Here we go again. Ryan Bradley is back.. just saw a quad toe from him in the warm-up.
Ross Miner- Perhaps the forgotten one here? He was pretty solid in his Grand Prix events. Nice speed from the start and a GORGEOUS easy triple Axel. The best of the night so far. Triple Lutz/double toe. Looked like he got his feet stuck together on the Lutz just long enough to keep him from doing a triple toe, but still the combination was done just fine. Spread eagles and other moves in the field down the length of the ice. and the music picks back up. Triple flip. Back camel travels and the combination ends with an Emanuel spin of average quality. Flying upright spin-- travels and sloppy. Again, GET RID OF THEM! Fun program, not the most engaging for the audience but it was a good effort. That triple Axel was amazing. The Mitchell/Johansson coaching team look like they belong as a team competing on the Amazing Race. I don't know why I think that. LOL.
Grant Hochstein- While I wasn't loving Messing last year, I thought Grant should have ran away with the short program even more-so at the World Juniors than he did. Moves in the field and a very balletic feel from the start. Triple Lutz on the inside edge/triple toe. Definitely a Flutz. Thanks for making my blog name have relevance every once in a while. Double Axel-- struggled with the triple earlier in the year. Nice low, strong flying sit spin. Camel/change/camel catch-foot.. positions are so-so, and the spin goes on for a while because of the slow rotations. Nice triple loop out of three-turns. The elements really fit the music in this program, and he pays attention to all of the details. He was seventh I believe last season here with no triple Axel, I don't know if he's going to be as lucky this year, but I'm still a big fan.
Sean Rabbitt- A red head Michael Jackson.. who knew? Triple Lutz was shaky/triple toe and the hand goes down. Sloppy as a whole. Of course the audience is into this from the beginning. Triple flip. Flying sit in a nice low position and a twist. Good spin. Double Axel came right out of a low kind of lunge move and he stepped out, and then got too excited on choreography while standing in place and fell backwards. Well, that silenced the audience. Footwork is on one foot in the beginning and has some nice choreography in the middle which he has fun with but it's of average difficulty. Emanuel spin that he holds for the full back half of his combination spin.. nice stretch. Fun program even with the weird mistake. Components scores the lowest so far.
Scott Dyer- Triple Lutz/triple toe- second jump definitely cheated and right up against the boards. Nice double Axel. Flying sit with a twisted broken-leg position.. I liked that. Triple loop pre-rotated and not rotated all the way around and fell. I'd say his skating is very traditionally American-- clean lines, classical music and nothing really flashy. Nice camel position, the change camel goes to a strong catch-foot.. definitely a good spinner. Final combination spin is fast and centered as well. Good skating quality, he doesn't stand out though.
Ryan Bradley- First competition of the season. Quad toe/triple toe looked really wound up, I don't know that it really was a full four rotations but I bet he'll get credit for it. Triple Axel is well done. Camel/change/camel-- one of the few skaters who has been doing these his whole life and hasn't had to 'relearn' the camel for this years rule changes. Still, not amazing positions on his spins.. story of his career. Triple flip out of footwork. Flying sit with variations.. the beginning traveled. I really think he could skate to the most boring music ever and the crowd would still go crazy over the way he carries himself and sells the skate. Footwork for him always tries to have fun choreography that masks how weak he really is on the element.. I'd say that's level 2 at best. Aside from his so-so spins and lack of difficult footwork, his problem has always been the speed. Here, I didn't really notice it as much. Well done, I'm happy he's had a successful return. I just wish he would have addressed all of his weaknesses much earlier in his career. I saw him live at Nationals in 2000 in his senior debut and he was bringing down the house even back then. Quad toe was just fine in replay.
Over 7 for components? I really do like him a lot, but his skating skills, transitions, difficulty in choreography, and overall polish are nowhere near many of these men. It's US Nationals, though..
Christopher Caluza- Triple Lutz/triple loop to start. Looked good to me. I didn't expect that. Triple flip on the outside edge. He's excited but he has plenty of sloppiness as he flies around the ice. The footwork has complexity but he's wobbling and flailing through a lot of it. Cool move toward the end, like a sideways cartwheel. Nice Y-spin on the end of a combination spin. Spiral, too. He sure has some interesting moves but they aren't adding up to anything to make it effective. Clean on the jumps though now with a double Axel. Junior feel and all, he still can be really proud of his effort, and he most certainly is. He really attacked it from start to end.
Lloyd Ting- Back shoot the duck/hydroblade into a double Axel is good. Triple Lutz/triple toe.. the toe didn't have much height and he falls on it. Triple flip that he has to really fight for. So all the jumps done in about 40 seconds. He has a very focused look and his footwork isn't particularly difficult, as the commentators mention as I type it. Spins are all of average quality, and there is nothing really going on in-between the elements. Sloppy approach into his sit/change/sit.. almost like it was a practice session where he was doing it in isolation. Odd. Not much choreography, and not much ice coverage as the entire program seemed to consist of just the seven elements. He did have a nice spread eagle towards the end, but that's about it.
Joshua Farris- Another 16 year old. And my player completely stopped right as he started. Almost the entire night without a problem, we are making progress. And he comes back two minutes in. In replay, the Axel leaned off the start causing the fall. Sounds like the other jumps were strong though. His first basic camel position in the flying spin wasn't held long enough.
Jason Wong- I've always liked his skating. Triple Lutz/double toe- first jump was forward, second had no run-out but it's done. Triple Axel really close but still a big step out. Flying camel in a bent leg unique position into a change camel/catchfoot very similar to what Farris just did. Nice long powerful crossovers and nice lines, some good moves in the field. He did a Russian split right by the boards and it looked like he really had to put the brakes on to not crash, but then he went into a triple loop just fine. Everything nice, but he's another one that doesn't really do much to make himself stand out. I still really respect his overall quality and soft style.
Richard Dornbush- Triple Lutz/triple toe is all over the place but ends up alright. Triple Axel digs in deep with the toe pick and that one is landed too. He's attacking everything but those first two elements maybe had a little too much energy, causing it all to be sloppy. Another Russian split, we never see those anymore, and some other moves in the field... the triple flip had a hydroblade entrance and he goes into it from a curve-- most everyone who does that seems to get really wound up on the take-off.. here he had a step out. Footwork has some nice flair in the choreography, but he seemed too focused. I'm a little disappointed with this performance.
Armin Mahbanoozadeh- One of my new favorites, and I really want him to do well. His Skate America free skate was great. Triple Axel.. not the best flow out but it's done just like that. Triple flip/triple toe.. took his time and it was a nice one. Flying camel with an ugly change edge, into a donut position which is nice. BLAH crooked wound up entrance on the Lutz and he's down. Might even be called a double which gives him next to no points. Footwork is strong and has plenty of content, and then one of my favorite positions on a spin-- his camel that turns into a downwards-facing spin with a bent leg.. I love it. Frustrating. I still think this is one of the best short programs in the field.
Alexander Johnson- Triple Axel that he landed and then fell, spinning around a few times-- not a good way to fall. Triple flip/triple toe.. not spectacular but a good recovery. Triple Lutz looked two-footed and maybe cheated. The combination and flying spin had some nice changes of edge in them, but I wasn't blown away by the rest of the program. Too bad about the Axel. He's talking about staring one of the judges down during the performance and the judge kinda scuffed at him. LOL.
So Ryan Bradley leads the way after the short program. Who would have known? He skated well, but I never really understand why National federations really push skaters up when the international judges won't be as generous with scores. I really doubt Ryan would be able to receive a 7.0 average on components from the ISU, but who knows.. Ross Miner makes the final group.