Strong international field heads to JGP Poland
World's best juniors battle for gold
|Victoria Sinitsina and Ruslan Zhiganshin will go for ice dance gold in Poland. (Getty Images)|
American Samantha Cesario, who won the junior title at 2010 Gardena Spring Trophy and placed fourth at 2010 JGP Romania, leads the American contingent. She is joined by 2011 U.S. junior silver medalist and 2011 Gardena Spring Trophy junior champion Lauren Dinh. Vying for medals will be 2011 Russian pewter medalist Julia Lipnitskaia, who is just 13 years old. Satoko Miyahara, who placed fourth at the 2011 Japanese Championships as a junior, will also be competing.
Joshua Farris is a Junior Grand Prix veteran, having placed first at the 2010 JGP Great Britain, second at the 2010 JGP Romania and sixth last year's JGP Final. Russian junior champion Artur Dimitriev, son of Olympic pairs skater Artur, Sr., placed second at the 2010 JGP Czech Republic and fourth at the 2010 JGP Germany. Also competing is reigning Japanese junior champion Ryuichi Kihara. Another skater to watch is Kihara's teammate, Shoma Uno, who placed fourth as a junior at the most recent Japanese Championships.
2011 U.S. novice champions Madeline Aaron and Max Settlage will make their international debut in Poland. Also competing are Russia's Ekaterina Petaikina and Maxim Kurduykov. Three-year veterans on the JGP circuit, the duo placed fourth at the season-opening event in Riga, Latvia. They have experience on their side as one of only a few teams who have competed on the JGP in prior seasons. Also representing Team USA are Britney Simpson and Matthew Blackmer. The pair teamed up in February after Simpson split with former partner Nathan Miller, with whom she competed in the 2010 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series.
Rachel Parsons and Michael Parsons, the 2011 U.S. novice champions, will make their JGP debut in Poland. The brother-sister duo is joined by podium mates Jessica Mancini and Tyler Brooks, who finished second to the Parsons at the 2011 U.S. Championships. Also aiming for gold is Russian ice dancing team Victoria Sinitsina and Ruslan Zhiganshin. The team earned three silver medals last season at JGP Austria, JGP Great Britain and the JGP Final. Also in the hunt for medals are Ukraine's Anastasia Galyeta and Alexei Shumski. The team placed second at 2010 JGP Romania and third at 2010 JGP Czech Republic.