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Sheikh, Carriere, Young earn titles at collegiates

Kentuckian rallies in free skate to win crown; Former world junior champ buries field by 62 points

Farah Sheikh brought the U.S. Collegiate senior ladies title back to Lexington, Ky.
Farah Sheikh brought the U.S. Collegiate senior ladies title back to Lexington, Ky. (Rob Ambrosius)

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By Brenda Glidewell, special to icenetwork.com
(08/04/2013) - Three new champions were crowned Saturday at the 2013 U.S. Collegiate Figure Skating Championships in De Pere, Wis.

Senior ladies free skate

Skating 19th and setting the score to beat for those to follow was the leader following the short program, Farah Sheikh of the University of Kentucky. Sheikh skated a program to the music of Carmen that included a double Lutz-double toe-double loop combination, a securely landed double Axel, a huge double loop, a double Axel-double toe and spins that earned Level 4.

"I am pleased with how I did and that I fought through the entire program," said Sheikh, who earned a total score of 113.29 and the senior ladies title. "I committed to everything I did and enjoyed each moment of my program."

Following Sheikh and skating to the music from Oblivion was University of Marquette sophomore Ola Czyzewski. Czyzewski, in fifth place entering the free skate, commanded the ice and group by winning the free skate portion and securing the silver medal with a total score of 112.69.

Highlights of Czyzewski's routine include a huge double Axel, double loop, Level 3 step sequence and Level 4 combination spin.

"My week at collegiates was such a fun experience. I did not expect to come here and medal but am so pleased with how I performed and that I was able to show my love for skating out there tonight," Czyzewski said. "I am looking forward to building on this experience at regionals."

University of Delaware freshman Courtney Taylor, the leader following the short program, secured the bronze medal with a total score of 111.15 for her well-choreographed Spartacus routine.

Earning the pewter medal with a combined score of 109.10 was Margaux Guysinger of the University of Michigan. Skating to the music from Gone with the Wind, Guysinger placed third in the free skate, securing her spot on the podium.

Senior men's free skate

Boston College's Stephen Carriere extended his commanding lead after the short program to capture the senior men's title. Performing to Don Quixote, Carriere amassed a total score of 202.56, more than 62 points ahead of his closest competitor.

He opened his program with a triple toe-double toe-double toe combination and followed that with a triple flip, triple Lutz-double toe, triple loop, triple Lutz and triple Salchow. His combination spins were demeed worthy of Level 3 and 4.

"I skated a solid program and redeemed my efforts in short," Carriere said. "It is nice to be ahead of where I was last season at this point and to have this program to build upon for the remainder of the season."

Sebastien Payannet, a sophomore at the University of Colorado-Boulder, finished the event with a total score of 140.31. Skating to "Rondo a Capriccio," Payannet landed a triple toe-double toe, triple flip-double toe and double Axel-double toe.

"I'm very pleased to skate so well in both programs and to really step up and be competitive at this event," Payannet said. "I am very happy that I completed my jumps, especially the triple flip and triple toe jump combinations."

Finishing third with 116.73 points was Macomb Community College freshman Daniel Palmeri. His free skate opened with a double Axel, which he followed with a triple Salchow-double toe combination and another triple Salchow.

"The program went well considering this event was my return to competitive skating after a six-year hiatus," Palmeri said. "I thoroughly enjoyed my first collegiate championships!"

Junior ladies free skate

Entering both her first year of college and her first U.S. Collegiate Figure Skating Championships, incoming freshman Kaitlyn Young of Northwestern University dazzled the crowd and judges alike en route to winning the junior ladies title in convincing fashion.

Young's program to the music from Les Misérables contained two huge double Axels, a Level 4 combination spin, and a flying sit spin and combination spin that both earned Level 3. Her performance sprung her from second place following short to first overall with a total score of 99.62.

A year ago, Young attended the event as a spectator to watch her older sister, Jessica, compete. On Saturday, Jessica was in the crowd, supporting Kaitlyn from the sidelines.

"I am very pleased with how I skated," Young said. "The score was a personal best for me, and to have my sister here, cheering me on, was so great."

Representing the University of Vermont, Flora Su skated a beautiful, flowing program to the music of Rachmaninoff to finish in second place, with a total score of 91.87. Su's program included two solid double Lutzes, a layback that earned a Level 4 and a Level 3 step sequence.

Rallying from fourth in the short program to place second in the free skate and take the bronze was Gillian Gonzalez, a kinesiology major at Houston Baptist University. She skated to a medley from Le Rêve and earned a total score of 86.91. The highlight of her program were her spins, all of which garnered Level 3's.

Chrystal Chilcott, an English major at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, took home the pewter medal. Chilcott was in fifth place after the short program but placed fourth in the free skate to land on the podium.