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Kanallakan Captures Novice Men's Titleby Michelle Wojdyla
|Austin Kanallakan at the 2005 State Farm U.S. Figure Skating Championships|
photo by Paul Harvath
(1/10/05) - Though the music selections used by the top skaters in the novice men's competition are familiar to skating fans — “Gladiator,” “Don Quixote” and “Gettysburg” — these young champions provided their own unique stamp en route to the medal podium at the 2005 State Farm U.S. Figure Skating Championships.
Austin Kanallakan (All Year FSC) captured seven of the nine first-place ordinals with his powerful rendition of “Gladiator.” It was a passionate three-and-a-half minutes that featured three combinations: a Lutz-double toe, triple toe-double toe, and triple Salchow-double toe. His triple loop had textbook checkout and his triple toe perfectly accented the beat in the music.
Of course, to win a national championship a skater needs more than just jumps. A wild death drop into a well-centered combination spin and straight-line footwork punctuated by a hitch kick were two of the highlights of this packed program choreographed by Phillip Mills. Kanallakan went full-out, attacking and conquering each element, save for a doubled flip that was intended to be a triple. Despite his success, Kanallakan does not consider this his best performance, claiming the program at the Pacific Coast Sectional Figure Skating Championships to be superior.
In fact, winning the gold came as a surprise to the modest Kanallakan.
“All I came here for was to place in the top six,” he said.
Adam Rippon (University of Delaware FSC) placed second in the free and second overall with his “Don Quixote” program choreographed by his coach, Yelena Sergeeva. Rippon's “in betweens” were striking, with excellent edge work into both his elements and connecting moves in the field. A spread eagle into triple toe and multiple changes into a triple loop stood out as first rate. Tight air position on his triple Lutz-double toe showed control early in the performance. His spins were fast with many changes of position, including a flying camel with a hop into the sit spin. A fall on the triple Salchow after the three-minute mark of the program was the only major error.
The influence of the ISU new judging system is apparent in the young skaters.
“I think with the new judging system, (spins) get to be more important,” Rippon said. “So I'll have to start working on a change of edge.”
Rippon looks forward to moving up for next season.
“I hope to be back at nationals next year as a junior,” he said.
Winning the bronze was William Brewster (Detroit SC). Brewster was fourth in the free skate, but finished third overall thanks to a second-place placement in the short program. Skating to the music “Gettysburg” the redhead struggled on a couple of jumps, falling on the triple flip and triple Lutz. His opening triple Lutz-double toe had great spring, and his double Axel later in the program simply floated. Buttery smooth skating highlighted the slow section of the music, and Brewster showed he knows how to move his arms and make them an integral part of the package.
“I thought it could have been better,” Brewster said. “But it's been a pretty good competition for me.”
Fourth place went to Eliot Halverson (St. Paul FSC), who jumped up to fourth overall with a third-place finish in the free skate. He was eighth after the short program.