by Doris Spicer Pulaski
(24 January 2013) Polina Edmunds, a coltish 13-year old, who is coached by her mother, Nina Edmunds, and David Glynn, finished sixth in junior ladies last season, but this season, she has won her first ever medal at the 2013 U.S. Nationals Junior Ladies Championship, and the medal is gold. Edmunds, who skated to "Romeo & Juliet" by Nino Rota, won both the short program and the free skate, for a total score of 159.87.
It's not like the free skate was easy for her. Five of her seven jump elements had significant errors. All three of her combinations were under-rotated. Both her triple flips received edge calls. The highlights of her routine were her opening step sequence, where she showed effortless speed and edging, and her combination and layback spins, which were both level 4.
When asked to describe her program, Edmunds remarked, ďI was really happy with my performance, because it was a good skate and itís in nationals so thatís good. I thought I did really well and Iím really proud of myself for hanging in there and doing everything so, Iím happy with it."
She was however, disappointed with the number of downgrades to her jumps, "I donít know where they would under-rotate it, Iím kind of disappointed in my score because with all the difficulty in my program I would like a high score, but I donít know Iím a little bit disappointed with that, but Iím really happy with my skate. Thereís not much more I can do.Ē
ďIím really happy with how I did, so wherever I end up, I know I did really well for myself, and I showed everybody that I did great, so itís fine. Itís whatever the judges and officials want, but Iím really happy with myself right now, so itís okay."
Edmunds is really happy with the work of her choreographer, Marina Klimova, "I love Marina Klimova, sheís so great, and I love her choreography. She makes the most beautiful programs, and I am so happy to be able to skate them and show everybody Marina Klimovaís choreography, because I think everything she does is gorgeous."
The newly crowned U.S. junior champion responded to a question about what it is like to work with long-time coach Frank Carroll, "Davidís my coach, and Iíve been kind of consulting with Frank, having him help us and polish me. Itís really refreshing, and itís nice, and Iím really thankful that he could work with me."
Edmunds nearest competitor, Mariah Bell, 16, of the Rocky Mountain FSC, who was second entering the free skate, made two significant errors in her program to a medley from the soundtrack of "West Side Story," by Joshua Bell. She told her coaches in the Kiss and Cry, "I did two things that are going to haunt me! I was so nervous." Bell had popped a planned triple flip to a single flip, and fell on an under-rotated triple Lutz, for which she got her only edge call of the competition. All her other elements were done very, very well, and she had scored the highest PCS score of the competition. Her two errors left her with a free skate score of 96.17, a total score of 152.80, and a silver medal.
She discussed her performance later. By then, she had already moved on to her future plans, "It felt good. Iím just so disappointed in myself for popping that flip and falling on the Lutz, thatís not like something thatís going to haunt me, but itís going to make me work harder for next year."
Bell also did not immediately love her program, "Yes, I did, and I didnít like the music at first." However, after discussing her doubts with her new choreographer, Cindy Stuart, she decided to skate to "West Side Story" so long as "I Feel Pretty" was not one of the selections used. To get into the role, the silver medalist from the 2013 Midwestern Sectionals said, ďI watched the movie before we choreographed it, to kind of like get in the mindset of Maria."
Barbie Long, 16, who entered the free skate in fourth place, skated the second highest scored program of the night, earning 101.48 points, for a total score of 152.53, to claim third place overall, and the bronze medal. Barbie Long also skated to "West Side Story." Her jumps were executed with significantly better technique than either Edmunds or Bell. However, the Midwestern Sectionals champion's spins could be faster and have more defined positions, and her footwork was not as complex, her edges as deep, nor her speed as great as Bell's or Edmundsí. Consequently, she was given PCS scores almost five points lower than either of her competitors.
She talked about her experiences at the 2013 U.S. National Junior Ladies Championship this way, "I think I could have had more confidence in the beginning of my program. I knew I could do it. I didnít believe in myself enough until the end. So I need to work on getting to that before, instead of working up to it, and staying with it the whole time. Iím much happier, Iíve had a few problems these past two weeks, Iíve had to change new skates, and my blades were mounted wrong, and I had to practice with them like that, so everything was off. Iíve been trying to fix it, and they are better now. And I feel like that was very good, for considering Iíve had a rough two weeks."
Karen Chen, the thirteen-year old 2012 Novice Ladies champion, earned fourth place and the pewter medal, dropping from third after the short program. Chen earned 90.22 points for her free skate, and 144.56 point overall, skating to "Fantasy for Violin and Orchestra" by Joshua Bell. She struggled with her jumps throughout the program. Five of her jump elements were either identified as under-rotated or had edge calls. Her gorgeous double Axels and her complex and blindingly fast spins were the most impressive elements in her program.
Chen also is taking positive lessons from her experiences, "Iím pretty proud of myself this time because I felt I did my best, and thatís all I cared about. I just wanted to go out there, smile, have fun, and enjoy this whole process."
Amber Glenn finished in fifth overall with a total score of 131.70, rebounding from a seventh place finish in the short program. Madison Vinci rose from an eleventh place short program placement to finish sixth, with a score of 131.64 points, only 0.06 points behind Glenn.
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