Oberstar 15th at U.S. Figure Skating Championships
News Tribune, wire services Duluth native Molly Oberstar placed 15th overall Saturday evening in the Ladies Championship division of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. Oberstar, 20, placed 15th in the short...
News Tribune, wire services
Duluth native Molly Oberstar placed 15th overall Saturday evening in the Ladies Championship division of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.
Oberstar, 20, placed 15th in the short program on Thursday and 15th again in the free skate portion of the competition on Saturday. She finished 15th overall in her debut at the U.S. Championships that were held in St. Paul last year.
On Tuesday, Duluth native Kiri Baga, 13, claimed the Novice Ladies title.
Davis-White earn U.S. titles
Keauna McLaughlin and Rockne Brubaker powered their way to a second straight pairs title, despite McLaughlin having such a bad case of the flu she considered withdrawing. They made two significant errors, but their strength, speed and charisma were more than enough to edge newcomers Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett.
"There was definitely moments in my program that I thought, 'I can't do this, just let me stop, just let me have a breather, just let me have a trash can,' " McLaughlin said. "But I just kept going. I don't know how I did it, but I got through it and I'm really happy that it's over with."
McLaughlin and Brubaker finished with a score of 178.76. They are the first couple to repeat as U.S. pairs champions since Kyoko Ina and John Zimmerman won three straight from 2000-02.
The audience booed when the final standings were posted and Denney and Barrett, who won the short program, were in second despite a clean skate. But the couple was thrilled, likely on their way to the world championships only seven months after they began skating together.
"Our goal was to skate two solid programs, the best that we could," Denney said. "Placing, that would have been a bonus, that would have been just amazing. Being in second and going to worlds, I don't know if it's sunk in yet."
Meryl Davis and Charlie White won their first ice dance title, overwhelming the rest of the field in the process. They swept all three segments of the dance competition, and their total score of 201.68 points was 20 points better than that of Emily Samuelson and Evan Bates, the reigning junior world champions.
That Davis and White won was hardly a surprise; their only competition in the United States right now is Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto, and the Olympic silver medalists are at home while Agosto nurses a back injury. But Davis and White never held back. Their free dance was technically and artistically demanding, with not a single break or spot to rest anywhere in the four minutes.
"We feel really good about our performance," Davis said. "We put everything we had out there and left everything out there on the ice."
McLaughlin and Brubaker are only in their third season but are already considered the best hope to end the United States' medal drought in pairs -- no American team has medaled at the Olympics since 1988 -- and it's easy to see why. Their speed and power would give any hockey player a run for his money, and they don't take their feet off the gas for a second of their 4½-minute program.
Yet they have the charisma and expression that makes pairs so appealing when done right. Skating to "West Side Story," they punctuated every high note of their music with movement. They channeled the Jets and the Sharks perfectly, too, so much so that the Broadway producers might want to keep them in mind if they ever need fill-ins.
"We felt like last season, we skated clean programs but really hadn't dove into getting into the character of the program, the choreography and the transitions," Brubaker said. "That's one thing we really tried to get into this year. We have a long way to go, but judging by the scores we've gotten and the component scores, we're heading in the right direction."