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Lichtman, Copely's "Beetlejuice" wins the day

Shpilband hopes junior worlds is next stop

Charlotte Lichtman and Dean Copely won the junior free dance.
Charlotte Lichtman and Dean Copely won the junior free dance. (Michelle Harvath)

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By Lynn Rutherford, special to icenetwork.com
(01/26/2011) - Charlotte Lichtman and Dean Copely's quirky, intricate free dance to music from Beetlejuice won today's free dance and with it, the U.S. junior title.

"It's a dream come true," Lichtman said. "It didn't feel perfect, but we tried to keep the performance and the energy up."

While the program wasn't perfect -- Copely stumbled slightly on a twizzle -- it had a lot of charm, as well as four Level 4 elements. The remaining three elements gained Level 3, and they earned 77.05 points. Added to their second-place short dance score, they ended with 132.28 points.

"They showed good progress this year," Igor Shpilband, who coaches the team in Canton, Mich., said. "They have lots of character, lots of personality.

"We were trying to create a program that was different. At the Final, a lot of reporters said they had the most interesting program."

Shpilband hopes that the next stop for his talented couple is the 2011 World Junior Figure Skating Championships, to be held in South Korea beginning February 28th.

"They already did well internationally [fifth at the Junior Grand Prix Final] and were very competitive with the other couples, so I am confident they could fight for a medal," he said.

Lauri Bonacorsi and Travis Mager climbed from third after the short dance to second overall with a lively program to "Cuban Pete" and "This Business of Love."

The highlight was a stunning set of three twizzle sequences that gained Level 4 from the technical panel as well as many high grades of execution from the judges. The team earned 75 points for a total score of 127.39.

"That was the most we could do and we gave it our all," Bonacorsi said.

"It was our best score this season by four points, so we're obviously very happy," Mager said.

Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus, who train at the University of Delaware under Karen Ludington, Christie Moxley-Hutson and Alexandr Kirsanov performed a dramatic, free-flowing program to "Carmen Fantasie" and "Cavatina" that scored four Level 4 elements.

The team was fourth in the short dance and fourth in the free dance, and won bronze with 122.86 points overall.

"We've worked so hard this season and having a national medal to show for it is great," McManus said.

Short dance leaders Joylyn Yang and Jean-Luc Baker dropped to sixth place overall after Yang fell on a twizzle.

"I went into it positive and confident, but it didn't work out," Yang, 15, said. "We just have to come back even stronger next year."