Ice Network

Newly minted Hom, Jerosch take novice pairs lead

Brother-sister duo Mokhova, Mokhov slot second; Fendi siblings land third
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Jade Hom and Franz-Peter Jerosch, who compete out of the Skate Pairs program in Boxborough, Massachusetts, took first place in the short with a segment total of 46.67. -Jay Adeff

Jade Hom and Franz-Peter Jerosch have only skated together for seven months, which is precisely the sum total of Hom's experience in the pairs discipline. Despite their lack of experience, the pair handled themselves like veterans on Monday night in San Jose, beating out 12 other teams to take a near three-point lead after the novice pairs short program.

The skaters, who train in Boxborough, Massachusetts, under Bobby Martin and Carrie Wall, showed good speed and flow throughout their short to an instrumental version of One Direction's "The Story of My Life," choreographed by Sheryl Franks. They landed a fine double twist and throw double loop, and although Hom stepped out of the double lutz, ended with a strong death spiral, with Hom in an exceptionally low position. All told, they notched 46.67 points.

"It was awesome. The whole time, we really enjoyed it," Jerosch, 16, said. "We really went out and attacked it. That was our goal, and we achieved it."

"We worked on the steps and flow a lot," Hom, 14, added. "There were ups and downs with the program, but this felt great."

Martin, who coached two-time U.S. pair champions Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir, thinks his new team has what it takes to go the distance.

"Jade is new to pairs, and they are a wonderful match," he said. "Franz has been with us for a long time. I can really see this pair sticking and lasting for a significant time."

"She's very coachable, and the kids have a good connection together both on and off the ice," Wall added.

Siblings Masha Mokhova and Ivan Mokhov, who hail from Lansing, Michigan, sit second with 43.70 points after showing a difficult lift with many changes of position, as well as a high double twist in their short to music from Zorba the Greek.

"Our main goal was to skate clean and we accomplished that," Ivan, 18, said. "This is our best score yet."

"I was ready with the scores no matter what we got," Masha, 11, said. "I was very happy I landed everything."

Their skating is a true family affair: their parents, Andrey Mokhov and Oksana Yakusheva, former performers with Disney on Ice and Russian All-Stars, are their coaches. Ivan has competed at the U.S. championships with other partners, but says this time around is special.

"I skate for her, and she skates for me, we're working as one big machine," he said. "I'm always trying to be the big brother."

"And I'm always trying to help him," Masha added. "We skate for each other."

Another brother-and-sister duo, Jasmine Fendi and Joshua Fendi, took third place with a near-clean short to the lyrical "Charms" that notched 41.30 points. The Los Angeles-based team, coached by Peter Oppegard, overcame Joshua's flu-like illness to land the strongest throw double loop of the event, as well as Level 4 steps and pairs spin.

"I really like the step sequence in the program. I was really able to connect with Joshua," said Jasmine.

"Sometimes, you have to skate when you're sick," Oppegard said. "They held it together well."

Hillary Asher and Nathaniel Dennler, who train in Texas under Peter and Darlene Cain, sit fourth with 41.19 points.