This past weekend, I went to Colonial Open in Boxborough, MA. Colonial Open is one of the first club competitions of the season in New England, and it’s only about an hour from my house, so it’s fun to go and see some early-season skating.
Colonial Open typically attracts a fairly strong field of skaters from the Boston/New York metropolitan areas. The competition includes singles skating only (no pairs or dance). This year, I saw the Novice Men, Junior Ladies, and Senior Ladies events at Colonial, plus some bits of Intermediate and Junior Men. Of these divisions, Junior Ladies had the most competitive field, so I’ll cover that one first. Note: I tried to keep track of the skaters’ jump elements, but there may be a few errors; my apologies if so!
Emilia Murdock, 15, dominated the Junior Ladies event, easily winning both segments. Emilia is a 2-time silver medalist at U.S. Nationals (Juvenile/Intermediate), but surprisingly just missed Nationals last year in Novice (despite having won all her early-season events).
SP: 52.93 SP elements: 3Lz/2T, 3F, 2A fall
FS: 84.72 FS elements: 3Lz/2T good, 3F/2T, 3Lp spinout, 2A, 3Lz fall/UR?, 3F fall, 3S 2ft/UR?
Coaches: Mark Mitchell, Peter Johansson
Emilia’s short program was really strong. She skated with a lot of speed and attack. Emilia is slight and not very tall, but her presence on the ice has grown this year, and she’s skating with more amplitude. Seeing her live, it’s apparent that she really works hard to get as much power as she can out of every stroke. She has a nice light, crisp style. Her program to Brenna Whitaker’s “Black and Gold” was dramatic and engaging.
Emilia’s long program is set to “Moon River”/”Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. This program started off well with two strong jump combinations, but then got a bit messy in the second half. Not unexpected for so early in the season.
Emilia has added triple Lutz to her programs this season (last year, she only had triple flip). Her flip and Lutz are looking pretty strong; she showed no hesitation going into these jumps, either in warmup or competition. Overall, this event was a good start to Emilia’s season, and she looked confident, well-trained, and well-prepared.
Iris Zhao took 2nd in the SP, but did not skate the long program. Iris was U.S. National Juvenile champion back in 2014, but has not made it back to Nationals since then. This is her second year competing in Juniors (she got the unfortunate 5th spot at Easterns last year 😦 ).
SP: 51.47 SP elements: 3Lz/2T very good, 3F very nice, 2A very good/smooth
Iris’s short program to Jessica Simpson’s “Angels” was very nice to watch. The jumps were well-done (more solid than at last year’s Colonial Open), and Iris showed nice skating skills, line, and presentation. The only weakness was the spins. All 3 spins were a bit under par in both rotational speed and quality of positions. Still, it was a great skate by Iris, and I missed seeing her in the free skate.
Violeta Ushakova had a disappointing SP (6th) and did not skate the long program. Violeta is a 2-time U.S. Nationals medalist (bronze in Novice last year).
SP: 37.30 SP elements: 2F, 3Lz (very awkward fall), 2A
Violeta skated to Black Swan in a tutu (perhaps inspired by Olympic champion Alina Zagitova :-)). Tall and leggy, Violeta didn’t seem quite in control of this performance. I felt like she rushed through the choreography a bit, not really reaching full impact with each movement. Also, her posture could have been a bit better; she lurched forward at times.
Brooke Barrett skated quite inconsistently in this event, but placed well in the free skate due to strong base value and PCS. She was 8th SP/2nd LP. She appeared at Sectionals last year (Novice).
SP: 36.14 SP elements: 3Lz (fall/UR?), 3F (2ft/fall/UR?), 2A (2ft/fall/UR?)
FS: 72.46 FS elements: 3Lz (fall), 3Lz (fall), 2A, 2 Lz/2Lp, 2F, 2/2 combo, 2F/half loop/2S, very good spins
Coaches: Mark Mitchell, Peter Johansson
Brooke is a lovely skater, very polished and elegant, with beautiful arms, nice posture, and nice fluid movement. Her short program to Alicia Keys’s “Empire State of Mind” was attractive. Her long program to “With You” from Ghost was also good and well-suited to her lyrical style. Her PCS in the long program was quite high relative to the field; the judges definitely appreciated her artistry. However, I felt her jumps looked shaky at this event. The doubles were rushed and lacked height; the triples were unstable (4 falls).
Mauryn Tyack had a pretty good start to her season (3rd SP/4th FS). She has appeared at Eastern Sectionals the last 2 years (Intermediate/Novice).
SP: 47.90 SP elements: 2A (good), 3S/2Lp (solid), 2F
FS: 62.92 FS elements: 2A/2Lp, 3S (fall), 2A (stepout), 2T, 2 Lz/2T, 3S(UR?)/1T, 2F
Coaches: Liane Moscato DePari, Alisa Contreras
Mauryn had a great short program to “Titanium/Pavane” by The Piano Guys. She showed good expression, nice strong edges, and nice quality throughout. Her Pride & Prejudice FS got off to a shaky start, as she fell on her opening footwork. However, she fought through the program, going for all her elements. Despite some mistakes, it was still a nice performance with good speed and line throughout. Although Mauryn doesn’t have the more difficult triples yet, she is a very strong all-around skater.
