At first glance, there were some clean short programs from the ladies at the Moran Memorial Championships, a non-qualifying competition being held at the Ice House in Hackensack, N.J. But that's before you study the sheet that tells the technical tale.
Take Ashley Wagner. After an opening triple flip-double toe combination, she got hit with a double deduction on her triple Lutz. It was both downgraded and flagged for an incorrect inside take-off edge, leaving it worth just 1.6 points.
"We've been working a lot on my technique," said Wagner, 18, who placed fourth at the 2009 AT&T U.S. Figure Skating Championships after winning the event's free skate.
"Clearly, [coach] Priscilla [Hill] and I will not be satisfied until my Lutz is 100 percent on an outside edge [take-off]. We're taking baby steps. We hope it's there by nationals, and we're also hoping for a triple-triple combination for my Grand Prix events [NHK Trophy and Rostelecom Cup]."
Wagner's Once Upon a Time in America short was crisp and sure, with energetic straight-line steps and two level 4 spins, as well as a level 4 spiral sequence. She earned 54.88 points, edging out Georgia's Elene Gedevanishvili by 1.19.
"I was happy with it," she said. "The first program of the season is always the most difficult. You want to go out there with a big bang, but everything is still so new.
"I've really only been seriously training for one month; after Champs Camp [in June], I was so sick. I was out for two weeks and off ice completely for a week. Ever since I've gotten healthy again, we've been training all out."
Gedevanishvili, who placed tenth at the 2009 ISU World Figure Skating Championships, took second with a speedy, flirtatious take on the jazz classic "Fever," opening with a solid triple Lutz followed by a triple toe-double toe combination.