Motley, Silecky, Coppola win shorts at Collegiates

Thursday competition opens with solid display in junior events, senior men's

Natalie Motley, who represents the University of Mary Washington, was thrilled with her first-place performance in the junior ladies short.
Natalie Motley, who represents the University of Mary Washington, was thrilled with her first-place performance in the junior ladies short. (Brenda Glidewell)


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By Brenda Glidewell, special to
(08/17/2012) - The competition began Thursday with the junior ladies, junior men and senior men taking the ice for their short program events in breathtaking South Dennis, Mass.

Leading off the exciting day of competition at the 2012 U.S. Collegiate Figure Skating Championships was the junior ladies short program event. Eight junior ladies, each from a different university, competed in the event, many of whom will begin their sophomore year of college in the fall.

Natalie Motley of the University of Mary Washington, an environmental science and agricultural major who will be a sophomore in the fall, entertained the crowd with her well-choreographed, Spanish-themed program to "'Mi Buenos Aires." Motley's smile throughout her program added to the commanding flow she demonstrated across the ice.

Motley opened her program with a nice triple Salchow-double loop combination, went on to land a huge double Axel, solid double flip and concluded her program with a nicely executed combination spin, earning a total score of 33.12.

"I was so, so happy with how I skated today!" Motley said. "It was such a relaxing atmosphere here at Collegiates, and I am pleased with how I did."

Finishing in second place was Alexis McDonell, journalism major and incoming freshman at Syracuse University; she earned a score of 31.21. McDonell stepped out of her opening double Axel, completed a solid double Lutz-double toe and had fast spins.

McDonell remarked at how pleased she was to skate well in the short program and to receive her personal-best score this season at her first U.S. Collegiate Figure Skating Championships.

Caroline Knoop of Dartmouth (2011 Collegiate silver medalist) sits in third with a score of 31.09.

"I skated well and enjoyed my new program," Knoop said. "It was fun to skate an upbeat routine and have so much fun out there competing."

The junior men's short program was the next event to take the ice, with a sizable lead being claimed by first-year sophomore Matej Silecky of the University of California at Berkeley. Silecky opened his program with a huge double Axel and a solid triple Lutz-double toe combo. He followed that up with a solid triple-flip jump, concluding his nicely choreographed and entertaining Italian-themed routine with fast spins, earning him a score of 52.68.

"It is fantastic to come out and skate so well here at Collegiates," he said. "I have had some struggles lately and feel so pleased to have skated clean and with confidence. This means so much to me!"

Finishing in second place with a score of 37.73 was Christian Burner of the University of Illinois, who completed a triple toe-double toe combination and huge double-flip jump. Jonathan Jerothe of the University of Delaware took third place with score of 27.19 following his nicely choreographed program that included a solid double loop-double loop combo.

Last to skate their short program Thursday evening were the two senior men. Kevin Coppola of the Fashion Institute of Technology skated a great program that was full of energy, confidence and intricate choreography. Coppola touched down on his triple toe-double toe combo, but he completed a solid double Axel, showed nice footwork and executed fast spins en route to earning a score of 45.88 and the lead going into the free skate. Coppola is entering his senior year in college and is majoring in international trade.

Skating to music from the soundtrack, Requiem for a Dream, Coppola said that he was "very happy with how he skated" and that he "did what he had been doing in practice." He added that "it was nice to compete at Collegiates," as it was "very relaxing and fun when compared to other competitions."

Skating second and finishing second with a score of 27.80 was Matthew McAvoy of the University of Vermont. McAvoy said that he "did not skate his best" and that he "was looking forward to free skate so that he can improve upon today." McAvoy completed a nice double flip-double toe, but fell on his triple Salchow and double Axel jump attempts.

The junior ladies and junior men's free skate will take place Friday, along with the senior ladies short program.