Defending Champs Take the Lead After Pairs Short

by Sal Zanca, Special to U.S. Figure Skating Online
Tiffany Scott and Philip Dulebohn
Photo by Michelle Harvath

All Event Results/Photos/Starting Orders

Senior Pairs Short Program Results

Senior Pairs Short Program Photos

Philip Dulebohn Press Conference Video

(1/7/04) — With all the top couples making mistakes, it came down to the best presentation scores, and defending champions Tiffany Scott (Colonial FSC) and Philip Dulebohn (University of Delaware FSC) were the best in that area to take the lead in the senior pairs event.

Rena Inoue  and  John Baldwin (All Year FSC), and Katie Orscher (SC of Hartford) and Garrett Lucash (Charter Oak FSC) were right on their heels. All three couples knew they could do better.

"We are a little disappointed with how we did," Dulebohn said. "We let ourselves down, and we let other people down. But I really think we are prepared for this competition, and I think we can do a much better job."

Scott went down on their side-by-side triple toes, while Dulebohn had to put his hand down to keep from falling. Still, they scored the best presentation marks of 5.5 to 5.7. Combined with the technical marks of 5.1 and 5.2 that was enough to give them seven of nine first-place marks for their routine to music by Bizet.

"It wasn't our best performance," Dulebohn said. "We had a hard time out there compared to practice. I think we could just take this experience and relax a little bit more and trust what we do."

He said they felt a little nervous after winning last year.

"I think we do feel a little more pressure trying to repeat as champions," Dulebohn said. "You have that expectation that nothing will be acceptable except first place. After tonight we have to relax and enjoy our skating and do what we do in practice."

Inoue and Baldwin also felt the burden of expectations in a different way.

"What we did in the short program was we took it for granted because we are very consistent on this short in practice every day," Baldwin said. "Believe it or not maybe we got a little too loose out there."

Inoue fell down hard on her throw triple loop and Baldwin struggled on the triple toe.

As Baldwin said, surprises often happen.

"If they happen they tend to happen in competition," he said. "So you just keep skating and getting more and more experience, and hopefully you work that out."

Inoue and Baldwin had two first-place marks for their upbeat routine to "The Cotton Club," with scores ranging from 5.0-5.3 for required elements and 5.3-5.6 for presentation.

Orscher and Lucash skated a blues program dressed in leather outfits. He stepped out of his triple toe loop.

Jennifer Don (Texas Gulf Coast FSC) and Jonathon Hunt (University of Delaware FSC) were fourth. Their side-by-side triple toes were beautiful, but she fell on an attempt at a difficult throw triple flip.

Laura Handy and Jeremy Allen (University of Delaware FSC) were fifth with a relatively clean program.

The free skate is set for Friday, Jan. 9, at 4:50 p.m.