Saturday, August 1, 2009

Zahradnicek, Dunne win respective junior free skates

Alexander Zahradnicek had an impressive showing in the junior men's free skate at the Liberty Summer Competition, winning the event by more than 12 points.

The skater, who trains under Karl Kurtz and Priscilla Hill in Wilmington, Del., landed six triples, including an opening triple flip-triple toe combination, in his program, which was set to a techno version of Bach's "Toccata and Fugue."

"It felt great. I was really comfortable out there," Zahradnicek said. "My coaches have been working with me on a lot of things to try to improve my overall skating and make two top-level programs."

"We've been focusing on higher jumps, softer landings and skating with more passion," added Kurtz.

Steven Evans, who is coached by 1992 Olympic pair champion Natalia Mishkutionok in the Dallas area, placed second with a solid skate to "Warsaw Concerto."

"I felt that it got stronger and stronger as it went on," the 17-year-old Evans said. "I was very nervous at the beginning, but each jump made me feel more confident.

"I'm so happy I did the triple Lutz-triple toe combination in the second half. I did it last year at the Broadmoor Open, but the toe was downgraded and I haven't done it since. I planned to do a triple flip-triple toe as my first move, but I doubled the flip. I thought if I could pull off the Lutz-toe, I'd rack up points."

Evans was right; he earned 10.25 points for the maneuver and ended up with 101.32 overall.

Alexander Aiken took third place with a jazzy routine to Bobby Helms' "Sunny" that was at least half improvised. The skater fell on his first triple Lutz, but he landed a triple loop, a triple flip-double toe combination and three double Axels, amassing 91.60 points in all.

"We changed the concept about three weeks ago, threw it out and started fresh," said Aiken's coach, Herbert Wiesinger, who is choreographing the program with his pupil.

Full article.

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