April 11, 2014 § 1 Comment
It’s the 2014 US Figure Skating Intercollegiate Nationals and every team has arrived in Adrian, MI, getting all Blades of Glory for University of Delaware’s crown.
While eight teams decompress at the local Holiday Inn Express and enjoy the typical fare of a Michigander, it is Adrian College who get to enjoy the comforts of their own beds, home cooking, and possibly home-ice advantage. That plays a role in the reason why the Adrian Bulldogs have the best shot from the Midwestern Conference to finish in the top 3.
One doesn’t simply walk onto the podium… right?
It’s a disclaimer I drop on any team not named Dartmouth, Delaware or Boston University but we are talking about one of the best Midwest teams of all-time, ALL-TIME. Led by team captain Tricia DeFelice and last year’s US intercollegiate intermediate ladies champion Demi Russo, these skaters are on fire.
- 1st in Bronco Challenge Cup
- 1st in Maize and Blue Matchup
- 1st in Skate on Wisconsin
Adrian College has been taking care of business in the Midwest, manhandling any challenges to their regional throne. Dating back to the 2012-2013 season, the team has won the last 5 Midwestern regional competitions, clinching back-to-back Midwestern championships for the first time in school history.
Coached by Ashley Carlson, these student-athletes will represent the Bulldogs in the team’s second consecutive time on the National stage:
- Co-captain and senior ice dancer Tricia DeFelice
- Junior ladies India Johnson
- Novice ladies Meghan Barnes
- Intermediate ladies Demi Russo
- Juvenile ladies Raynise Mancha
- Pre-juvenile ladies Barbara Hipp
- Preliminary ladies Maddie Sena
The additional two points for top-5 finishes in Johnson’s junior championship freeskate and DeFelice’s international ice dance events will certainly help Adrian in the standings.
WITH OUR POWERS COMBINED
The team has enough personnel to field a group for Low Team Maneuvers and another for Intermediate Team Maneuvers. Those two groups will get all Power Rangers-y and present their case on why their jumps, spins and footwork sequences bring all the figure skating judges to the yard.
GIVE YOUR HEART A BREAK
Just kidding, Demi Russo’s not sending any mixed messages here, nor does she plan on letting anybody else get first place in the intermediate ladies events. Intermediate ladies from other teams, prepare to get your hopes dashed and hearts broken. Also, decide in a reasonable fashion who gets 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th.
HOME SWEET HOME
Adrian College has no flights to make, classes to miss, hotel stays to book, home-cooked dining commons meals to miss.
By virtue of hosting this major event, the Bulldogs have the aforementioned luxuries, as well as not having to get used to another time zone. Adrian, MI also sits 787 feet above sea level, so no complaints of lacking oxygen there.
Skaters from all teams have scheduled practice times Friday night and Saturday morning to get in their final runthroughs and tweaks. They will then have to put their game faces on and skate their best.
Television Coverage: IceNetwork, MLB Advanced Media and NBC will car- oh, there’s no way to watch this thing live outside of Arrington Ice Arena.
Social Media Coverage: You might get the occasional tweet about the standings from @USFigureSkating on twitter. Instead, you might get more in-depth coverage from each team’s Facebook pages and twitter accounts.
Start Time: 6:45am Central Standard Time
End Time: Award ceremonies around 3:00pm CST
To UC Berkeley, UCLA, University of Denver, Dartmouth, Boston University, Delaware, Michigan, Miami (OH), and Adrian College, the Lannis- whoops, thefigureskatinglawyer sends his regards.
April 8, 2014 § Leave a comment
Sorry, totally failed on imparting any figure skating wisdom before and during the Olympics. Let’s do a quick rundown for two of the colleges representing the West Coast (best coast) at this year’s US Figure Skating Intercollegiate Nationals in Adrian, Michigan.
