Notes From Midwestern Sectionals, Day Two

(11/17/06) - When the focus can often be on America's top stars and their performances at Worlds and the Olympics, it's easy to forget the heartbreak of being young and ambitious, and not making it to the U.S. Championships despite your best efforts. That's painfully obvious at the sectional championships at every level, in every competition. Sometimes, being in the lobby with athletes as results are posted is the worst place one can be, but it's also the best.

In novice ladies, the top four after the short program maintained their order, as the final six skaters all had solid skates with few errors.

Angela Maxwell won the gold wearing black with white accents and skating a dramatic program. She opened with a back spiral into a double Axel-double toe-double loop combination. She stepped out of her first triple Salchow (adding a single toe) but went on to land a triple toe, albeit a bit wobbly, triple toe-double toe combination, another triple Salchow and double Lutz. Her dramatic flair also earned her the highest program component score.

Dressed in a funky purple rainbow-ish outfit, Caroline Ferris remained in second overall but was third in the free skate. Her jumps included a two double Axels (one with a double toe), triple toe, triple Salchow-double toe-double loop combination, double Lutz and triple toe-double toe.

Bronze medalist Deedee Liang fell on her opening attempt at a triple Lutz, but she went on to land a triple loop, triple Salchow, triple flip and triple Salchow-double toe combination. She's flexible and highlights it well in her spirals and spins, and she was the only skate to land the triple flip, albeit with a step-out.

The final skater to head to the U.S. Championships will be Danielle Seitz, fifth in the free skate. She had trouble on a double Axel late in her program but completed a double Axel-double toe-double loop combination, triple Salchow, two double Lutzes (one in combination), and a double flip-double loop combo.

The heartbreak was for Kayla Howey, who showcased a magnificent free skate that was second only to Maxwell's. But due to two major errors in her short program, she was 11th heading into the free skate, and she couldn't muster enough points to make the top four. She finished fifth. Her program contained two double Axels (one in combination), a triple Salchow-double toe, triple toe-double toe, triple loop, and a solo triple Salchow. She earned level fours on her spiral step sequence and her final combination spin.