The Florida-based team, pewter medalists at the 2009 AT&T U.S. Figure Skating Championships, performed their pair elements with assurance, opening with a solid triple twist and hitting a strong throw triple Lutz. Six of their elements, including three lifts completed in the second half of the program, earned Level 4s.
"Amanda and Mark are pretty much the king and queen of the 4s," said their coach, Jim Peterson.
Then there are the side-by-side jumps, triple toes and double Axels. Evora fell on the first, and both skaters struggled with the second. Still, they earned a strong early-season score of 103.59 points and won the event by more than 20 points.
"I remember years ago [2006 world junior champions] Julia Vlassov and Drew Meekins skated to this music, and I loved it," Evora said. "I kept it in my head and always wanted to skate to it."
"I really like the layout of the program. When it was choreographed, the elements all fell into place very easily," Ladwig added. "We figured it out right away. We incorporated some moves [from past seasons] that we felt really fit the music, sort of a best of the best."
The team has taken power-stroking classes from five-time U.S. ice dance champion Judy Blumberg, who will visit their rink in Ellenton, Fla., later this month.
"They're focusing on deep knees and speed, speed, speed," Peterson said. "Also, the catch on the [triple] twist, which is improving. It's just the jumps. Much as I absolutely hate excuses, Amanda twisted her ankle slightly today. We wrapped it, but it just wasn't comfortable for her."
Ladwig has big off-ice news. He and his wife, Janet, are expecting a baby boy on September 16.
"I'm throwing them a shower next week. It's my gift to them," Evora said.