UC Los Angeles
- 3rd place at Tiger Challenge
- 3rd place at Golden Bear Skate
- 3rd place at Pioneer Open
UCLA, 2nd runner-up in the Pacific Region makes its second straight appearance at Intercollegiate Nationals, this year at the expense of a small but scrappy UC San Diego Skating club team. Too many Universities of California, far too few spots. Next time, UC San Diego. *patpat*
Who Leads The Team
thefigureskatinglawyer wishes Godspeed to Mericien Venzon and Emily Marie Chan, both big reasons why UCLA Figure Skating exists at Westwood and why UCLA has made its presence known on the national stage. That said, it’s up to Colorado native Maddison Bullock and Spokane, WA skater Joey Millet to lead the team to success.
Supporting those core leaders in the freeskate and dance events are senior Amanda Sunyoto, junior skater and SF Bay Area kid Evan Bender, and newcomer Ai Ohno. Good luck as well to Adrian Siew, Jillian Campbell, Therese Vesagas and Sarah Palaich and shoutout to team mom, Coral Chou.
Hey, speaking of Amanda Sunyoto, this is probably the last intercollegiate competition of her career before she graduates. It’s also the last chance to establish superiority over her kid brother, Sean Sunyoto, who may end his undergraduate skating career early to focus on his pre-dental studies. Who’s winning in the lifelong sibling rivalry? Well, that’s a tough one. Moving on before I get in trouble.
It’s pretty well-known that Joey Millet and Evan Bender will get UCLA their points in the junior men’s events, as well as play big parts in the high team maneuvers. Maddison Bullock will go ahead and give it her best at the senior freeskate but also on her dance events. Not sure where you’ll find Amanda Sunyoto during the competition? Look for her competing in the senior championship and senior dance events.
The X-factor you should keep your eye out for is freshman and novice skater Ai Ohno. She faces stiff competition from the East Region teams, including Dartmouth freshman and novice skater Maddy Thornton, but if her regional performances are indication of anything, it’s that Ohno’s clean skates (no falls, all top-2 finishes) will put tremendous pressure on the rest of field.
UCLA flies out of LAX and get into DTW Friday night. The Bruins have all weekend to drop the powder blue smackdown on its competition.
- 5th place at Tiger Challenge
- 1st place at Golden Bear Skate
- 2nd place at Pioneer Open
Cal, first runner-up in the Pacific Region makes their annual trip to Intercollegiate Nationals. Yay, Golden Bears.
Who Leads The Team
The Golden Bears had to scramble after Laney Diggs and Teressa Vellrath retired from intercollegiate skating. The team is also without ice dancers Kelsey Chan (not enough competitions) and Samira Damavandi (studying abroad in the UK). thefigureskatinglawyer sends his regards to Song King, Annaleigh Yahata, Jay Yostanto, Gina DeNatale and Katrina Phan. Seriously though, the team will be without Diggs and Vellrath, who earned a significant amount of points for Cal last year at Nationals.
Team captain Janelle Unger and team president Michelle Hong take on the task of replacing Laney Diggs and Teressa Vellrath. Sara Billman, Sravani Kondapavulur, Amy Nguyen, Kirsten Flores, Audrey Tan, Audrey Phone-Chen, Matej Silecky, Aditya Nandy and Sean Sunyoto will assist Janelle and Michelle in figuring out how to improve on last year’s 4th place finish. Bless the hosts for providing Matej, Aditya and Sean their own locker room. God forbid they ruin the sanctity of figure skating should anybody see them changing.
UC Berkeley loses Katrina Phan, Michelle Hong, Sravani Kondapavulur, Janelle Unger and Sean Sunyoto to graduation next year. The team still has two cornerstone pieces to build around and keep Cal relevant for the rest of this decade. That said, US junior champion Matej Silecky and senior ladies Sara Billman will take on the bulk of the leadership during the rest of their time at Cal. Their broad network of skating friends and their strong presence at team competitions and events will make Cal known to Sara and Matej’s respective hometowns of Palo Alto/Silicon Valley and Verona, NJ. Yay, baby Golden Bears!
New Head Coach
Head coach Dani Schraner is taking care of business in San Antonio, TX so the team added alumna Marissa Minovitz to the coaching staff.
Cal Figure Skating leaves the Bay Area from SFO/OAK Friday morning and arrives in DTW Friday afternoon. Have fun, everybody.
