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Roth, Bradley Win U.S. Collegiate Senior Titlesby Kelly Hodge and Kaitlyn DeRoy
|Senior ladies medalists|
(8/4/06) - Stephanie Roth (Brookdale Community College) locked in her first U.S. Collegiate Championships title by earning 74.46 points in the free skate and 125.51 overall, nearly 14 points ahead of the next highest-placed skater.
Roth, skating to "Pirates of the Caribbean," took early command of the ice, nailing a triple toe and landing another in combination with a double toe. She had a few rough spots in the program, including falling on a triple Salchow and singling one of her double Axels. Her determination showed as she completed a double Axel at the end of her program and worked hard to get her intended levels on the spins and step sequences.
"I'm very excited to win," Roth said. "I was second last year, and as much as I tried to not think about the result, I knew in my heart that I really wanted to improve upon that and win."
This was a competition of firsts for Roth, who had back surgery just six months ago.
"This was my first time without a coach and also my first competition since my injury, so I'm really proud of it," she said
Roth's victory qualified her for the World University Games next January in Torino, Italy. The Games conflict with the 2007 State Farm U.S. Championships, so Roth would have to forego a spot at the national event should she qualify through sectionals. That didn't seem to be a problem for the newly crowned champion.
"Oh, I'm absolutely going (to Torino)! I'm so excited!" Roth said. "I've been to nationals before but never to an international, and the chance to make the team was one of the reasons I came back to skating after nationals to begin with. I can't wait."
In second place was Erin Reed from the University of Utah. Reed finished third in the free skate, but her points from the short program held her up for the silver. She had a rough start, falling on her triple toe and stepping out of her first double Axel, but she pulled it together by landing a triple Salchow and double Axel. Reed also had strong spins and the highest program component score of any athlete in the event.
Anna Madorsky (Montana State) skated a nice program to "Claire du Lune," which suited her skating style. She opened her program with a double Axel-double toe combination and later completed a triple toe and another double Axel.
Though she finished fourth in both the short program and free skate, her total score of 103.89 gave her the bronze medal.
Linsey Ann Stucks (Oklahoma State University) had the comeback of the day, landing two triple toe loops in her free skate to finish second in the free skate. Unfortunately, with a ninth-place finish in the short program, she was just too far out to secure a spot on the podium. She finished fourth.
There was a shake-up in the senior men's competition, but Ryan Bradley's lead after the short program held up to allow the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs student to win his second U.S. Collegiate title.
Photo by Rebecca and Cynthia Slawter
"Unfortunately, that was probably one of my worst programs," said Bradley, who had his mother ship him an old pair of skates when the airlines lost his luggage. "When I used to wear these skates, I taped them to improve the strength, and after yesterday, I didn't think I needed to do that. But, they didn't feel right today. The jumps went up, but when I landed, it just felt like there was no support."
Despite challenges with his jumps, Bradley did well in the program components, easily earning the highest point total among the men. With a total score of 161.25, his lead in the short program shored up an overall victory.
Michael Peters (University of Illinois) also made some mistakes and dropped a place in the free skate. But, like Bradley, his solid lead over the rest of the field gave him the silver medal overall.
Peters, who is competing in his first collegiate championships, skated to “Jekyll and Hyde.” He fell on a triple Axel and triple loop but managed to pull it together and skate well to the end. His program included a triple Lutz, triple flip, triple Salchow and triple toe-double toe combination.
"I'm pretty happy with how I've skated here," Peters said. "This is probably the best I've skated so far this season, when you take into consideration the short program and free skate. I've had a great time at this competition. It is more fun than a regular competition - everyone is a college kid, and everyone wants to have a good time."
Michael Solonoski (Delaware) won the free skate, but a fourth-place finish in the short program landed him with the bronze medal.
"I'm really happy with the result, but I could have skated better," said Solonoski, who was the U.S. intermediate bronze medalist in 2000. "I didn't do all the triples I had planned, but I'm really happy I kept moving and skated smoothly."
Solonski did complete three triples - a toe, a loop and a triple toe-double toe combination - in addition to several clean double jumps and strong spins.
Jonathan Cassar, a performing arts major at Oakland University in Michigan, retained his overall lead and won gold by earning 79.14 in the free skate.
Cassar opened his program with a double loop but then fell on his attempt at a triple Lutz. He landed two clean triples - a flip and a toe - but popped a triple Salchow into a single. His spins were another highlight, as he earned level 4 on two of them.
"I would have liked to skate a little better," Cassar said. "I did keep fighting, but I'd have liked to land more jumps. But, I really enjoyed skating my program. David Wilson did the choreography and really helped me to become a more mature skater."
Wilson's guidance did make a difference, as Cassar was rewarded with excellent component scores, the highest for choreography and musical interpretation.
Taking home the silver medal with 57.24 points for his free skate was Nicholas Roby (San Jose Skate). Roby completed a solid double Axel, a triple toe-double toe combination, and several double jumps.
Darryll Sulindro (UCLA), skating to “Pirates of the Carribbean,” left with the bronze medal and a total 51.68 points for his performance in the free skate.
Andrea Vickers, a third-year student at Belmont University, moved up from her second-place finish at last year's junior event to become the U.S. Collegiate junior ladies champion.
Vickers proved that under the ISU judging system the way to be successful is to do what you can do, and do it well. She skated a clean program and was the only skater in the top group to not attempt a double Axel. However, most of the skaters that did attempt one had the jump downgraded to a single.
Vickers floated through multiple double jumps and combinations easily, earning nearly all GOEs either at zero or in the positive. She also earned a level 4 on her combination spin and received the highest program components score of the group. She collected 55.87 points for her free skate and 88.87 overall.
"I'm happy with my performance," Vickers said. "I was really able to enjoy skating it, and this was the first competition of the year that it happened. I worked very hard to train well for this competition, and be prepared, and I'm happy with the result."
Taking home the silver medal was Jazmyn Manzouri, who will begin her freshman year at the University of Delaware. Manzouri finished third in the free skate, but her points from the short program kept her in second. Manzouri's unique Iranian music has a special meaning – it's part of her heritage and her father picked it out for her last summer.
She opened her program with an attempt at a double Axel, but it was downgraded to a single. She went on to complete several strong double jumps, including two three-jump combinations. Unfortunately, she received zero credit for the second one, as the rules only permit athletes to perform one.
"I'm pretty happy with my program," she said. "I still have a lot of work to do before regionals this year. I had wanted to maintain speed and stamina, and I was able to do that, so I feel good about it. It has also been a really fun competition. I was really excited to come to California."
In third place was Kelsey Willden, from Weber State University. Willden was fifth after the short program and pulled off a strong free skate to finish second in that segment of the competition and win the bronze medal overall with 73.08 points.