Lily Rauh, 16, also had a pretty good event (5th SP/3rd FS), skating at her home rink.
SP: 37.63 SP elements: 2A (great, very high), 2Lz (forward/UR?), 2F(r)
FS: 69.22 FS elements: 2F/2T (good), 3Lp? or 2Lp (UR?), 2A (good but a bit of a wrap), 2S, 2Lz(r)/half loop/2S, 2A, 2Lz(r)/2T
Lily skated to “La Vie en Rose” by ZAZ in the SP. It was a charming, fun program; nicely presented, with good musicality. Lily is a very powerful skater, with strong edges and good knee action. She doesn’t have many difficult jumps yet, but there’s a lot of quality in her skating, and she adds the Rippon feature to a lot of her doubles to get more points. Her free skate to “Out of the Well” by Christopher Gordon was pretty strong.
Sydney Cooke, also from Colonial FSC, impressed at this event (4th SP/ 5th FS). This is her second year in Juniors.
SP: 39.25 SP elements: 2A (wild/2ft), 3S (2ft/fall), 2F
FS: 61.86 FS elements: 2A (good), 2Lz (good), 3S (fall), 1F/1T, 2F (turnout/stumble), 1A/half loop/1S(?), 1F/1T
What stood out about Sydney was her basic skating skills, which were probably the best in the event. Sydney skated with a lot of speed and energy, and had some of the best step sequences. Her spins were also very fast and good. Unfortunately, her jumps didn’t quite keep pace with the rest of her skating. However, it was still fun to watch her. She skated to Great Gatsby in the SP (excellent choice) and “Jar of Hearts” by Christina Perri in the LP.
The Senior Ladies event was notable mostly as the season debut for Megan Wessenberg (17th at U.S. Nationals last season). Megan won both segments of the event by a wide margin.
SP: 53.39 SP elements: 3Lz(r) (fall), 3T/2T, 2A (hand down), very good spins
FS: 98.97 FS elements: 3Lz(r) (good), 3F or 3T, 3F (fall), 2A/2T (very nice), 3T/2T, 3S (fall), 2A (2ft/UR)
Coaches: Mark Mitchell, Peter Johansson
Megan, 19, looked extremely fit and strong in her warmups/off-ice preparations. She has finally added a triple Lutz to her programs, and not only that, it’s a beautiful Rippon version of the jump. Megan wasn’t completely consistent with this new element yet; but the ones she landed were great. Great to see her add this new element to her repertoire!
Megan’s short program, set to Brenna Whitaker’s “You Don’t Own Me”, was really good, despite a few jump mistakes. Megan showed really fast, strong skating and improved line/presentation in this program.
Megan’s new LP is to “The First of Autumn” by Enya. The program started off well, with a beautiful Rippon 3Lz. However, some jump mistakes marred the remainder of the routine, and there was a lack of emotional engagement with the choreography. The program definitely feels like a work in progress; I’m not sure it suits Megan’s athletic style as well as the Bond FS she used the last few years. But it may improve with time. Although the program is still developing artistically, Megan had amazing speed and power throughout.
Megan’s 3T/3T combination, probably her strongest element the last few years, was missing in both programs here. Hopefully that comes back later in the season.
It was great to see Philip Baker, 15, competing in Novice Men. Philip is a 2-time U.S. Nationals medalist (Juvenile/Intermediate) but missed last season. He has grown a lot and is now training at the Colonial rink.
SP: 45.41 SP elements: 3T (fall), 3S/2T (good), 2A (very good)
FS: FS elements: 3T/3T (eked-out 2nd jump), 3Lp (fall), 3S (hand down), another jump (fall), 2 Lz, 2A/half loop/3S (fall), 2T(?)/2T, 2A (spinout)
Philip’s SP to “Diva” by Frankie Moreno was enjoyable, despite one fall. Philip showed very good skating skills in this routine. The jazzy/clubby “Diva” is a fun and interesting music choice.
Philip skated to an Aerosmith medley for his free skate. Again, good music selection. He was a bit off with his jumps in this program, but showed good spins and presentation. Philip has very nice flow and smoothness over the ice—just good basic skating throughout.
I only caught a few competitors in Intermediate and Junior Men.
Ryan Van Doren skated his Junior Men SP to Colton Dixon’s “Autopsy”, going for 2T/2T, 3F (fall), 2A. Not what he was looking for with the jumps, but Ryan has very nice line and extension.
In Intermediate Men, last year’s U.S. Nationals silver Juvenile medalist Jacob Sanchez shone with a really fun program to Riverdance. Jacob has great presentation and skating skills for his age; his opening step sequence was quite difficult! He went for 3Lp (2ft)/2T, 3T (wild)/2T, 2A (turnout)/half loop/other jump, 3T(?), 2A. He scored 59.86 in his free skate.
Matthew Grossman, who trains with Mark Mitchell and Peter Johansson, also skated well in Intermediate Men. He too had nice choreography and presentation for his age, skating to a Michael Jackson medley. He scored 45.75 in his free skate.
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