Mecher on Track to Win Third Straight U.S. Medal

Natalie Mecher

The junior ladies short program immediately followed the junior men's competition at Reunion Arena as the competition got back on schedule after an ice delay prior to men's short program.

Natalie Mecher (Wagon Wheel FSC), the 2002 U.S. novice silver medalist, won this stage, taking five first-place ordinals, three second-place and one third place. Mecher has a string of medal-winning performances, having also won the 2001 U.S. intermediate title.

"My goal coming here was to have a good landing on my triple flip," she said.

She succeeded in doing that in her program to "Kismet" by the Swedish group Bond and added a double Lutz. She had a bye to the U.S. Championships after she pulled a muscle in her right leg during a practice at the Midwestern Sectional. She will be skating to a Led Zeppelin medley for her free skate on Friday as both her parents are Led Zeppelin fans. She plans to do five triples.

Erica Archambault (SC of Boston) has been training with Mark Mitchell and Peter Johansson since last February. She placed second in the short program, taking four first-place ordinals with her "Reverie" program.

"It felt really great out there today," Archambault said.

She executed a triple Salchow-double toe combination and added a distinctive position on her layback spin.

"Feel free to suggest a name for her [spin variation]," Mitchell said.

Adriana DeSanctis (Glissad Academy at Ice Land) placed third. Her program to "Korobuskad" was choreographed by Caroline Musse. She missed the 2003 Eastern Sectional due to shin splits, withdrawing after the short program.

"I am really pleased with my performance today," DeSanctis said. "There were a lot of great competitors out there."

She opened strong with a triple Lutz, a jump she has had for the past three years. She had a slight mistake on her combination, the triple Salchow-double toe loop, putting her foot down on the second jump.

Alexandra Patterson, the 2003 Midwestern Sectional champion and member of the St. Clair Shores Club in Michigan, currently sits in fourth place after skating clean to Yo Yo Ma's "Soul of the Tango."

The junior ladies final takes place Friday, Jan. 17 at 11:30 a.m. at Reunion Arena.