice

Junior & Senior

“Try Pairs”

Coaches Education

 

Karen-W

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Jenni Meno just posted this pic of the Great Park Ice pairs teams in attendance at the Pairs Camp -


And Jim Peterson posted this pic of the entire Pairs Camp attendees -

 

ice coverage

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... (Notable skaters looking for partners still include Gabbie Izzo, Cayla Smith, Megan Wessenberg & Lilianna Murray) ...

I didn’t make it clear, what I mean is pair camp included several different camps, so any one can go and choose the right one. All pair teams intending to compete at the novice, junior, or senior levels during the 2024 qualifying season are invited. But others can go too. For example this year camp included:

U.S. Figure Skating Pair Camp:

Novice

Junior & Senior

“Try Pairs”

Coaches Education


Photos/video from the "Try Pairs" part of Pairs Camp are in an Instagram post tonight from Lilianna Murray:


As Chris Knierim discussed in the podcast, I think what seems to be a "class photo" of the Try Pairs group shows only two partnerless boys/men, far outnumbered by partnerless girls/women.
But nice to see that the Try Pairs group had a chance to work with a dream team of experienced partners: Chris K, Timothy LeDuc, and Nate B; plus Lachlan L and Luke Wang. (BTW, I think Simon Shnapir is in the background at the boards.)
ETA:​
Per one of Luke Wang's photos, I think Eliana Secunda also worked with the Try Pairs group (and in hindsight, I think she is next to Timothy in the big group photo, with her face partially blocked by someone else). https://www.instagram.com/p/CtaWJIRrHJU/

Unrelated to Pairs Camp, video (FWIW) of Thierry Ferland throwing Izzo at WAIH was posted today:


ETA:​

... Sydney Cooke/Matthew Kennedy ...
[I have not (yet??) come across any photos of them at Pairs Camp.]​

... And Jim Peterson posted this pic of the entire Pairs Camp attendees -


Update to my earlier comment: Sydney Cooke/Matthew Kennedy in fact were at Pairs Camp.
They are in the "class photo" of partnerships.

For posterity, link to permanent Instagram post from Plazas/Fernandez that includes the class photo of partnerships:

 
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