Taylor and Meissner Are One-Two in Junior Ladiesby Sal Zanca, U.S. Figure Skating Online
Photo by Paul Harvath
Difficulty in the short program was rewarded as Meissner and Taylor were the only competitiors who attempted - and completed - triple flips.
Both had marks ranging from 4.6 to 5.0 for required elements and presentation scores around 5.0 with highs of 5.3. Taylor and Meissner both attempted triple Lutz combinations and had trouble. Taylor's triple Lutz was fine, but she underrotated and two-footed the second jump.
"I had to hold on to the landing and went on to the toe as fast as I could," Taylor said.
Yet her program to a medley of Irish music was light and lively. The step work had hints of "Riverdance" in it.
"I had Spanish music at the beginning of the year, but I have always wanted to skate to an Irish or Russian piece of music," said Taylor, 14. "My coach found this Irish music and I really liked it."
Meissner's problems with the triple Lutz were more extensive as she fell on the jump attempt. But the rest of the program was good enough to keep her in second.
"I got a little back and rushed a little," said Meissner, 14, of her triple Lutz attempt.
A number of other skaters had clean programs, but those programs didn't have the difficulty of Taylor's and Meissner's programs.
Meissner, who plans seven triples in the free skate, has made a big jump from seventh in intermediate regionals in 2002 to becoming the U.S. novice champion a year later.
"It was a lot of hard work and doing the programs a little different," Meissner said of the successful transition. "It was more focused work."
She had a bye to the U.S. Championships this year because of her Junior Grand Prix assignments (she was fifth at the JGP Final). Taylor qualified for the U.S. Championships by winning Midwestern Sectionals.
Julian Burns (Capital City FSC) finally made it to the U.S. Championships after having a bad break - literally - while skating.
"In novice in 2002 I qualified [for the U.S. Championships] but broke my arm and had to withdraw," Burns said. "About three days before I was supposed to leave I just tripped while I was stroking to warm up. I put out my arm to brace myself because I was sliding into the wall and it just snapped. It was a weird angle."
But Burns said there was a silver lining to the injury.
"I think the break actually helped me," she said. "I had to take a month and a half off. I just had to start over again and I had to get my jumps back. I was more motivated."
The junior ladies free skate is Saturday at 9:10 a.m. at Philips Arena