Pratt and Gilles Conclude Successful Week With Junior Dance Gold Medal

by Michelle Wojdyla, Special to U.S. Figure Skating Online
Trina Pratt and Todd Gilles
Photo by Michelle Harvath

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(1/13/05) — The junior ice dancing competition concluded Thursday evening at the 2005 State Farm U.S. Figure Skating Championships. Trina Pratt & Todd Gilles (Broadmoor SC) won the free dance and the overall title with their dramatic program to “William Shakespeare's' Romeo and Juliet.”

Caitlin Mallory (St. Moritz ISC) and Brent Holdburg (Stars FSC of Texas) stole a first-place ordinal, and finished second in the free for the silver medal with “Scheherazade.” Kimmerly Lauten & Augie Hill (Stars FSC of Texas) held onto bronze after placing fourth in the free dance with “Masquerade Waltz." Meghan McCullough (SC of Boston) and Joel Dear (Indiana World Skating Academy) took a second-place ordinal and third in the free dance for fourth overall with their Sarah Brightman program called “Harem.”

Pratt and Gilles looked comfortable, and they interpreted music from the modern movie that starred Leonardo DiCaprio. Their free dance transcended individual elements into a finely woven interpretation of love and death. The transitions wove from one requirement to the next, creating a seamless program. Circular footwork with twizzles, fast spins, and speed across the ice helped quantify the athleticism.

“It was easy, surprisingly,” Gilles said. “I was more nervous, though. I wanted to skate my best … to put it all out there.”

The dancers quickly admit their coach, Patti Gottwein, is to be given much of the credit.

“She whipped us, she controlled us, she drove us into shape,” Pratt said. “She's a really good coach. She knows what she's doing. We were more prepared for this competition than we have been for any other.”

Pratt and Gilles attribute much of their conditioning to training in Colorado Springs. They looked so secure in their technical elements that they could concentrate on expressing the music and the story behind it. A team of experts helped them on and off the ice, and the skaters gave credit to the unseen forces.

“Tom Dickson, just for his attention to detail,” Gilles said. “Chris (Dean) because he's just Chris. He's awesome. And Judy Blumberg, because we went and saw her in New York."

“Leonardo Chavez,” Pratt said. “He's my makeup guy.”

The list would not be complete without four special people.

“Mom and Dad,” both said.

“For dishing out the cash!” Pratt continued. “And thank you to U.S. Figure Skating because they've done so much for us. What other country has this kind of program for their skaters? We're real lucky.”

After receiving a 5.5 on Tuesday, Gilles put in a call to Christopher Dean.

“I called him the night after OD and said, ‘we're only five tenths behind you!' So he called back last night and said congratulations.”

After the 5.6 the couple received in the free, another call may be in the near future.

For Mallory and Holdburg, the free dance concluded an exciting week.

“I'm really happy,” Mallory said. “I didn't expect (a silver medal).”

Their program features long, sweeping lines, gracefully extended limbs, and technical difficulty like quad twizzle sequences.

“This year has been really successful for us,” Mallory said. “We have improved tremendously.”

“It has been a long year, but a good year,” Holdburg said. “Last year I was 11th and now we moved to second. I am thankful for everything that has happened this year. Now we will work on getting stronger and faster.”

Lauten and Hill gave a somewhat disappointing performance of their waltz. Their lines were not extended, the twizzles were out of sync, and the straightline sequence was lacking in difficulty compared to the other top free dances.

“It wasn't our best performance,” Hill said. “I was a little affected by my asthma. I was having a little trouble breathing. Technically, it was a little sloppy for us.”

Lauten looked on the bright side.

“I'm just excited,” she said. “I haven't been to nationals in two years. We've come a long way in the last six months since I moved from Pittsburgh.