Marvaldi and Hogeboom find mirth in victory

Juvenile pairs team focuses on fun, rides joyful wave to first

Gabriella Marvaldi and Kyle Hogeboom relish their result with youthful exuberance.
Gabriella Marvaldi and Kyle Hogeboom relish their result with youthful exuberance. (Julia Nagy)


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By Julia Nagy, special to
(12/13/2011) - Gabriella Marvaldi and Kyle Hogeboom's skate to "Cotton Eyed Joe" ended in hugs, smiles and tears at the 2012 U.S. Junior Figure Skating Championships. Marvaldi and Hogeboom propelled their way into first place in the juvenile pairs with a score of 38.23 points, vastly improving from their 12th-place finish at last year's U.S. Junior Championships.

"I don't even know the feeling I'm having," Hogeboom said. "We did everything we wanted to. We had fun."

Coaches Isabelle Brasseur and Rocky Marval, parents of Marvaldi, were emotional about the win, with Marval breaking into tears when the score was announced.

"We're always emotional," Brasseur said. "For them to come off the ice with a smile, that's always nice."

Their country-themed routine, which included a throw Axel, received a loud ovation from the crowd. With smiles on their faces, Marvaldi and Hogeboom tightly hugged each other at the end of their routine.

"It's refreshing for us," Hogeboom said. "We've had some hard times."

Alicia Bertsch and Austin Hale came in second with a score of 37.62 points. The pair has been skating together for about six months, with this being their second competition together.

"They skated really well," coach Alena Lunin said. "They did their best."

Their routine included side-by-side Axels and a Level 2 lift. Bertsch said she thought their performance went well.

"I just wanted to do my best," Bertsch said. "[The score] doesn't really matter to me."

Garnering a score of 36.74 points, Joanna Hubbart and William Hubbart came in third. They performed to a Russian song and their performance contained a throw Axel.

"I think it was good, but we could do better," William said.

Coming in fourth were Darbie Burke and Griffin Schwab with 35.64 points.