2013 Pioneer Open Results and Consequences

February 27, 2013 § 1 Comment

Here are some observations from the final Pacific regional competition. The absolute sure things?


  • Denver Pioneers are going to Nationals, leading the team standings with 10 points after winning the two Colorado competitions, barring any complications with their waiver request explaining why they missed the Golden Bear Skate (Page 23 of this handy dandy notebook). 
  • Laney Diggs is the senior skater to beat coming out of the West, placing first in the short and first in the championship freeskate.
  • There is a three-way tie for second place between UC Los Angeles, UC Berkeley, and University of New Mexico.
USFSA never thought they'd have to use the tiebreakers.

USFSA never thought they’d have to use the tiebreakers.

The Tiebreaker

Three teams placed second after three competitions with nine points overall. Where did they get those points? How do we solve this tie?

Let me paint you a solution.

Let me paint you a solution.


Golden Bear Skate

Tiger Challenge Pioneer Open

UC Berkeley

First (5 points) Not in top 5 (0 points) Second (4 points)

UC Los Angeles

Second (4 points) Fourth (2 points) Third (3 points)

New Mexico

Third (3 points) Second (4 points)

Fourth (2 points)

The tiebreaker that comes into play is the number of higher overall placement at all competitions. Translation: Did your team finish higher than the other teams in any of the competitions?

By virtue of Berkeley’s victory at the October Golden Bear Skate in Oakland and their performance in Denver, Berkeley is awarded second place. Between UCLA and New Mexico, UCLA placed higher in Oakland and Denver. Therefore, UCLA places third. You can proofread my math with J. Achtenberg’s calculation of the standings, updated as of 2/27/13. Your three teams representing the West: Denver, Cal, UCLA.

Storylines to look forward to going into Intercollegiate Nationals during the second weekend of April:

  • Oxygen, Do You Have It, Sucka? Mordor (Hanover), New Hampshire sits 528 feet above sea level. You probably won’t be out of breath when you walk from the entrance to the locker room (that is, if your cardio is solid). It should be a good sign for a Golden Bears team looking to improve on last year’s 4th place finish. Let’s leave the Pewter badges back in the Kanto region.
  • Additions: This will be the first trip to Intercollegiate Nationals for Matej Silecky, Sean Sunyoto, Teressa Vellrath, Amy Nguyen, Sravani Kondapavulur, and Kelsey Chan. The six, along with Janelle Unger, Samira Damavandi, Katrina Phan, Michelle Hong, Laney Diggs and maybe Jay Yostanto represent the engine that powers Cal Figure Skating for the foreseeable future.
  • Sunyotos Know They Can Dance: Cal’s Sean Sunyoto and UCLA’s Amanda Sunyoto will compete to see who is the better ice dancer in the family this season when they go head-to-head in Hanover. Sean won the dance event at Golden Bear Skate before Amanda exacted revenge at the Pioneer Open.
  • Others Think They Can Dance: Three other skaters on the team, presumably junior or senior skaters will try to grab as many points as possible by signing up for preliminary dance. It’s perfectly legal.
  • New England Mulligan: Matej Silecky is poised to make people forget his performance at Eastern Sectionals at Hyannis Port, MA by having a breakout performance at Intercollegiate Nationals. He’ll face strong competition in UCLA’s Joey Millet and Evan Bender, as well as competitors from University of Delaware and University of Dartmouth.
  • Subtraction: After Intercollegiate Nationals, Cal Figure Skating will lose two skaters, junior skater Marissa Minovitz and skater/ice dancer Hannah Benet. They’re looking at one last shot to qualify for podium at Intercollegiate Nationals.
  • High Team Maneuvers: Marissa Minovitz, Laney Diggs, and/or Sravani Kondapavulur are capable of the elements requiring a double axel and connecting steps going into a double or triple Lutz. They may need Matej Silecky and his triple axel in case the East teams or UCLA’s Joey Millet lands a triple axel. Michelle Hong has the flying spin and the combination, change-foot spins on lockdown. Senior ice dancer Teressa Vellrath replaces Katrina Phan from last year’s high team roster to put together the serpentine step sequence.

When it’s time for competition, do the nerves and the emotions spill over to the point where coaches and skaters get catty?



Will the nine best teams in the nation let their skating abilities and clutch execution do the talking?


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