Lewis, Bye show off artistry in novice dance win
Newly teamed Patsis, Johnson happy with silver; Wren, Shchepetov wrap up bronze
|Logan Bye admitted his and Chloe Lewis' goal in Omaha was to win the gold medal. (Jay Adeff)|
The youngsters won the free dance at the 2013 U.S. Figure Skating Championships to climb from second place after Sunday's pattern dances and defeat Tory Patsis and Joseph Johnson by 2.47 points.
"Honestly, winning was our goal, but we weren't sure," Bye, 13, said.
"It just feels amazing," gasped his 12-year-old partner.
"Amazing" describes their charming program, one of the final collaborative choreographic efforts of Igor Shpilband and Marina Zoueva. It featured three light and easy Level 4 lifts, along with a smoothly done spin and difficult steps that carried speed and unison throughout their circular pattern.
The program scored 61.64 points, including the event's highest technical elements and program components scores, and Lewis and Bye ended with 102.89 points.
"They get into character beautifully, and the program has some really tender moments and great elements," said Judy Blumberg, one of their coaches. "I think they've grown with the program so nicely this season."
"We would have loved to get a Level 4 on the twizzles, but we'll take it," said Ikaika Young, who coaches the team at the Winterhawks Skate Center in Portland, Ore. "They've worked very hard on matching their elements. Judy and I are both technical specialists, and Judy's has a tremendous eye and ability to critique."
The skaters spent a Saturday afternoon watching The Artist together, to get a better feel for nuances of their routine.
"It didn't even feel like a silent movie, the characters were so easy to relate to," Lewis said.
After a short break, the youngsters plan to begin work on junior programs for next season, when they hope to compete on the Junior Grand Prix.
"The JGP has been our goal for a long time," Bye said. "It's our dream."
Patsis and Johnson, winners of Sunday's two pattern dances, showed strength and maturity in their tango free dance, which was choreographed by Trina Pratt.
The Colorado Springs-based team, who have skated together just seven months, opened with fine Level 4 twizzles, and Patsis hit elegant positions in the lifts and a fine layback in the spin.
They placed second in the free dance and won the silver medal with 100.42 points.
"We are really happy," said the 17-year-old Patsis, a former singles skater who has competed in ice dance for less than two seasons. "Just making the podium at all is awesome."
"We have never competed on a stage like this before, so you never know how the other person is going to react, and I am super proud of her," Johnson, 18, said.
Patti Gottwein, who coaches the couple at Colorado College's Honnen Arena, is thrilled with their performances here.
"They are a very new team," Gottwein said. "Last year, she competed at sectionals [in ice dance], but I think she was transitioning from singles and wasn't dancing full time. They have really gelled."
Skating a romantic, dramatic program to music from Alegria, Sammi Wren and Alexei Shchepetov took third place in the free dance, gaining Level 4s for their three lifts as well as their spin, and earned the bronze with 95.37 points.
Exotically costumed for their performing to a South American medley, siblings Gigi Becker and Luca Becker had a smooth, fluid skate, earning 54.32 points in the free dance and taking the pewter medal with 95.26 points overall.
"I think we had a great skate," Luca, 12, said. "Our coaches liked it, and it was clean."
"I feel that it was strong," Gigi, 10, said. "We were a little nervous about our twizzles ... I get nervous because everyone else is so much older than me."
The youngsters give their coaches at Wheaton Skating Academy, including Elena Novak, Alexei Kilakov, Ramil Sarkulov and Dmytri Ilin, full props for all the extra run-throughs they did prior to Omaha.
"I think we were training really hard," Luca said. "Part of the reason we did well in this competition is because we have great coaches, so they get some of the credit also."