Orscher and Lucash In First Place After Pairs Short

by Michelle Wojdyla, Special to U.S. Figure Skating Online
Katie Orscher and Garrett Lucash
Photo by Michelle Harvath

Senior Pairs Short Program Results
Senior Pairs Short Program Photos
All Event Results, Photos, News and Video

(1/12/05) — The senior pairs event of the 2005 State Farm U.S. Figure Skating Championships began Wednesday night with the short program. Katie Orscher (SC of Hartford) and Garrett Lucash (Charter Oak FSC) captured first, Rena Inoue and John Baldwin (All Year FSC) second, and Marcy Hinzmann (Winterhurst FSC) and Aaron Parchem (Detroit SC) stand third.

Katie Orscher & Garrett Lucash started off their “Still Got the Blues” program with a strong double twist followed by clean side-by-side triple toes, an element with which Lucash has consistently struggled. The knowledgeable crowd in the arena roared when he landed it, but Lucash did not notice.

“I honestly wasn't thinking about it,” he said. “I was already in program mode when your focus is on the next move.”

The throw triple flip that followed was the only major error in the program. Orscher lost her landing edge and crashed to the ice. Their circular spiral sequence showed off improved height and extension of their free legs. A lasso tap lift with forward flip exit and the back inside death spiral from a shoot the duck entrance showed the influence of the new judging system's influence on transitions.

“The new judging system has made the elements we work on that much harder,” Lucash said.

“There's some things we could have done better,” Orscher said.

Five first-place ordinals and four seconds are the best they've done at the U.S. Championships.

“I'm happy with how we skated,” Lucash said. “We skated so much better than we did last year.”

Rena Inoue & John Baldwin's program to Salsoul's “Bird of Fire” was not their strongest outing. Baldwin doubled the opening side-by-side triple Lutz attempt. Inoue pitched forward on the throw triple loop, and the side-by-side spins lost unison before they were able to get back on track.

“I'm very proud of Rena,” Baldwin said, calling her triple Lutz as good as any lady's in the world.

Marcy Hinzmann & Aaron Parchem drew to skate first in the competition and started the competition off on a positive note. Their bluesy program to Pink Floyd's “Hey You” and “Fletcher Memorial,” choreographed by Parchem's wife, 1992 Olympian Zuzanna Szwed, showed their attention to the artistic side of the routine. The accents in the music were emphasized through strong, deep moves. Their technical merit included a throw triple loop, good unison on the side-by-side spins, and an overhead lift that went from a forward star to platter.

“I'm just thrilled with our performance tonight,” Hinzmann said. “We really gelled.”

“Sitting in third is a great surprise for me,” said Parchem, who, with former partner Stephanie Kalesavich, won the bronze medal in 2002. “We knew we had our work cut out for us. We were training short programs in May or April, so it's been a long season for us. We had to get going right away because I had to go away on my honeymoon.”

Rounding out the top six are Amada Evora (Southwest Florida FSC) and Mark Ladwig (Red River Valley FSC) in fourth, Jennifer Don (Texas Gulf Coast FSC) and Jonathan Hunt (University of Delaware FSC) in fifth after a bad fall on the throw triple Salchow, and 2003 U.S. pairs champions Tiffany Scott (Colonial FSC) and Philip Dulebohn (University of Delaware FSC) who had misses on both their side-by-side triple toes and the throw triple Salchow.

“In order for the team to be successful, you have to skate well together and we didn't do that tonight,” Dulebohn said. “I tried. I have no regrets. Tiffany did her best. I don't know what happened on her jump. You never know what you're going to get some times. You prepare and train as hard as you can and do it every single day but when it comes down to that moment you have to do it. It's do or die. Tonight it wasn't our night. There is no regrouping. I've been through this so many times. I know what to expect. I'm a little disappointed we aren't in that last warmup. I would just like to go out and nail a good long program and feel good about what I'm doing.”

The pairs competition concludes Friday evening.