Hsu leads senior ladies after short program

Hochstein the lone senior men's competitor

Alicia Hsu holds a slim lead over the senior ladies field after the short.
Alicia Hsu holds a slim lead over the senior ladies field after the short. (courtesy of Todd Conley Photography)


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By Brenda Glidewell, special to
(07/27/2011) - The 2011 U.S. Collegiate Figure Skating Championships resumed Saturday morning with a group of 28 talented skaters competing in the senior ladies short program event.

With a narrow margin of only 1.62 points, first time Collegiate Championships competitor Alicia Hsu of Belmont University posted a combined score of 41.27 to take the lead. Hsu, skating to Spanish music, wore a bright orange and black dress and dazzled the crowd from start to finish with her smooth skating skills and elegant performance. Her short program included a clean double Axel, under-rotated triple flip, and edge error on the double Lutz-double toe combination. She received Level 4 of her flying sit, Level 4 on her combination spin and Level 3 on her step sequence and layback spin.

In reflection of her short program, Hsu said that "it was good, and I was without a coach for the first time, so I am really pleased with how it went!"

She also added that "Collegiate Championships is the most fun completion I have ever attended; it is very laid back and not full of pressure like other competitions." Hsu will be an incoming freshman, majoring in biology with a pre-allied health emphasis.

Skating to Lord of the Dance's "Lament" and finishing second with a combined score of 39.65 was Roxanna Schmidt of Miami University of Ohio. Schmidt will also be an incoming freshman and is majoring in zoology and pre-veterinary studies. Her short program contained superb choreography and speed, containing a nice double Axel, triple Salchow-triple toe combination and huge double flip jump (rotated with her arm over her head). She received Level 4 on her layback and Level 3 on her flying sit and step sequence and change foot combination spin.

Schmidt said that she felt like "she skated really well and was proud of her performance." She also said that "it was great to meet some skaters that will also be attending Miami of Ohio and share this fun competition with them!"

Morgan Bell of Front Range Community College sits in third place with a score of 38.41, following the short program in which she completed an awesome double Axel, solid double toe-double toe combination and fast spins. Bell's program set to "Assassin's Tango" from Mr. & Mrs. Smith was beautifully choreographed and flowed across the ice, entertaining the audience and judges alike. Bell said she was "a little disappointed with her short because I was hitting triple toe-triple toe all week, but missed in in the program. I think I got ahead of myself and in my own way a bit out there." Despite the errors, Bell said she has "enjoyed Collegiates so far and has really loved skating outdoors for practice."

Junior ladies free skate program recap
The junior ladies were next to take the ice for their free skate and on the second day of competition in Sun Valley, three new U.S. Collegiate junior ladies medalists were crowned; with two of which being from Dartmouth College. All in all, there was not too much movement in the top three places in route to the podium. Kirsten Seagers, of Dartmouth College (second in short program) skated strong and earned a total score of 103,71; narrowly edging out Caroline Knoop (leader after the short program) by a margin of 1.06 for the junior ladies title.

During her "Exotica" and "Cirque du Soleil" music combination showcasing her speed and flow across the ice, Seagers completed a nice triple Salchow, double flip, solid triple loop, Level 4 layback, Level 2 step sequence and Level 3 combination spin. In reflection of her performance Seagers said that she "savored every moment and was very proud to skate my best. It was nice to enjoy my time on the ice and to achieve my goal of landing triple loop in this program."

Also representing Dartmouth College, earning a total score of 102.65 and finishing in second place was Caroline Knoop. Knoop skated beautifully to "Grand Canyon Sunrise." Her long program included a double Axel-double toe combination, solid double flip-double toe combination, double Salchow, single Axel, double flip, double toe-double toe, beautiful spread eagle, Level 3 layback and Level 2 flying sit spin.

Knoop remarked that she "was happy with the program, although I got a bid ahead of myself at the end. I was pleased to have two solid performances at Collegiates and I am looking forward to competing in the intercollegiate competitions this fall for Dartmouth."

Katie Soraghan was in third place following the short program and skated well enough to hold onto the third place spot on the podium with a total score of 83.93. Soraghan said that "the program was not as good as I had hoped it would be, but I was glad to finish in the top five and have fun out there! I will use this experience to prepare for Regionals and look forward to the remainder of the season."

During her program, Soraghan landed a double Lutz-double toe (edge error on takeoff), single Axel, double flip, double toe, Level 2 layback spin and Level 2 step sequence.

Junior men short program recap
The next event to take the ice was the junior men short program with Adam Civiello of Scottsdale Community College skating first in the group of three. Civiello, a junior majoring economics, said that he "had a blast on the ice performing to music from the X-Files, although I felt a bit alone out there without my pair partner by my side." The short program was Civiello's first appearance at a qualifying competition in singles since 2008. All in all, Civiello was pleased that he successfully landed a nice double flip-double toe combination, solid double Lutz and stepped out the land on his double Axel, netting him a combined score of 32.66 and a third place finish.

Next up was Jason Pacini of Arizona State University. Pacini will be a junior in the fall, majoring in Physics and Journalism. Pacini finished second and earned a combined score of 33.31. Pacini said that "some parts of the program were interesting, but I am pleased with how his program went." He landed a solid double Axel, double Lutz and double Salchow-single toe combination during his short program set to the music of "Toccata" by Myleen Klass.

Last to skate was Austin Stephen, who plans to major in business and is an incoming freshman at Miami University of Ohio. Stephen skated a wonderfully choreographed routine to "10,000 BC", earning a combined score of 41.99. His program included a strong triple Salchow-double toe combination, a solid double Axel, and a Level 3 step sequence and combination spin.

Stephen felt "his performance was okay; despite feeling a bit shaky on some landings." It was the first time he had put it all together (jumps and spins) and felt it was a good start to the competition for him. He also remarked that the "the atmosphere at Collegiates is terrific and I especially enjoy talking with my fellow competitors about our experiences and upcoming progression from high school to college this fall."

Senior men short program recap
The senior men short program was the next event to take the ice, with defending champion, Grant Hochstein (Wayne State University) being the lone competitor due to a late withdrawal by DePaul University's Sean Marshinski. Hochstein's warm-up was quite impressive and included a solid triple Lutz-triple toe combination and a huge triple Axel.

Hochstein's short program, set to the music of "Clair de Lune" by Claude Debussy captivated the audience through with choreography and skating transitions that complimented his commanding, yet fluid ice presence. 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 fall on a huge triple Axel and a step out on the landing of the triple loop jump. His program showcased nice, level four spins and a level three step sequence, earning him a combined score of 64.02.

"I am somewhat pleased with how I skated, although it just didn't feel as if it cliqued out there today. I am proud of myself for skating through the entire program, but wished I would have hit the triple Axel. I look forward to my long program and landing what I missed today." Hochstein said. Hochstein, will be starting his fourth year of studies at Wayne State University and is majoring in Elementary Education and English, and is using this competition to prepare for the competitive season.

The junior men, senior ladies and senior men free skate will take place Sunday.