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Future stars descend on Salt Lake City

U.S. Junior Championships set to kick off

Carly Powers and David Powers in action.
Carly Powers and David Powers in action. (5marks.com)

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(11/27/2007) - Nearly 400 U.S. figure skaters will descend on Salt Lake City, Utah, Nov. 26-Dec. 1 for the 2008 U.S. Junior Figure Skating Championships.

This annual event crowns the U.S. champion in ladies, men's, pairs and ice dancing in the first two levels of the U.S. Figure Skating competitive structure: juvenile and intermediate. The remaining three levels - novice, junior and senior - will compete at the 2008 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Saint Paul, Minn., Jan. 20-27, 2008.

Skaters qualified for the U.S. Junior Championships by finishing in the top four at one of nine regional championships held throughout the country earlier this fall. The competition, formerly known as the U.S. Junior Olympic Figure Skating Championships, has served as a stepping stone for many elite athletes to success on the senior level.

Past champions of the event include two-time World bronze medalist and reigning U.S. champion Evan Lysacek 2006 World Junior bronze medalist Christine Zukowski , 2007 U.S. bronze medalist ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White and 12-time international team member Derrick Delmore .

The 2008 U.S. Junior Championships will be held at the Salt Lake City Sports Complex. The facility has two Olympic-sized ice surfaces. County Ice Center skating rink, in nearby Murray, Utah, will be used for unofficial practices. The qualifying rounds will take place Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 28-29, while competition will conclude with the final rounds Friday and Saturday, Nov. 30-Dec. 1.

Top competitors to watch in Salt Lake include all four of the 2007 U.S. juvenile champions who have moved up to the intermediate level. Reigning U.S. junior champion Nina Jiang is hoping for a repeat of last year's success in the ladies competition. Among the top men's contenders is Jason Brown, who finished first at the Upper Great Lakes Regional Championships. Siblings Carly Powers and David Powers are looking to improve on their second-place finish at the Midwestern Sectional Championships. Rounding out last year's juvenile champions are ice dancers Joylyn Yang and Jean-Luc Baker.