Novice Ladies Take Center Stage in Dallas

Kimberly Meissner

A solid program with lots of speed vaulted Kimberly Meissner (University of Delaware FSC) into first place after the novice ladies short program at the 2003 State Farm U.S. Figure Skating Championships at Reunion Arena in Dallas. The ladies finished the finished the first day of competition, and they performed in front of an enthusiastic crowd of about 3,200.

"Being in first place makes me more excited about the long program," said Meissner, who skated last and landed a triple Salchow-double toe combination, double Axel and double Lutz. "Now I feel better [about the free skate]."

For the free skate, Meissner is planning a triple Lutz, as well as a double Axel.

A nice spiral sequence accented the program of second-place finisher Brianna Perry (Colonial FSC). Perry said she thought she could place well going into the competition.

"I had fun out there," she said. "I thought that if I focused on my skating and did my best, I could do well."

In the free skate, Perry will skate to music from "The Man in the Iron Mask," and promised lots of footwork for the program, just like Alexei Yagudin's Olympic gold medal-winning free skate to the same music.

The nice spins that defined third-place finisher Jessica Houston's (The SC of Boston) program don't come easy, according to coach Mark Mitchell.

"We have to force her to work on the spins, but she does them, and the hard work pays off," Mitchell said.

The novice ladies free skate is Monday, Jan. 13, at 4:40 p.m. (Central Time).