The Inside Edge with Sarah and Drew - Jan. 26

Wednesday tidbits and a very lucky gnome

Marissa Castelli, Simon Shnapir, Andrew Speroff and Gretchen Donlan pose with the Skating Club of Boston pairs gnome mascot.
Marissa Castelli, Simon Shnapir, Andrew Speroff and Gretchen Donlan pose with the Skating Club of Boston pairs gnome mascot. (Sarah S. Brannen)


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By Sarah S. Brannen and Drew Meekins, special to
(01/26/2011) - Sarah S. Brannen and Drew Meekins deliver the latest news from Greensboro.

Wednesday bits and pieces
The junior pairs short program produced another contender for coolest name in the competition: Zack Sidhu, skating with his partner Jessica Noelle Calalang, another great name! It was a great competition, with a large continent of, um, enthusiastic schoolkids in attendance.

Caroline Zhang was doing extra duty, babysitting Karen Kwan and Peter Oppegard's kids on the bus to the arena this morning. They were covered in Silly Bandz, playing Nintendo and bouncing around. Caroline had it under control, however.

With Max Aaron's win in the junior men's competition last night, the Aaron siblings are two for two in the gold medal department. Max told us he celebrated by making grilled cheese in his room at 3 a.m., after his very late event, and then getting up early for FanFest.

Caitlin Yankowskas and John Coughlin were sitting with us and the Aarons during the junior pair free skate. We asked them to pose for a picture, and they tried out several different expressions, including the Tyra Banks "smeyes." Drew has spent many hours working on this with Coughlin.

We checked out FanFest for ourselves after the senior men's practice. Olympic champions Carol Heiss Jenkins and Hayes Jenkins were signing autographs for some starstuck fans.

The pair skaters from the Skating Club of Boston have a special mascot with them at the championships: a green gnome Andrew Speroff named "Booger." He was the last prize in a Yankee Swap event last Christmas, and the skaters plan to hide him at various places in the hotel and the arena. So be on the lookout.

The gnome was presiding over a pizza party on Tuesday night, while in the lobby the parents had a birthday cake ready for Ross Miner, who turned 20 on Monday, and Tyler Harris, who turns 23 on Wednesday.

Coach Ronnie Biancosino, at the championships with novice competitors Viviana Mathis and Marcus Mimidis, has a passion for orchids that equals his passion for skating. He told us he has 86 orchids as home, and as of today he has 87; he stopped at a greenhouse on the way home and bought one more.

"I had four delivered to the hotel here. I bought them online but it was too cold to have them shipped to my house. So I'm going to drive them down," he said.

Biancosino prefers phalaenopsis orchids, particularly the vivid orange and yellow hybrids.

"It's definitely a therapeutic hobby of mine. After a stressful day coaching, I look forward to coming home and watering them. If you take care of them like you should, they reward you with beautiful blooms!"

We suggested that an orchid might be a beautiful inspiration for a skating dress and Biancosino agreed, so you might see something floral on his students next year.

Guest blogger?
Mark Ladwig stopped by the media room to chat, and he promises to bring his baby Holden to visit tomorrow to play with our computer and help with the blog. So look forward to that!

We'll be back soon,
Sarah and Drew
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