Wolf, Ainsworth lead after compulsories
|Chloe Wolf and Rhys Ainsworth skated their way to a national title in novice dance. (Michelle Harvath)|
By Becca Staed, special to icenetwork.com
(01/20/2008) - Chloe Wolf (University of Delaware FSC) and Rhys Ainsworth (North Atlantic FSC) made sure that if they were going to start off the novice compulsory dance event, they were going to start it off right. Following a smooth performance in the tango dance, the first compulsory, in which they earned a 25.54 score, the couple maintained the lead with an equally solid Kilian dance score of 23.98. This is the novice couple's second appearance at U.S. Championships, as well as their sixth event of the season; which they said helped prepare them for this week. "Being in front of a crowd always helps you get used to the pressure," said Ainsworth. Wolf added, "It's good to get feedback from the judges earlier in the season." The leaders, who recently won the 2008 Eastern Sectional, put together a day-one total of 49.52, with Megan Evans (Washington FSC) and Nathan Truesdell (Arctic FSC) close behind in second. The 2008 Midwestern Sectionals silver medalists Evans and Truesdell, who are in their second season together, tangoed to third place with a score of 23.65 after the first compulsory, in which Evans' blade slipped on one of the corners. But that did not deter the couple from working their way back up. Following the second compulsory, they leapfrogged over Anastasia Olson and Jordan Cowan to take second place with a 49.44 total for the day. "We were more nervous going into the tango," said Cowan. "But after we got one dance under our belt, it was a lot easier to go out there and stay calm." And calm they were. With radiant smiles and an easy elegance, the couple trailed the leaders by less than a tenth of a point, proving that they won't leave tomorrow without a fight. In third is the seven-month-old couple Katie Wyble (Center I&B of Western PA) and Justin Morrow (SC of New York), who added a stellar 25.67 Kilian dance score to their fourth-place tango dance score of 23.13, for a 48.80 total. "I feel pretty happy in third," said Wyble. "It could have been better, but this is our first year together." Morrow and Wyble, who is a two-time veteran to this event, found each other on Ice Dance Partner Search last year and clicked right away. Wyble's experience keeps Morrow, who's new to this event, relaxed - so far. "I thought I'd be a little more nervous, but not yet," he said. "Although, we haven't gotten to the free dance yet." Anastasia Olson (Ann Arbor FSC) and Jordan Cowan (All Year FSC) tallied a score of 46.62, dropping one spot after the Kilian dance but good enough for fourth place. Una Donegan and Andrew Korda, both of SC of Boston, finished round one in fifth place, with a day one score of 44.60.