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Barsanti, Hochstein out to early leads at Collegiates

2010 U.S. Collegiate Championships continue

Grant Hochstein leads after the senior men's short program.
Grant Hochstein leads after the senior men's short program. (Hoffman Photography)

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By Brenda Gildewell, special to icenetwork.com
(08/14/2010) - The 2010 U.S. Collegiate Figure Skating Championships began Friday evening with the short programs for junior ladies, junior men and senior men.

Nineteen junior ladies from eighteen different colleges entered the event, many whom will begin their freshman year within the next few weeks. Leah Barsanti of Washington University, St. Louis Missouri is a Drama major and will be a second year sophomore in the Fall. Barsanti performed an energetic program to the Who's "Quadrophenia" in which she opened her program with a nice double Lutz-double toe combination, went on to land a double loop rotating with her arms over her head and concluded her short program with a beautiful layback spin earning a total score of 31.18.

"I was really happy with how I skated and felt okay on the ice tonight," said Barsanti. "I am happiest when I get to perform in front of an audience, so tonight was a great experience for me and I am glad I skated well!"

Finishing in second place was Kaci Brandt from the University of Hartford with a score of 30.59. Kaci completed a solid double Axel in her program and remarked at how much fun she was having in her first U.S. Collegiate Figure Skating Championships. Bethany Bonenfant, a student of Schoolcraft Community College sits in third place with 29.45.

"I did well overall," said Bonenfant, of her performance. "My expression on the ice was much better than in previous competitions and I have really been enjoying the fun and relaxing atmosphere here this weekend."

The senior men's short program was the next event to take the ice, with a sizeable lead being claimed by Grant Hochstein. Hochstein didn't waste any time putting out his toughest elements as he opened his program with a solid triple Lutz-triple toe combination, followed by a huge double Axel and a triple flip that he stepped out of. He concluded his wonderfully choreographed Jules Massenet selection of music with a nicely executed combination spin, earning a score of 64.27.

"I am pleased with how I skated, as it was much better than at Skate Detroit in July, but I wish I would have held onto that triple flip." Hochstein said.

He is competing this weekend to prepare for his upcoming competitive events and really enjoying the relaxed competitive atmosphere.

Finishing in second place with a score of 57.50 was Curran Oi of MIT who completed a high double Axel and nice triple Lutz. Third place was claimed by William Brewster with a combined total score of 55.43 following his fast moving short program that included a clean triple Lutz-triple toe combination and a downgraded triple Axel.

Last to skate their short program Friday evening were the two junior men. Joey Millet of UCLA skated first following a great warm up, but made a couple errors of in his program that included missing the triple Lutz-double toe combination and falling on his triple loop. He did land a nice double Axel and earned a score of a 37.85. Skating second and finishing first with a score of 38.37 was Zachariah Szabo.

"I was pleased with how I skated and I am enjoying the relaxed competition setting here." Szabo is going to be a senior majoring in Photography at the University of Akron and is competing for the first time at the U.S. Collegiate Figure Skating Championships.

The junior ladies and men free skate will take place Saturday evening.