Junior Pairs Gold Makes it Two for Pottengers

by Marge Reynolds
Amy Howerton and Steven Pottenger

Amy Howerton and Steven Pottenger (Dallas FSC) held on to first place and are now the 2003 junior pairs champions. On January 13 Steven's brother, Christopher, and his partner, Sydney Schmidt, won the novice pairs event. With Howerton and Potternger's win today, the Pottenger brothers made history, as siblings have never before won two different titles in the same discipline at the U.S. Championships.

"The five of us are a team," Pottenger said of the two pairs teams and their coach David Kirby, "We all helped each other achieve what we wanted to do here."

Howerton and Pottenger won the short program last year in their first year at the junior level but slipped down to fifth place overall. They were able to use the lessons learned from that experience for a convincing win today, taking eight of the nine first-place ordinals.

"Yes, I thought about last year, but I asked God to please take my nerves away and give me faith, and He did," Howerton said.

Their program was not flawless, but it was enough to keep the gold. She stepped out of the throw triple Salchow. They then went right into side-by-side double toe loops followed by double Axels, but she fell on the second jump. The rest of their "Forrest Gump" program was clean, and their decision to only attempt a double twist paid off for them.

Silver medalists Brittany Vise and Nicholas Kole (Broadmoor SC) skated to the "Titantic" soundtrack. They completed a throw triple Salchow right before side-by-side double loops. They were one of the few teams to attempt a triple side-by-side jump, but she fell on the triple toe.

"This was the best we could do for today so we are happy with our performance," Kole said.

Last year's junior champions, Colette Appel (Individual Member) and Lee Harris (Detroit SC), took home the bronze medal this year. Appel stepped out of their double Axel throw, but the rest of the program was clean.

"We never felt pressure to defend our title," Appel said. "We are happy we are a stronger team and now have one year's more experience."

"As soon as she landed the throw triple loop, our second element, we knew we were in the groove today," Harris said.

Chelsea Meador and Josh Martin, who finished third in the short program, finished fifth in the free skate but fourth overall for the pewter medal. They had some very distinctive and innovative moves in lifts but had unison problems, especially near the latter part of their program. She fell on their side-by side double Axels.