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Czech it out! Wessenberg blogs from Ostrava

U.S. junior bronze medalist reports from second JGP of season
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Megan Wessenberg was excited to be reunited with many of her teammates from JGP Poland last season. -Jay Adeff

Team USA's Megan Wessenberg competed in her second career Junior Grand Prix event in Ostrava, Czech Republic. She kept a blog for icenetwork.

Saturday, Sept. 3

Today is finally the day of the men's and ladies free skates! I had a great practice in the morning, and got to the rink a few hours later for the competition. My six-minute warmup went really well, and I was excited to compete my free skate. My program, unfortunately, did not go as well, but it was a good learning experience and I am excited for the rest of the season.

For the men's free skate, Team USA and Team Canada all sat together. We had so much fun cheering on the skaters from our countries! Both Kevin [Shum] and Aleksei [Krasnozhon] skated great and finished in seventh and second, respectively, bringing Team USA's medal total to three!

At the conclusion of the men's free skate, everyone on Team USA met up to take a group picture with the American flag in front of the rink. I had so much fun with all of my teammates here this week, and I want to thank icenetwork for having me blog throughout the competition. Although I've had a great time here in Ostrava, I can't wait to get back to the USA!

Friday, Sept. 2

Today I ate breakfast with Kevin [Shum] and some of the Canadian pairs skaters. After breakfast, I headed over to the rink to watch the men's short program. Kevin and Aleksei [Krasnozhon] both skated really great programs and are in seventh and second, respectively, after the short!

During my afternoon practice, the free dance event was going on in the main rink. I finished just in time to watch Lorraine [McNamara] and Quinn [Carpenter]. The way they are able to command the ice and make every movement look effortless is truly inspirational. Their free dance was amazing, and they deservingly finished first.

Because I had to rest for my competition the next day, I wasn't able to be at the rink to cheer on the pairs. Our teams had a strong showing, with Audrey [Lu] and Misha [Mitrofanov] finishing 12th at their first international event, Lindsay [Weinstein] and Jacob [Simon] finishing 10th, and Chelsea [Liu] and Brian [Johnson] winning the bronze. It was a great day for Team USA, capturing two medals! I can't wait for the conclusion of the competition tomorrow.

Thursday, Sept. 1

Happy September, everyone!

Today was the first day of competition for ladies, pairs and dance. The dancers went first, and both of our teams were great and represented Team USA very well. Lorraine [McNamara] and Quinn [Carpenter] have an 11-point lead heading into the free dance, while Chloe [Rose Lewis] and Logan [Bye] are sixth.

After lunch, I went to the rink for the ladies competition. I had a good warmup, despite feeling a little bit nervous, and was ready to finally skate my short program. My program was going really well and I felt really good until, unfortunately, I went the wrong way after my flying camel and slipped off my edge on the landing of my double axel. Because I got disoriented and went the wrong way, I was at the opposite end of the ice from where I was supposed to be. I tried to make the best of the situation and flipped my choreography so I was still facing the judges. I was able to finish with two strong spins, and other than the one mishap, I was happy with the rest of my program. I am in fifth place heading into the free skate, and I drew second to skate in the last warmup group.

After the draw, I went back to the hotel and had dinner with the rest of Team USA, excluding the pairs skaters, who still had to compete. Because we were still eating dinner, we weren't able to watch the pairs in person, so we all watched the live stream online instead. All three teams looked great and were very entertaining to watch. After the short, Chelsea [Liu] and Brian [Johnson] are in third, Lindsay [Weinstein] and Jacob [Simon] are in 10th, and Audrey [Lu] and Misha [Mitrofanov] are in 12th.

Tomorrow, I have a day off from competing, and I don't have practice until late in the afternoon. I can't wait to sleep in and watch all the other events! 

Wednesday, Aug. 31

This morning I woke up to the sound of my alarm at 8:30 am. I got changed and went down to breakfast. After breakfast, I headed over to the rink to warm up for my 11:10 practice. The rink is actually right next to the hotel, so it is a very convenient three-minute walk. It was a gorgeous day, and it was nice to be outside and get some fresh air.

Once I got into the rink, I explored the arena a little before getting ready for my practice. The warmup area is amazing, complete with an indoor track and a huge matted area to stretch on. My first practice was on the competition ice; it was nice to get a feel for the arena. My body still felt a little jet-lagged, but my practice went well considering.

After practice, I went right to the draw, where I drew first to skate! Everyone always dreads drawing first, but I was happy with my pick. I think that waiting is the worst part of competing, so I am glad that I will be able to just do my program immediately after the warmup.

I headed back to the hotel for lunch, and then my mom and I went to talk to the local organizing committee to see if they could pick up my dad from the airport. His flight had been delayed because the Frankfurt airport was on lockdown due to a bomb threat! Thankfully, he was able to get on his flight and made it to Ostrava safely.

My second practice of the day was at 7:15 p.m. This time, I skated in the practice rink located behind the main rink. I ran through my short program and felt ready to compete.

I had a great first day of skating here in Ostrava and can't wait to compete my short program tomorrow!

Tuesday, Aug. 30

Hello from Ostrava! My name is Megan, and I am so excited to be blogging from JGP Czech Republic. I have never blogged before, so I can't wait to share all of my experiences from the competition this week. Hopefully, keeping this blog will help me brush up on my writing skills before I start school next week.

Yesterday, I had a normal day of training before going to the airport. It was actually our first day at the new training facility that we will be skating at this year. It was nice to be able to skate at a different rink and get a little bit out of my comfort zone before heading to the competition.

We arrived at the airport for our 10:15 p.m. flight. After eating dinner, my mom and I met up with my coach, Mark Mitchell, and my training mate, Kevin Shum. When we finally boarded the plane, I was so excited to discover that the flight was really empty. I had a whole row of seats to myself that I could lay across, and I slept almost the whole way!

We landed in Frankfurt, Germany, at around 11 a.m. local time and then connected to our next flight, which took us to Katowice, Poland. There, the local organizing committee picked us up, and we took a 90-minute bus ride to Ostrava.

After checking in, we met the rest of Team USA (except for Chelsea Liu and Brian Johnson, who had not arrived yet) for dinner. That was the highlight of my day because I had barely eaten anything and was absolutely starving.

Following that, we had a team meeting in the lobby of the hotel. About half of the Team USA skaters here competed at the same JGP as me last year in Torun, Poland, so it's nice to be reunited with those people. It's also fun getting to know the skaters that I have never traveled with before.

After our meeting, Kevin and I went to the gym to get our legs moving a little bit after a long day of travel. I am now completely exhausted and ready for bed. I can't wait to write tomorrow after my first day of practice!