Chase 'Golden' in championship gold ladies

Finn checks in with silver; Scieszinski spins into third

Longtime competitor Elizabeth Chase earned her first gold at the U.S. Adult Championships.
Longtime competitor Elizabeth Chase earned her first gold at the U.S. Adult Championships. (Matt Parat)


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By Andy Schell, special to
(04/14/2012) - The field in the championship adult gold ladies event at the 2012 U.S. Adult Figure Skating Championships consisted of veterans and newcomers, and it was one of the former, Elizabeth Chase, who floated to the top with her sublime performance to On Golden Pond.

Skating with grace, poise and spirit, Chase gave a sense of calm to the audience members that made them smile almost as much as she was smiling herself.

"My inspiration was the loons floating over the pond," she said. "I just wanted to be connected to the music, to float."

The All Year Figure Skating Club competitor's smooth Axel jumps, springy combinations and perfectly centered spins were most definitely "at one" with the music. Her total segment score of 32.77 gave her her first championship in 12 years at this event.

The silver medal went to Elizabeth Finn of the Sycamore ISC. Skating to "Elizabeth Taylor in London," she opened with a huge Axel and then landed an even bigger double Salchow. The cheers from the audience were as big as her jumps, but Finn skated with such control and presentation that she was not unnerved.

Her coach is Marie Millikan, who competed for Czechoslovakia at the 1968 Olympic Winter Games.

"I always check my jumps because my coach is Czech," Finn said, laughing.

Her first U.S. Adult Championships was in 2007 in the same arena, and Finn hadn't medaled at the event since 2008.

Taking the bronze medal was Jessica Scieszinski, another competitor from the All Year Figure Skating Club. Looking polished and poised, Jessica opened with a solid Axel-toe loop-loop sequence, and her layback spin earned a rousing applause. Skating to Paul Mauriat's "Les Guitares," this was Scieszinski's first medal in three tries in the championship adult gold ladies event.

"My goal was to skate a clean program," Szieszinski said. "I truly wasn't concerned with placement, but I'm really happy because this was a personal best."

Only 0.02 points behind Scieszinski was Heather Hilgar, from the University of Delaware FSC. Smooth and lovely, with deep knees, Hilgar's spins were some of the best in the event, and they helped to earn her the pewter medal.