Sherry Barnes and Kevin Sun Win Intermediate Ladies and Men's Titles in Jamestown

by Michelle Wojdyla, Special to U.S. Figure Skating Online

U.S. Junior Championships Results and Photos

(12/5/04) — The 2005 U.S. Junior Championships in Jamestown, N.Y., concluded Saturday with the intermediate ladies and men's free skates. Like the juvenile skaters, the intermediate competitors showed talent and class, with winners Sherry Barnes and Kevin Sun collecting the gold medals.

Intermediate Ladies
Sherry Barnes (Citrus FSC) continued her dominance of the intermediate ladies event, winning the free skate and the overall title. Skating to music including “The Feeling Begins” by Peter Gabriel, Barnes reeled off three combination jumps: triple Salchow-double loop-double toe, double Axel-double toe, and double Lutz-double loop. A second double Axel, a squeaky triple loop and a double flip rounded out the air show.

“I'm very proud,” a smiling Barnes said.

Lauren Girard (Granite State FSC) pulled up from fourth after the short to win the silver. Dressed in shades of blue and skating to “Rhapsody in Rock” by Robert Wells, the graceful skater landed a triple toe-single toe, triple Salchow, double Axel-double toe, double Lutz-double toe, double flip, and performed a layback with a beautiful arch in her back.

Asked how she feels, with a smile so wide it was contagious, Girard replied, “Fantastic! It's awesome! I'm so excited! I didn't expect this. I didn't want to put too much pressure on myself.”

Next season Girard has new goals.

“I'm going to move up to novice and hope to get new jumps,” she said.

Skating last for the third of three times, Lauren-Marie Simm (Glacier Falls FSC) performed to “The Nutcracker.” Her program was very well-rounded, and although jumps like a double Axel-double toe and triple Salchow-double toe were impressive, her other elements like a forward inside to back outside spiral, huge leap, and well-centered spins gave her the complete package. Simm's outlook on skating is both refreshing and charming.

“It doesn't matter what I get,” she said. “It's not the end of my career.”

Angela Maxwell (Dallas FSC) skated to “Miss Saigon” and captured the pewter. Her program elements including a double Axel-double toe-double loop and a triple Salchow-double toe.

“I'm so excited!” Maxwell gushed. When asked how many o's “so” should be spelled with, she replied, “like 1,000 o's!”

{~PR1~}Intermediate Men
Wrapping up the week in Jamestown, the intermediate men put on quite a show. Kevin Sun (Uncle Sam SC) pulled the rare straight-firsts in ordinals to move up from third and capture the title.

“It was the best I've ever skated,” Sun said. “I'm glad it was at a real competition.”

Sun's program to “Dragon, the Bruce Lee Story” had both technical content including triple toe-double toe, triple Salchow, triple toe, double Axel-double toe, and energy that was hard to match. His coach, Priscilla Hill, had to miss the short program when she accompanied Johnny Weir to the Marshalls World Cup of Skating, but after little sleep and fast transit, returned in time for his free skate.

“Kevin is a wonderful student and a joy to work with,” Hill said. “It's exciting for me to see someone fresh and new receive an award like this after putting so much work into it.”

Karl Kurtz, Sun's other coach, was equally enthusiastic.

“Kevin is a great kid,” Kurtz said. “He comes to the rink every day with a great attitude. He's a joy to work with and a great athlete.”

Armin Mahbanoozadeh (Washington FSC) had a rough time with some of his jumps late in his program. In one of the most mature moments of the week, a visibly disappointed Mahbanoozadeh graciously faced questions from reporters.

“I know I didn't have my best skate,” he said. “I remember being really happy for my loop, and then my legs came out from under me. I had the first half to be happy for.”

After landing a sweet triple loop, Mahbanoozadeh was suddenly down on the ice. He missed his triple toe and triple Salchow late in the program to “A Fish Called Wanda.” The overall quality of his skating, however, dropped him only to third in the free. Mahbanoozadeh's love of skating was apparent in his description of what it feels like to jump and spin.

“It's like going on a roller coaster,” he said.

Alexander Zahradnicek (Greenville FSC) had a positive attitude about the experience of competition at the U.S. Junior Figure Skating Championships.

“I don't really care how I place,” he said. “I'm just glad to be here.”

His strong body line (“my coach really pounds the posture into me”) and jumps including a triple Salchow-double loop-double toe, a triple toe, and a double Axel-double loop highlighted his program to “1492.”

Anthony Dang moved up from 12th in the short program to fourth overall with a strong second-place free skate.