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Zhou crushes senior ladies at U.S. Collegiates

Skater wins by more than 17 points

Karen Zhou won the senior ladies title at the 2010 U.S. Collegiate Championships.
Karen Zhou won the senior ladies title at the 2010 U.S. Collegiate Championships. (Hoffman Photography)

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By Brenda Gildewell, special to icenetwork.com
(08/17/2010) - After a third day of history-making competition in Lansing, Mich., the U.S. Collegiate senior ladies medalists were crowned.

While there was quite a bit of movement in the placements overall, Karen Zhou maintained her strong lead following the short program to secure her win by a comfortable margin.

Skating 34th and setting the score to beat was Brittney Rizo. Rizo skated a wonderfully clean program that opened with a triple Salchow, followed by a huge triple Salchow-double toe, single Axel, triple toe-double toe and nice triple toe-loop.

"This competition was so much fun and so different than the usual competitions. I have enjoyed meeting so many people and making so many new friends," said Rizo. "My short program was a disaster, I was so much happier with how I skated in my long and I am so excited to have finished second." Following her disappointing ninth place finish in short, Rizo earned 82.05 for her free skate and a combined total of 117.74 in route to the silver medal.

Skating first in the last group was the second place finisher in the short program, Chelsea Morrow of Grand Rapid Community College. Her "Tango" program was a "rough skate" according to Morrow, but "included a lot of elements and choreography that was much improved from her previous competitions this season." Morrow opened her routine with a clean triple toe-double toe-double toe combination and then continued with a double Lutz and Level 4 combination spin. She doubled her planned triple Salchow and triple toe-loops at the end of her program, finishing with a strong combination spin and wonderful choreography. Morrow was pleased to share this fun competition with her coach and looks forward to competing at Regionals.

Following Morrow was Dartmouth College student Christina-Maria Sperduto who was in third following the short program. Sperduto performed a well choreographed routine to the music from Slumdog Millionaire. Despite her feeling that "the program did not go as planned," she was still pleased with her levels on her spins and that she remained positive throughout the entire performance. Her coach Ben Miller said that he "was pleased with her performance in both the short and long." He also remarked that he "really enjoyed this competition with her," saying they "had a lot of fun during the event and especially enjoyed the relaxed competitive atmosphere."

Zhou led by nearly seven points heading into the free skate. She captivated the audience with her commanding free skate to "Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence." Zhou said she "was pleased with her skate, but disappointed she did not complete the double toe-loop as planned in the triple Lutz combination."

Her free skate opened with a huge triple flip, nice double Axel and high triple Lutz jump. She also landed a second triple flip in sequence, double Axel-double toe combination and solid triple Salchow, Level 4 spins and beautiful choreography earning her a segment score of 88.45 and a total combined score of 135.04.

The senior men's and senior ladies champions were each presented with the Collegiate Championship Award by Chief Referee, Heather Nemier. Emanating from The Pioneer Fund, this year's winners were honored to be the first to each receive a $5,000 Collegiate Championship Award.