Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Castelli, Shnapir return to competition at Mid Atlantics

The 2009 Middle Atlantic Figure Skating Championships, held at Chelsea Piers in New York last weekend, marked a return to competition for Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir, who won a bronze medal at junior worlds in February.

The pair didn't skate their best, missing key elements and placing second overall to Jessica Crenshaw and Chad Tsagris of Greece. But Castelli, who narrowly escaped major injury after a scary practice collision early this summer, is happy just to be back on the ice.

"I was skating [at Skating Club of Boston] with Simon; we were going backwards, and this Italian boy who had come over to Boston to train was skating backward also. We had a collision and when we fell, I landed on his blade," the 19-year-old skater said.

"I got an incision on my upper inner thigh and had to get rushed to the hospital. It was not a really painful experience, but it was a big bummer."

The injury, which required many internal and external stitches as well as physical therapy, took Castelli off the ice for four weeks, costing the pair training time and the chance to compete at both Liberty Open and Indy Pairs Challenge.

"It's a huge setback," said the team's coach, Bobby Martin. "They were getting ready for the summer competitions and getting feedback on what they were doing. They've added a lot of difficulty to their programs, the choreography is more intricate, there are new elements -- it's a big transition year for them."

Last season, the petite Castelli and her 6-foot-4 partner, who was born in Moscow but emigrated to the U.S. with his family when he was an infant, placed third in juniors at the 2009 AT&T U.S. Figure Skating Championships. Castelli calls their world junior medal "amazing; we didn't really think about the podium. We just wanted to skate well and we came back with a medal. It was a surprise in a way, but it really wasn't, because we were training well. We had the lifts and throws."

Now, they're taking steps to improve their side-by-side elements.

Full article.

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