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FSC. Skating after Amy Entwistle, who received a wild ovation, wasn’t easy. “Yes, I was definitely aware of the response

to Amy,” she said. “But my coach made me focus. She said, ‘You drive your own bus.’” Yacomes was more like a jet fighter pilot than a bus driver. Stepping onto the ice with steely determination, she didn’t let the crowd or Entwistle intimidate her. Wearing her game face, she actually glanced up at the audience near the beginning of the program as if to say, Don’t count me out. She then proceeded to give the crowd a controlled, elegant and dramatic performance to “Assassin’s Tango,” that was basically flaw- less. While she executed eight doubles, several in combination, it was her spins that rocketed her to her high scores. She opened with a breath- taking camel spin that received a level four and unanimous grades of execution of +2 from the panel — and cheers from the audience. Yacomes’ component scores were second only to Entwistle. While the crowd at a U.S. Adult Champi- onships can sound like screaming high school groupies, they quickly settled and hushed them- selves before Entwistle stepped onto the ice. She won this event in 2009 and 2010 and audience members knew they were going to be reeled in by Entwistle’s mesmerizing and complicated art- istry. She’s a skater’s skater, one whose transitions are so intricate it’s as if she’s giving a lesson in physics. Entwistle delivered as expected. When it was over, she gave a rousing fist pump while fans went crazy. Her opinion of how it went? “Everyone under 35 is disqualified!” she


announced, before bursting out laughing. “OK, I’m glad the younger skaters are here. It’s good for adult nationals to have the next generations come along.” She credited her coach, Mary Jo Bullin, for

using Entwistle’s skills in the best way to create those innovative and hypnotic programs that she is famous for. It’s a symbiotic relationship that has worked well for many years. Former champion Natalie Shaby skated a

light and lovely program that earned her 42.40 points and the pewter medal.


Te sentimental crowd favorite, Larry Hol- liday of the Chicago FSC, was sentimental him- self upon hearing his winning marks. While the crowd was filled with wild, raucous emotion, he was filled with emotion of a different kind. “I just never thought I’d be here again,” he


said, tears streaming down his face. “My coach moved to Denver; I’m by myself on this. And this past week my former coach and friend, Stina Ro- gal, passed away. Maybe she was what got

me through this program, because before tonight I could hardly get through it all the way.” While it may have been a surprise to Hol-

liday, a full-time skating coach in Chicago, it was no mystery to his fans that he mastered his program beginning to end. Flowing like water to a cool and jazzy rendition of “While My Gui- tar Gently Weeps,” his impeccable skating skills brought him a program component score more than five points higher than the silver medalist. And while four other skaters had higher

technical marks, it was Holliday’s components that took him to the top in a program he choreo- graphed himself. It was a beautiful irony from the man that provided the U.S. Adult Figure Skating Championships its first triple jump in 2002. Skating to Camille Saint-Saens’ “Danse Ma-

cabre,” Davin Grindstaff, of the Georgia FSC, skated a gorgeous and complete program that was truly seamless. Also a skating coach (as well as a university professor) and also self-choreo- graphed, Grindstaff likes to build the program around the music. “First I cut it, and I cut with certain techni- cal elements in mind,” Grindstaff said. “And then I give myself places to breathe, rest and emote. With “Danse Macabre,” I wanted to tell a story with passion, love and revenge — all the things this classic piece of music provides.” Grindstaff opened with a light and airy Axel,

followed by six double jumps — three of them in combination. It was a masterful edit of emo- tion, music and sport. And in the classic former champion’s style, there was an effortless feeling and light-as-air approach to it all. In third place was 2011 title holder, Grant

Chien-Hao Huang. Te Kansas City FSC mem- ber is always the “EX” skater (as in explosive, ex- pressive and exciting), but this year Chien-Hao Huang had to push through his program from Te Little Prince.

(l-r) Jaclyn Yacomes, Courtney Donovan, Amy Entwistle, Natalie Shaby

While he completed nine double jumps, many in combination, it was a program that Chien-Hao Huang admitted he had to work at. “I was definitely fighting through it. I had to think about it all,” he said. “In fact, we just changed my step sequence yesterday into a spiral sequence.” Perhaps skating in three separate events

wore on the competitor, but he did win an ar- tistic dramatic event earlier in the week with a beautiful and emotive performance. “My program components were low to-

night,” he said. “Maybe next year I’ll do one less event.” His coach, Maryhelen Sbrocca-Lindsey nodded her head in agreement. Another crowd favorite, Michael Ferlic, gave

the crowd a masculine, no-frills, strong program. But when he fell on his second element, his double Axel, it took a bit of the wind out of his sails. Still, Ferlic hung on for fourth place, and the pewter medal.

Courtney Donovan SKATING 15

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