by Doris Spicer Pulaski
(21 January 2013) Tyler Pierce, 14, of the All Year FSC, gets awesome height on her jumps. She jumped so high and far on her triple Lutz - double toe combination that her score for that element received the highest score (7.21) of any single element done at the 2013 US Novice Ladies Figure Skating Championship in the short program even though it received an edge call. Pierce's double axel, entered from a nice spread eagle, was also huge, with a beautiful, controlled, fluid landing.
Pierce, the bronze medalist from the 2013 Pacific Sectionals, also impressed the judges with her split falling leaf into her fast and well-centered combination spin. The only flaw in her program, other than the edge call on her Lutz, was her layback spin, which only earned a level 2 when she had trouble maintaining speed and getting revolutions in the Biellmann position.
Her coach, Tammy Gambill, is doing a fine job of teaching good jump technique, and skating in general. Three of her students are in the top four at the 2013 U.S. Figure Skating Championships are Gambill's students. Pierce, a well-rounded performer, skated a kittenish routine to the soundtrack from "Puss in Boots" by Henry Jackson for which she received the highest PCS of the event. Pierce scored a total of 45.66 to win first place in the short program, and enters the free skate on Sunday with less than a point lead over her another Tammy Gambill student, Amy Lin.
Amy Lin, who is the youngest skater in this competition (she just turned thirteen in November), finished in second place in the short program with a score of 44.86. Like Pierce, Lin chose to skate to the soundtrack of a feature length cartoon, "Kung Fu Panda." The gold medalist at the 2012 Pacific Regionals demonstrated a playful martial arts style that matched her music well. All of her elements received positive grades of execution. The highlight of her routine was her blazingly fast, martial arts - themed step sequence, choreographed for her by Justin Dillon and Cindy Stuart.
Bradie Tennell, of the Wagon Wheel FSC, skated with elegance and verve to “Sozo” by Kitaro Kojiki to capture third place with a score of 43.22. Tennell who placed tenth at this event last year, trains with her coach Denise Myers in the Chicago area. The fourteen-year-old's progress over the past year is quite remarkable. The native of Carpentersville, IL, earned level 4 and high grades of execution for both her spins, and her triple Salchow. Her spins were very well centered, with clearly executed positions, and earned the highest scores of the competition.
Elizabeth Nguyen of the All Year FSC was pretty in pink, skating to “Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence” by Ryuichi Sakamoro. The thirteen-year old student of Tammy Gambill earned 42.79 points and the second highest PCS score of the competition, 19.29, and had the highest base value, 24.63. Both her layback, the best of the event, and her change-foot combination spin were rated as level four by the technical panel. A fall on her triple Salchow cost her higher placement than the fourth place position she now holds.
Megan Wessenberg, 14, of the SC of Boston, performed a short program to “Children” by Roberto Concina, The fourteen-year old from Medway, MA, earned a score of 37.21 points. Her fifth place finish in the 2013 U.S. Nationals Novice Ladies Short Program is the highlight of her career so far, eclipsing the occasion when she and teamed up with former Boston Bruin great Ken Hodge to cut the ribbon to open the Faneuil Hall Marketplace's new ice skating rink, in Boston in 2011. A two footed double Axel cost her a point in an otherwise clean skate.
Emily Mei Lin Chan of the Memorial FSC of Houston placed sixth, scoring 36.47 points. The fourth place finisher at Midwestern Sectionals gave an elegant performance of Caryn Kadavy's choreography to “Desert Fire” by Chinese Dance Artist. The technical difficulty of her planned program was significantly lower than those of the top finishers here. She had an edge call on on double Lutz - double toe loop, and her required flip jump was only a double.
At the end of the competition, the scores of almost all the competitors were so tightly clustered that a spot on the medal podium after the free skate was still within their reach.
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