Secret's out: Fields, Pacini snag junior pairs crown

Shaughnessy, Morgan post top free skate score, bring home silver

Caitlin Fields and Jason Pacini had enough cushion to hold on in the junior pairs contest.
Caitlin Fields and Jason Pacini had enough cushion to hold on in the junior pairs contest. (Jay Adeff)


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By Mimi Whetstone, special to
(09/16/2012) - Caitlin Fields and Jason Pacini earned junior pairs gold at the 2012 U.S. Challenge Skate on Sunday, despite finishing second in the free skate.

"We had a very strong beginning, and then we made a few mistakes," Fields said. "Overall, I think it was a good performance."

Fields and Pacini completed a nearly clean program to "Beethoven's 5 Secrets," but a trip from Fields cost them the lead in the free skate segment.

"I think they got through the program nicely," coach Doug Ladret said. "There was a little mistake on a double Salchow, but I'm really happy with how they look at this point in the season."

Fields and Pacini had a 10-point lead heading into Sunday's event and earned a combined score of 115.24 points, which was good enough to keep them in first place.

Segment winners Alexandria Shaughnessy and James Morgan earned 74.59 points for their free skate, passionately performed to music from the Evita soundtrack.

"It felt great," Shaughnessy said. "We went out there; we related to each other and took it one element at a time."

Shaughnessy and Morgan finished the event in second place with a combined score of 110.30 points.

"I'm so proud," coach Carrie Wall said. "They had a great skate, and I couldn't have wanted them to do any better than they did. I'm looking forward to watching these two develop over the rest of the season. They definitely have a little something special between them."

Bronze went to Cali Fujimoto and Nick Barsi-Ryhne, who are competing for the second time since Fujimoto suffered a broken ankle earlier this year.

"I broke it between spring and early summer," Fujimoto said. "I think it was from all the impact of practicing triple throws. I can definitely feel it today. It hurts, but I pushed through it."

The duo executed a classical free skate to the music of Swan Lake, earning a segment score of 56.97 points.

"This is actually our second year using this music, but it's all new choreography this season," Fujimoto said. "It feels like a new program for us."

Fujimoto and Barsi-Rhyne, who train under coach Tracy Prussack in San Jose, Calif., admittedly felt Salt Lake City's altitude during their performance and finished the event in third place with a total score of 91.98 points.

"I got a little tired toward the end of our program, but I think it's just motivation to work harder," Barsi-Rhyne said. "Now we know what we need to work on."