Aaron debuts 'Lion King' free at Collegiate champsWang cruises to ladies gold on strength of Buttle-choreographed free skate
Max Aaron debuted his new Lion King-themed free skate and Angela Wang won the senior ladies title with ease at the 2016 U.S. Collegiate Figure Skating Championships in Westminster, Colorado.
Aaron (University of Colorado-Colorado Springs), the lone competitor in the senior men's event, landed all 10 of his jumps and performed three Level 4 spins en route to earning 150.06 points.
"I really wanted to work on the choreography and the spins, and then see the jump layout to see if I like it or not in competition," said Aaron, who also earned 78.75 points for his Nessun Dorma short program Friday. "I think I'm going to tweak it a little bit. There were a few timing things that I want to rearrange."
Aaron was excited about his new free, which was choreographed by Phillip Mills.
"No one has really done a [Lion King] program like this before," Aaron said. "I came up with the idea a few years ago and thought this season would be a good time to give it a shot."
(Former U.S. silver medalists Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier skated to The Lion King for their free skate in 2014-15, but unlike Aaron, their routine did not include vocals.)
Wang won the senior ladies title, coming away with 172.73 points over the two days of competition.
Holding a 23-point lead after the short program, Wang (University of Colorado-Colorado Springs) put together a strong free skate (109.13) to win by nearly 50 points.
Set to "In the Mood" and music from The Notebook, Wang landed 11 jumps and earned Level 4's on three spins.
"I finally got my levels," Wang said of her free skate, which was choreographed by Jeffrey Buttle. "I'm getting more and more comfortable with this program. I really love it. It's a different style than I've done in the past, but it's a lot of fun."
Alexis Gagnon (Scottsdale Community College) jumped from third place after the short program to finish second overall with 123.57 points.
Entertaining the crowd with a free skate to "A Night Like This" -- a routine in which she portrays a sassy teen going on a date -- Gagnon received three Level 4 spins.
"I do need to improve my consistency," Gagnon said. "Overall, jumps and spins need to be more consistent. I just need to make sure to present and perform."
Grace Moyer (Lehigh Carbon Community College) and Elena Pulkinen (UCLA) finished third and fourth, respectively.
In the junior competition, Sarah Godwin (Boston University) and Max Belovol (Loyola University) took the top podium spots in ladies and men's, respectively.