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SENIOR PAIRS


Left, Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier execute a difficult lift in their free skate. Middle, Marissa Castelli and Mervin Tran take the audience for a ride in their Journey medley free skate. Right, Ashley Cain and Timothy LeDuc show off their long lines and skating skills in their free skate.


ative marks on their throw triple Salchow. “It was honestly just nerves tonight,” Cas-


telli said. “We can do everything in the program. We’re just disappointed with it.” Te mistakes left Castelli and Tran in fourth place, 5.04 points behind Cain and LeDuc. Tey fared better in their free skate to a


Journey medley, a program carried over from last season. It started with a towering triple twist and featured two Level 4 spins, three Level 4 lifts and solid footwork. Tran, though, struggled on both jumping passes, falling on the front end of their triple toe loop-double toe loop combination. Tey finished less than one point behind


Denney and Frazier in the free skate and with the silver medal overall, scoring 186.28 points. Castelli and Tran earned the bronze last year and were sixth in their first season together at the U.S. Championships. “We’ve said from the start that we’ve been


working really hard on the twist, and the short program clearly didn’t show it,” Tran said. “But today it was like boom, we finally did it. Tat’s what we’ve been doing. We’re happy to get that Level 4 twist.” “We had a rough go in the short and I think it put us back a little bit because our training had been so good,” Castelli said. “But we are hap- py with what we put out today. Obviously the jumps were not there, but they have been there in training and in warm-ups. We’re just happy with how the rest of the program came out.” Despite winning the silver medal, Castelli


and Tran were not selected to join Denney and Frazier on the World Team. Tey are ineligible to


22 MARCH 2017


compete at the 2018 Olympics as Tran, born in Canada, is not a U.S. citizen. Cain, 21, and LeDuc, 26, who joined forc- es only last summer, got the Tursday afternoon crowd charged up with their winning short pro- gram to Annie Lennox’s “I Put a Spell on You.” Teir speed, chemistry and synched-up tri-


ple loops produced an exciting and entertaining program that was rewarded with a rousing ova- tion.


“Our expectations are just to skate togeth-


er and improve on every competition we are in during the season,” LeDuc said. “Because we are a new team, we have to triage all the things and can’t go too far too fast.” “We are trying to stay calm right now and


pace ourselves, and just stick to what we came here to do,” Cain added.


Cain left pairs skating in 2012 to focus on


her singles career, while LeDuc spent the last two years as a show skater on cruise ships. When he decided to return to competitive skating, LeDuc was steered toward Cain by U.S. Figure Skating. Teir instant chemistry resulted in LeDuc im- mediately moving to Dallas to train with Cain, and Cain halting her singles skating and focusing on pairs. In their more subdued free skate to “Te


Prayer” by Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion, Cain and LeDuc hit some trouble in their only combina- tion jump, with the double Axel being under- rotated and the triple Salchow downgraded. On their next element, Cain fell on the throw triple flip.


Tey finished third in the segment and won


the bronze medal with a total score of 184.41. “We were very tired and pretty exhausted


by the end,” Cain said. “I don’t think we could have given any more. Tere are places we can im- prove, but right now we finished, we are here, we were in the final group and we’ll be on the podium so we can’t ask for much more.” Cain and LeDuc’s coaches, Darlene and Pe-


ter Cain, said it’s been a joy this season to coach their daughter and LeDuc. “Tim is a fantastic partner,” Peter


said.


“Tey are new and I think today the newness showed a little bit; they were a little tired, a little fatigued. I think they have some really good days ahead of them. I think they performed beyond their expectations here, especially in the short program.” Stellato and Bartholomay (Southwest Flor- ida FSC), together for just six months, finished third in the short program and fifth in the free skate to finish fourth overall with 173.50 points. “I think the crowd was phenomenal,” Bar- tholomay said after the free skate. “Tat’s the big thing we are going to take away from Kansas City. Our performance was fairly strong for us and we just look forward to building on that. It was fun.” “It’s been amazing being back, and it means


so much,” said Stellato, who was the 2001 World Junior silver medalist. “Maybe some think I’m crazy and some think it’s cool, but it’s meant a lot; there’s been a lot of love this week from U.S. Figure Skating and just from all the people of Kansas City.”


JAY ADEFF/U.S. FIGURE SKATING


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