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Nguyen sizes up competition, takes juvenile gold

California skater first to skate, first to finish in juvenile girls

Caitlyn Nguyen held off Tessa Hong in the juvenile girls competition by 1.6 points.
Caitlyn Nguyen held off Tessa Hong in the juvenile girls competition by 1.6 points. (TSS Photography)

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By Julia Nagy, special to icenetwork.com
(12/14/2011) - Dressed in pink and black, Caitlin Nguyen skated first and finished first, winning gold in the juvenile girls at the U.S. Junior Championships. The routine, which contained a double Axel and a double Lutz-double loop combination, received a score of 49.65 points.

"When I landed my two double Axels, I felt happy," Nguyen, from All Year FSC, said. "I'm proud of it."

Coach Tammy Gambill was only able to view half of Nguyen's performance and said she was proud of how Nguyen skated.

"She's been really pushing hard," Gambill said. "What I saw, I was very happy with."

Gambill has been trying to have Nguyen skate "bigger than her size" and thought Nguyen did just that today.

"I was excited," Gambill said. "I thought it was a good score and I knew there were a lot of great skaters in this group."

As "Beethoven's Symphony No. 5" played, Tessa Hong from Los Angeles FSC skated into second place with a score of 48.05 points. Coach Peter Oppegard said Hong's speed and spins helped her earn the placement.

"I thought it was absolutely fantastic," Oppegard said. "I'm really proud."

With arms outstretched and a wide grin, Hong glided across the ice in her red dress. Oppegard said Hong is a focused skater but also wanted to show the judges she's having fun while on the ice.

"I've been working on my presentation," Hong said. "It felt really great."

Finishing in third was Ashlee Raymond from the Dallas FSC with a score of 45.46 points. Raymond performed her program to "Sing, Sing, Sing," the famous jazz number by Benny Goodman. The program included double jump combos.

"I did my best," Raymond said. "Once I know I did my best, my results don't matter at all."

Aurora Abraham from Palm Beach FSC came in fourth place with a score of 45.27 points.