Pratt and Gilles Win First Gold Medal of U.S. Championships

Trina Pratt and Todd Gilles

Improvisation helped Trina Pratt and Todd Gilles (Broadmoor SC) win the novice dance competition at the 2003 State Farm U.S. Figure Skating Championships at Reunion Arena in Dallas Monday.

The team missed a handhold during their artist-inspired free dance, which threw off the next part of their program.

"When we missed the hand hold, we had to interpret the next 10 seconds of our program," Gilles said. "But it worked out OK."

The team placed second in the first compulsory dance on Sunday, then came back to win the second compulsory and free dance. Their free dance was based on the film "Pollack" about painter Jackson Pollack. In the dance, Gilles plays the painter and Pratt the painting.

Pratt was in pain during the competition because of injuries she sustained in a car accident two weeks ago. She fell asleep driving to the rink one morning and her car went over a cliff. Amazingly, she sustained only minor injuries to her chest that required a few stitches.

Meghan McCullough (Washington FSC) and Joel Dear (Indiana World Skate Academy) placed second overall after skating a clean program. The program was a traditional waltz-foxtrot performed in the style of Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire.

A fall in the warm up broke their concentration, but the team felt it was still their best competition run through.

"We had a rough warm up, but I think we got our heads together," Dear said. "We took every element one at a time and tried to stay in the program."

While the team has only been together since June 2002, the chemistry they have on the ice is evident. Dear said he felt the team had chemistry from the beginning, but McCullough said she has still seen improvement.

"It's interesting to see how much we've come together in such a short time," McCullough said.

A fallen hairpiece caused problems for Shannon Wingle and James Warren (Detroit SC). Midway through their program Wingle's hairpiece fell onto the ice directly in the path of their skate. The team had to make immediate adjustments to avoid getting their skates caught in the cloth hairpiece.

"We had the little mishap with Shannon's hairpiece, but we were very pleased with our skate," Warren said.

The team portrayed clowns during their swing-blues program, which included three lifts, a fast start and fast end.

After completing their competition, Wingle said she looked forward to enjoying the rest of the competitions.

"I'm happy it's over," she said. "I like to perform, but now I can relax and enjoyed everything."