Erica Archambault Wins Junior Ladies Gold

Erica Archambault

Erica Archambault (SC of Boston), the 2003 U.S. junior ladies champion, landed four triples in her free skate to "Madame Butterfly," but she also skated with grace and musicality and had other strong elements.

"We wanted her to do what she could and do it well," said Archambault's coach, Mark Mitchell. "She skated like she pretty much does in practice every day."

Archambault said she wasn't nervous at all when she took the ice. She completed a triple loop, triple Salchow, a triple toe and another triple Salchow in combination with a double toe. She had only two first-place ordinals but won on the strength of her six second-place ordinals. She plans to move up to the senior level next year.

Silver medalist Natalie Mecher (Wagon Wheel Figure SC)skated her elements with caution but she did land a triple Lutz for the first time in competition.

"I am just very excited about landing my triple Lutz today," Mecher said. "I didn't really expect anything else."

She trains with Alexander Ourishev, who choreographed her Led Zeppelin medley along with Robert Peal. She used three songs - "When the Levee Breaks," "Stairway to Heaven" and "All My Love."

Mecher had four first-place ordinals, one second-place and four third-place scores. 

"This has been a rough year for me, trying to balance everything with high school and skating," she said. "I'm up to midnight every night studying after skating."

Danielle Kahle (All Year FSC), the 2002 U.S. novice ladies champion, pulled up from seventh place in the short program to third overall with a strong free skate to "Concerto for Piano and Orchestra." Her music selections were chosen by her choreographer Henrick Valentin.  

"Today felt really good and I have been skating good long programs all season," Kahle said. "It was my goal to skate a nice, clean long and I was hoping to pull up to the top three."

In the free skate Kahle completed six triples - a triple flip, triple toe, triple toe in combination, triple loop, triple Lutz, and a triple Salchow in combination. Kahle changed coaches last summer to help her make the transition from novice to junior. She now trains with Frank Carroll and Ken Congemi.

The pewter medal went to Alexandra Patterson (St. Claire Shores FSC). Third in the short program, Adriana DeSanctis had a frustrating free skate, falling on her triple Lutz, popping her triple Salchow and falling on a triple toe. She finished sixth. 

by Marge Reynolds