Triple Lutz Is The Key For Novice Men's Leaders at State Farm U.S. Championships

by Laura Fawcett
Adam Rippon,
photo by Michelle Harvath

Novice Men's Short Program Results

Novice Men's Short Program Photos

All Event Results and Photos

(1/9/05) Adam Rippon (University of Delaware FSC) nailed his first-ever triple Lutz-double toe in competition to take the lead in the novice men's event Sunday at the 2005 State Farm U.S. Championships in Portland, Ore.

The 15-year-old skated to Saint-Saens' "Rondo Capriccioso" and picked up four first-place ordinals in the short program. Rippon's beautiful triple Lutz combination was a highlight of his difficult program. Although he mastered the triple Lutz around the time of the Eastern Sectional in November 2004, he said it wasn't consistent enough to add it into his program at the time. He still won the sectional title without it, but the addition of the triple Lutz makes him an even more formidable competitor. Rippon said he and his coach made the decision to include the triple Lutz after learning his draw order for the short program.

"We we're going to wait until we saw what the others did," Rippon said, "but because of the order, we just decided to put it in."

Rippon skated fourth in the 12-man field and also included a double Axel and double loop. His spins included one he called "the Sandhu" after Canadian champion Emanuel Sandhu who also performs it.

Second place went to William Brewster of the Detroit Skating Club. Brewster also hit the triple Lutz-double toe combination and a double loop, but he had a slight turnout on the double Axel. His music "Funicula, Funicula" holds special meaning for Brewster's coach, Mitch Moyer.

"I found the music 10-15 years ago, and I held on to it until I found someone who could really do it," Moyer said. "He's very lyrical."

Brewster, already a two-time U.S. champion (juvenile in 2002 and intermediate in 2003) plays the viola in the Oakland Youth Orchestra and also spends time off-ice in ballet classes. This is his second year skating at the novice level in the U.S. Championships; last year he finished sixth. Brewster's difficult spins are a result of the new judging system even though the U.S. Championships are using the traditional 6.0 system. Moyer and Brewster created the spins, with changes of edges, to reflect the criteria in the new system.

"It (the new judging system) is the new wave of where we're going," Moyer said. "We try to look at things three years down the road."

Austin Kanallakan (All Year FSC) used a cowboy-themed program to skate his way to third place, collecting three first-place ordinals in the process. The 13-year-old hit all his jumps but did a triple toe-double toe instead of the more difficult triple Lutz-double toe performed by Rippon and Brewster. Although Kanallakan can do the triple Lutz, he said he and his coach Tammy Gambill decided to play it safe with the triple toe instead. This is his first trip to "big Nationals" he finished second at the U.S. Junior Championships as a juvenile in 2001. Last year, he just missed qualifying as a novice by finishing fifth at the Pacific Coast Sectional.

"I'm a little more confident this year," he said.

Richard Dornbush, also of the All Year FSC, is in fourth.

The novice men's event concludes Monday with the free skate at 11:30 a.m. Pacific time.