October 23, 2013 § Leave a comment
Kanye West and Kim Kardashian are going for one of the best engagement and wedding parties of all time, all time. Kanye, Brian Wilson will be pissed if you don’t let him be the ringbearer though. Kim, hope that 15-carat diamond ring doesn’t break your arm. According to reliable sources…
hey… your sources aren’t all that reliable…
Hey! That’s a convenient amount. It’s like it’s just enough for a contract savvy Brian Sabean handed out not too long ago.
All Tim Lincecum contract jokes and elaborate proposals aside, a new figure skating season is here and you want to cheer for a team that wins, a team that doesn’t know how to lose, and a team that does triple axels. I’m going to do my best to let you know the week before the first competition what’s going on with the California Golden Burrrrrrrrs. Here’s what’s on tap:
According to USFSA, these are the dates when you can catch UC Berkeley’s competition performances if they’re in an area near you.
|Where Is It, Brah?||Host School|
|Tiger Challenge||Colorado Springs, CO||Colorado College|
|Golden Bear Skate||Oakland, CA||UC Berkeley|
|Pioneer Open||Denver, CO||University of Denver|
|US Intercollegiate Championships||Adrian, MI||Adrian College|
Sandwiched between two trips to Colorado, the Bears host their own competition again in Oakland with many returning and new skaters in tow. Last year’s championship reps UC Berkeley, UCLA, and DU look to book their return flights to the Championships, but look for New Mexico and Colorado College to bring out the tables, ladders, and steel chairs and make things interesting.
University of Denver loses novice skater Rylee Pepich as she transfers schools but returns most, if not all of their team. UCLA loses senior skater Coral Chou but might return to full strength with the return of senior ladies’ Mericien Venzon and junior ladies’ Emily Chan. They will assist Maddison Bullock, 4th year Amanda Sunyoto and junior men’s Joey Millet on their quest to make sure you see LA and the powder blue.
New Mexico, beaten out last year by UCLA for that final spot in the Championships will field a small but formidable team in the Southwest. Colorado College expects back Midwestern Regionals competitor Janet Miao and … yeah, I’m not really sure who else they’re bringing out to compete. More on the Pacific teams, as well as the teams in the Midwest and Eastern regions after every team finishes their first regional competition.
The Golden Bear Roster
The Golden Bears return a large core of their skaters despite losing junior ladies’ Marissa Minovitz to graduation. Coming back are
- Sectionals-bound/Senior ladies’ Laney Diggs
- Senior ladies’ Sravani Kondapavulur
- Senior ladies’ Katrina Phan
- Senior ladies’ Michelle Hong
- Junior ladies’ Gina DeNatale
- Intermediate ladies’ Janelle Unger
- Junior men’s Sean Sunyoto
- Junior men’s Matej Silecky
- Junior men’s Jay Yostanto (maybe?)
- Juvenile ladies’ Amy Nguyen
- Senior ice dancer Kelsey Chan
- Senior ice dancer Teressa Vellrath
- Senior ice dancer Samira Damavandi
New faces you may see now or later are:
- Senior ladies’ Sara Billman
- Junior ladies’ Kathleen Albert
- Novice men’s Aditya Nandy
Reprising her role as the conductor of the UC Berkeley team is the baus Dani Schraner. The roster is top-heavy in both freeskating and ice dancing, but I’m pretty sure the team is open to adding a graduating senior with one semester left to make something happen in college. High team maneuvers, kind of like HORSE but with triple axels and flying change of foot spins instead of corner 3s and windmill dunks, will be covered by any combination of the returning ladies for the spins and sequences + Sara + one of the guys to do the triples.
Last year, the Golden Bears had a good shot at earning a top 3 finish at the championship in Dartmouth. This year in Michigan, with additional skaters, additional experience and grit? Ridiculously, even better.
Why Win Now
Win now for Laney Diggs. The 4th year is the engine that runs the team. Of the 59 points the team acquired during their 4th place finish in Championships last year, she earned 13 points with her 4 top-5 finishes. Now in her final year of her undergraduate career, Diggs is an important reason why the team can break the top 3 in the final standings.
The championship window and/or a spot on the podium is closing quickly. This weekend, Diggs and the rest of the team take their first step to keep that window open. Skate on, you Bears.