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Liu and Perini unleash potential in pairs victory

Fields and Pacini get 'cutthroat' to earn silver; Shaughnessy and Morgan 'beast' it en route to bronze

Chelsea Liu and Devin Perini have shown great promise in their short time together.
Chelsea Liu and Devin Perini have shown great promise in their short time together. (Tom Briglia)

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By Renee Felton, special to icenetwork.com
(01/23/2012) - Chelsea Liu and Devin Perini exceeded expectations when, as a newly formed team, they won the U.S. novice silver medal. This year, they came into the U.S. Championships with the simple goal of winning. And they did so easily, amassing 122.21 points and the gold medal.

"Chelsea and Devin wanted to win," coach Todd Sand said. "They wanted to show the skating community they have more potential than maybe anyone has recognized."

After Liu suffered a fall on the program-opening double Lutz, the pair skated a clean Charlie Chaplin free skate that included two Level 4 lifts, a Level 4 death spiral and a throw double loop. They earned 83.38 points for the segment.

"Our warmup wasn't good, and then we got off to a shaky start," Liu explained. "We put the fall behind us and did our best after that."

Coming in second were Caitlin Fields and Jason Pacini with 118.89 total points. The team lives and trains in Arizona but also travels to Pacini's hometown of Fort Collins, Colo., to do additional work with coach Heidi Thibert.

"We just check in whenever they are in town," Thibert said. "Make sure they are training the way they should."

It seems the system is working as they moved into the medals this year after finishing fourth as novices a season ago.

The Cutthroat Island program featured a side-by-side double Lutz-double toe combination and a throw double Axel. Like the gold medalists, Fields and Pacini overcame an early fall, on their throw triple loop, to finish strong.

The team now looks forward to the move to the junior level. As the only team in the novice field to attempt a throw triple, they are on their way to acquiring the necessary skills for the move.

"Skating at the junior level presents more opportunities," Pacini said. "I mean, we get to do bigger and better tricks."

Alexandria Shaughnessy and James Morgan took home the bronze medal with 113.87 points.

Skating to Evita, the SC of Boston representatives skated a clean program highlighted by a throw double Lutz and two Level 4 spins. They totaled 76.85 points for the free skate.

"That was so fun. It was amazing," said Shaughnessy, beaming. "We trained hard and our coaches pointed us in the right direction to be in this position. We just went out there and 'beasted' it."