International skaters ready for JGP Poland
Several countries have a chance to medal in Torun
|Narumi Takahashi and Mervin Tran placed third at the JGP event in Lake Placid. (Mario Meinel)|
Japanese junior bronze medalist Kanako Murakami won the gold at the Junior Grand Prix Series event in Great Britain last season and came in fourth at the2008-2009 Junior Grand Prix Final. Irina Reitmayerova of Slovakia turned in an impressive 14th-place finish at the 2009 World Figure Skating Championships. Germany's Isabel Drescher has three top-10 finishes in JGP events to her credit, and she placed 10th at the 2009 ISU World Figure Skating Championships. Also in the mix are Christina Gao, the 2009 U.S. junior bronze medalist; Kate Charbonneau, the reigning Canadian junior champion; and Russian Anna Ovcharova, who took fifth at the JGP event last month Hungary.
The men's event looks to be wide open, with both U.S. entrants having a good chance to medal. Keegan Messing, the 2009 U.S. junior silver medalist, finished fourth last season at JGP Spain and won silver at JGP Great Britain. Austin Kanallakan has won three JGP gold medals in his career -- two in 2006 (France, Norway) and one in 2007 (Croatia). Alexander Nikolaev of Russia won the bronze at 2008 JGP Italy, the same event at which Japanese junior champion Yuzuru Hanyu placed fifth. Ronald Lam (fourth at the 2009 Canadian Championships as a junior) and Slovakian Peter Reitmayer, the brother of Reitmayerova, should contend as well.
Russia's Mikhail Kuznetsov will make his competitive debut with new partner Tatiana Novik. With Ekaterina Sheremetieva, Kuznetsov was the 2007 JGP Final silver medalist and earned top-five finishes at each of the last two World Junior Championships. Novik competed with Konstantin Medovikov last season. Narumi Takahashi and Mervin Tran of Japan placed third last week in Lake Placid and garnered a seventh-place finish at the 2009 World Junior Championships. Reigning Canadian junior champions Brittany Jones and Kurtis Gaskell will be in Torun, as will the newly formed team of Victoria Hecht and Christopher Trefil, representing Hungary. Hecht is a former U.S. national novice competitor.
Canada's Mitchell Islam is back on the ice, this time with Alexandra Paul. He won three JGP medals and the 2007 Canadian junior silver medal with his previous partner, Joanna Lenko. Marina Antipova and Artem Kudashev, the silver medalists at 2008 JGP Czech Republic and qualifiers for the 2008 JGP Final, are the reigning Russian junior bronze medalists, finishing one spot ahead of Elena Ilyinikh and Nikita Katsalapov. Americans Isabella Cannuscio and Ian Lorello finished fifth last year at JGP Italy and fourth at JGP Belarus.