Gao comes back at Midwestern Sectionals

Novice skater dazzles in the free skate after placing third in the short program

Angela Maxwell performs at the Midwest Sectionals.
Angela Maxwell performs at the Midwest Sectionals. (Daphne Backman)


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By Tim Russell - special to
(11/17/2007) - Talk about making a comeback.

After finishing third in the short program, Christina Gao came up with a strong performance in the novice ladies free skate at the 2008 Midwestern Sectionals at the Onyx Skating Rink in Rochester, Mich. on Friday.

Gao, from Northern Kentucky Skating Club, won the event with 127.17 points. She scored an 85.34 in the free skate. Gao had trailed Marissa Secundy and Sophia Lamay after the short program on Thursday.

In the free skate, Secundy finished second behind Gao with an 80.51 and Lamay was third (72.55). Agnes Zawadzki moved from fifth in the short program to third in the free skate (74.64).

In the final standings, Gao was first at 127.17, followed by Secundy (122.96), Lamay (114.40) and Zawadzki (112.93).

In other novice events, Anastasia Olson and Jordan Cowan took first in the ice dancing final standings with a 99.44 score. They finished first in the free dance with a 57.20 score. Olson and Cowan were also first in the second compulsory dance Thursday (21.92). They were fourth in the first compulsory (20.32).

Megan Evans and Nathan Truesdell finished second overall at 96.00. They were second in all three dances.

In pairs, Brynn Carman and Christopher Knierim leapfrogged over Brittany Chase and Andrew Speroff in the free skate to win the title.

Carman and Knierim scored a 92.07 in the free skate for a combined score of 133.56 to win the event. Chase and Speroff skated to an 87.04 for a two-day score of 129.27.


In one of the more anticipated events, Jennifer Wester and Daniil Barantsev have the edge in senior ice dancing after the compulsory and original dances. The husband-wife team have a combined score of 72.18.

Mauri Gustafson and Joel Dear are second at 67.87 and Stacy Kim and Jonathan Harris are third at 51.45.

In senior men's action, Wesley Campbell took first in the short program with a 69.49 score. Braden Overett was second at 67.51 while event favorite Eliot Halverson was third (66.21). Rohene Ward is fourth (66.21) and Michael Peters fifth (63.26).

Molly Overstar took first in the senior ladies short program with a 56.98 score. Angie Lien is second at 55.69 and Becky Bereswill is third with 53.90. Megan Hyatt sits in fourth (48.28) and Juliana Bilowus fifth (41.67).

In senior pairs, Caitlin Yankowskas and John Coughlin are first after the short program with a score of 59.51. Amber Wehrle and Nicholas Kole are second (50.39) and Kendra Moyle and Steven Pottenger third (40.51).


In pairs, Claire Davis and Nathan Miller are first after the short program (46.50). Jaylyn Kelly and Gabe Woodruff are second (42.55), Janyce Okamoto and Ryan Berning third (42.53) and Andrea Best and Trevor Young fourth ( 28.16).

Alexander Johnson leads the junior men after the short program with a 68.58 score. Grant Hochstein is second at 58.99, William Brewster third (55.97) and Osadolo Irowa fourth (54.11).

Angela Maxwell has a three-point lead in junior ladies with a 56.61 score in the short program. Kirsten Olson is second at 53.18 with Victoria Fairchild third (52.96) and Alexa Scimeca fourth (52.54).

In junior ice dancing, Madison and Keiffer Hubbell are first after the compulsory and original dances with a score of 82.15. They were first in both dances.

Piper Gilles and Timothy McKernan are second at 78.54. Shannon Wingle and Ryan Devereaux are third (71.85) and Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani fourth (71.22).

The Midwestern Sectionals conclude on Saturday.