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Cannuscio and McManus' Skate America blog

First-time Grand Prix competitors look to make splash in Kent, Wash.

Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus are thrilled to be making their Grand Prix debut this week at Skate America.
Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus are thrilled to be making their Grand Prix debut this week at Skate America. (U.S. Figure Skating)

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By Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus, special to icenetwork.com
(10/18/2012) - U.S. ice dancers Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus are competing this week at 2012 Skate America, their first career Grand Prix event. They are blogging for icenetwork.com.

Saturday, Oct. 20

So, yesterday was a fairly easy day for us. We only had one practice in the morning, so we planned on heading into downtown Seattle. We were joined by our coach Karen, Logan [Giulietti-Schmitt] and my little sister, Casey.

We took the shuttle to the airport, where we hopped onto the light rail. It was a 30-minute ride to downtown, and we were put out right on the corner of Pine Street. It seemed as though we were right in the heart of downtown Seattle. Tall buildings surrounded us, and literally everywhere we looked there was a Starbucks!

So, after we went to Starbucks, we made our way down to the public market. It was a large tented area near the water, and it was full of people selling hand-made artifacts, paintings, flowers, produce and HUGE FISH! I'm not much of a seafood eater myself, so I had to pass on the giant fish. There were some really cool local artists, and a woman who made personalized teepees. We had to pass on those, as well (though I feel like that's the one thing my backyard is missing ... it would have been a hassle to pack).

After we made our way through the Public Market, in typical Stasia fashion, we found our way into a cookwear store, as if she doesn't have enough baking supplies already?!?! Though we found something that she didn't already have: cannoli forms! So, be sure to keep an eye on her Iced Everything blog for some cannoli goodness in the near future!

We wanted to leave enough time to go back to the rink to catch the pairs short program, so we decided to make our way back to the light rail. It was a strikeout on the Sleepless in Seattle garb and personalized teepees this time around, but you never know when we could find our way back to Seattle!

Today, we officially made our Grand Prix debut with our short dance performance. It was electrifying! I would consider it one of the "ah-ha" moments in my skating career. Everything seemed perfect. The crowd was so enthusiastic, and I feel like they helped bring our performance to a whole new level. We came back to the rink later in the day to do the Team USA autograph session, and even then the fans' enthusiasm made me want to jump out on the ice and skate again.

We are looking forward to the free dance tomorrow, but now it's time for bed. 5:30 a.m. wake-up call tomorrow!

Thursday, Oct. 18

Good morning from Seattle!

It's amazing to finally be here at Skate America! The weeks leading up to this event have been full of hard work and pure excitement. They seem to have flown by. It feels like just last week we were in Salt Lake City! Competing at Skate America is such an amazing opportunity, and the fact that we are making our Grand Prix debut in our home country makes this experience that much more special.

Our trip went off without a hitch yesterday. A little trouble with airport parking, a minor flight delay, and we were on our way to Seattle. You would think that if you can survive multiple flights to Asia, a measly six-hour flight across the continental United States would be no big deal. However, this flight seemed to last forever. Seeing as our flight was going to get us into Seattle after 9:00 p.m., we tried our best to stay awake so that we could sleep once we got to our hotel. It was sheer torture. Thank goodness for Kindles and iPods! Our flight arrived, and we got our luggage. (Standing around the baggage claim is always a nail biter.)

We made our way to the DoubleTree, where we were greeted with warm cookies, and all that was on our minds was sleep. The woman at the desk gave us our room assignments, and explained to each of us where our respective rooms were. When she had to pull out the hotel map to help, we got a little nervous. It turns out the hotel consists of several separate towers, wings and sky bridges. I lucked out and got a room close to the lobby, but we think that Stasia's room is somewhere in Canada. Considering she has gotten lost in a grocery store (I wish I was kidding), she isn't the best with directions. She has to take a few sky bridges, a couple elevators and walk a few miles to reach her room ... bless her heart. After a long trip from Delaware, and conquering the hotel maze, we were able to get a good night's sleep.

We were able to sleep in this morning. Luckily, we have a great schedule! We met up for breakfast around 9:00. We joined a good number of Team USA skaters in the back of the restaurant. We had just seen most of the skaters at "An Evening with Champions" in Boston a few weeks back, so we all just seemed to pick back up where we left off.

We have our first practice later today. We can't wait to get started, but for now we have to find our way back to our rooms to get ready!

More to come...