by Doris Spicer Pulaski
(24 January 2013) Tyler Pierce, 14, of Norco, CA, won the U.S. National Novice Ladies Championship convincingly, winning both the free skate and the short program, with a total score of 128.96. Pierce, who placed third among her coach Tammy Gambill's students at the 2013 Pacific Coast Sectional Championships, beat her rink-mates (and, of course, the rest of her competitors) with a total score 128.60 points.
Pierce seemed to skip light-heartedly above the ice, as she skated to the Russian folk tune "Korobushka" by Bond, which speeds up continuously through each verse, requiring a skater to move faster and faster to keep up with the music as their muscles tire. The 2012 Intermediate bronze medalist started her routine by jumping a bit tilted on a triple Lutz, and inevitably falling hard. Pierce shook that failure off to complete her routine which contained three other triple jumps (though the triple loop had a hand down on the landing) and an outstanding, high double Axel-double Axel sequence, with flowing landing edges. Her spins were fast and furious, in keeping with the Russian folk music.
Amy Lin,13, another Gambill student who won Pacific Coast Regionals, finished second in both the short and the free skate behind Pierce.
The Fremont, CA, teen, who also competes in Showcase skating competitions, skated to "Spirited Away” by Joe Hisaishi. Her routine began with a startling cantilever spread to a split jump followed by a well-executed triple Lutz, entered from a correct edge. The only serious errors in her program was a clearly under-rotated triple loop and a triple toe with a very poor landing edge. Two triple Salchows were well executed. Her spins were fast and interesting, but her foot and leg position in her layback spin could be improved.
After a fidgety, tense wait in the Kiss and Cry, Lin and her coach were thrilled to see that she had scored a total of 126.57, a score that would win her a silver medal at the end of the competition.
Third place overall and the bronze medal was claimed by Bradie Tennell, 14, of the Wagon Wheel FSC. Tennell, who did not attempt a triple Lutz or flip in either of her programs, scored a total of 116.31 points, and was fourth in the Free Skate. Skating to “The Nutcracker," Act 2: "Pas de deux-Intrada” by Tchaikovsky, Tennell demonstrated a balletic style in a program that started off subdues but strengthened as it progressed. Her favorites move is the Biellmann Spin, and her spins were her best elements here. She landed two triple Salchows and one triple toe loop in combination. She fell, however, on a triple solo triple toe loop early in the program and also had an under-rotated double toe loop and had a hand down on double Axel.
Morgan Flood, 13, had a disastrous Short Program, finishing tenth in that segment of the competition, but rebounded to take third place in the Free Skate. Because of her low placement in the short program, Flood skated third in the Free Skate, which may have lowered her score a bit. The Dallas, TX, resident skated to “Mon Amour” by Jihad Akl, and earned a total score of 112.60 points to place fourth. She landed four triple, including an opening triple flip, and also an under-rotated triple Salchow.
Nguyen, who had been fourth in the Short Program, finished
eleventh in the free skate, skating to the "Carmen Fantasy" and slipped to fifth place with a total
score of 107.37 points. She successfully landed only one
triple jump, a toe loop.
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