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A higher level of deja vu at U.S. Junior Champs

Oltmanns, Broderick edge out Fields, Settlage for second year in a row

Coaches Larry Schrier and Dawn Piepenbrink-McCosh talk to Max Settlage at the rink.
Coaches Larry Schrier and Dawn Piepenbrink-McCosh talk to Max Settlage at the rink. (Becca Staed)

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By Kathleen Hurley, special to icenetwork.com
(12/12/2008) - In a scene eerily reminiscent of last year's U.S. Junior Championships in Salt Lake City, Olivia Oltmanns and Tyler Broderick (Kansas City FSC) edged out Caitlin Fields and Max Settlage (Coyotes SC of Arizona) to take a gold medal, this time at the 2009 U.S. Junior Figure Skating Championships in Lake Placid, N.Y.

The only other difference is that now they compete at a higher level -- intermediate instead of juvenile.

Oltmanns and Broderick scored a 59.88, a personal best by more than a point. Skating to "The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," the self-proclaimed best friends landed a side-by-side double flip-single Axel sequence and nailed a throw double Salchow en route to the top of the podium.

"I think the throw is our strongest element," said Oltmanns. "We can already land a triple Salchow."

Silver medalists Fields and Settlage finished nearly four points back. They were followed by bronze medalists Kaitlin Budd and Matthew Blackmer (Detroit SC), who earned 52.37, and fourth-place finishers Carlotta and David Powers (Indiana World Skating Academy FSC), a brother-and-sister pair that scored 51.89.

Fields and Settlage, though pleased with their skate overall, said they need to work on their stamina.

"We've been working on getting through the program and being strong, but it's hard," said Settlage. "Three minutes is a long time."

There were plenty of bright spots though. The pair opened their program with a Group 4 press lift and ended with side-by-side double Lutzes.

Third-place finishers Budd and Blackmer were just excited to have such a great present for Blackmer's 17th birthday. The pair has been skating together only nine months. Skating to music from America's Got Talent group Nothing but Strings, the couple was especially proud of their throw double Salchow and combination spins.

"This whole season we couldn't figure out how to do our pairs spin the right way," said Budd. "Now we've got it."

And they've got a national bronze medal to show for it.