Liu and Perini 'boogie' to top of novice pairs heap

Fields and Pacini looming less than a point back

Devin Perini exults as he throws partner Chelsea Liu high into the air.
Devin Perini exults as he throws partner Chelsea Liu high into the air. (Tom Briglia)


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By Renee Felton, special to
(01/22/2012) - Chelsea Liu and Devin Perini have already experienced a podium finish at the U.S. Championships, and the reigning novice pairs silver medalists are poised to add a gold medal to their trophy case after their "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" short program earned 38.83 points.

The team opted to skate a second season at the novice level due to Liu's tender age of 12 and their relative lack of experience -- they had been skating together just a few months leading up to last year's U.S. Championships.

Liu and Perini bettered their score from the Pacific Coast Sectional Championships by over eight points on Sunday with elements that included a group five lasso lift scored a Level 4 and side-by-side double Lutzes.

"It was our best," Liu said simply. "We skated like we do at home in practice."

Coaches Jenni Meno and Todd Sand agreed.

"They got all their levels and did nice jumps and spins," Meno said. "Plus, it's obvious they love skating and have a great time. They have a nice rapport on and off the ice."

Caitlin Fields and Jason Pacini look to break onto the podium this season after finishing fourth as novices at this event last year. They sit in second place with a score of 38.13 points. Like the short program leaders, Fields and Pacini saw significant improvement over their Midwestern Sectionals score of 35.80.

The program, set to "The Flik Machine," featured the only throw double Axel in the field. For their efforts, they gained 5.0 points, including a grade of execution (GOE) of 1.0.

"Their throw was the hardest out there," coach Doug Ladret said. "I wish it was worth more points."

Alexandria Shaughnessy and James Morgan, who have skated together for three years, head into the free skate in third place with a score of 37.02 points. Their program earned positive GOEs on six of seven elements, including their Level 4 step sequence and death spiral.

"We really connected with each other out there," Morgan said. "We had a good time."