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NOVICE LADIES Huang delivers on


demanding program BY TROY SCHWINDT Following a fourth-place finish at the 2017


Midwestern Sectionals, high school sophomore Angelina Huang (St. Peters FSA) received a free-skate overhaul from her coach Damon Allen. Te upgrade to more difficult elements, in- cluding a triple loop and a triple Lutz-loop-triple Salchow combination, helped to push Huang to the top of the podium. “It’s a completely different program,” Allen


said. “We completely backloaded it. So for her to perform it for the first time on this big stage is really impressive, showing how great of a compet- itor she is.” Huang, fourth as an intermediate in 2016


and fifth as a juvenile in 2015, skated two virtually clean programs en route to a total score of 143.19. “I’ve been really working on getting my


jumps solid,” Huang, who trains at the World Arena Ice Hall in Colorado Springs, Colorado, said. “Since they’ve added the bonuses, it’s really encouraging us to try new things.” Huang, second after the short program, per-


formed her free skate to the soundtrack of Kung Fu Panda 3, choreographed by Massimo Scali and Catarina Lindgren. Her free skate included six tri- ple jumps (three in combination), a double Axel and three Level 3 spins. She received a one-point deduction for a time violation. Her program com- ponent score was second-best of the event. “I’m Chinese and I know a lot of Chinese


dance,” she said of her musical choice for her free skate. “I found this music and thought, ‘Why not skate to it.’ I skated to Chinese music as a juvenile and it was nice to bring it back.” Huang gets daily inspiration, she said, train- ing alongside some of the country’s top skaters at the Broadmoor SC, including 2008 U.S. champi- on and 2010 Olympian Mirai Nagasu, who prac- tices the triple Axel. “It would be cool if I could do that some-


day,” Huang said. Ting Cui (Baltimore FSC), third after the


short program by 1.26 points, overcame an early fall on a triple Lutz to finish strong and claim the silver medal with 142.68 points. Cui, who earned the event’s best program component score, per- formed her free skate as Dorothy to music from Te Wizard of Oz. She rolled up an event-best free skate total of 95.05 points and a total score of 142.68.


“Te sign of a good competitor to me is that when the chips are down, how they recover, not letting one mistake turn into two, into three,” Cui’s coach Chris Conte said. “Te triple Lutz has been good for her and strong recently, so when she fell on the Lutz I was afraid that she may become unraveled a little bit. But instead, she came back much stronger with that triple flip, which was a jump she had trouble with in the warm-up. Tat shows me she’s becoming a strong competitor ev- ery competition.”


Angelina Huang


Ting Cui


Cui didn’t qualify for the U.S. Champion- ships in 2016 and was fourth in intermediate in 2015.


Pooja Kalyan (Ozark FSC) jumped from


fifth place after the short program to secure the bronze medal with 131.77 points. Kalyan lives in Arkansas but trains in Chicago with coach Alex Ouriashev. Kalyan’s “Samson and Delilah” free skate in- cluded five triple jumps, although three received


Pooja Kalyan


negative marks. She closed with back-to-back Level 4 spins. “It was OK, but not her best,” said Scott


Brown, one of her coaches and choreographers. Kalyan didn’t qualify for the U.S. Champi- onships in 2016 and was ninth in novice in 2015. Short program leader Alysa Liu (St. Moritz ISC), who is the 2016 intermediate champion, won the pewter medal with 131.68 points.


SKATING 45


JAY ADEFF/U.S. FIGURE SKATING


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