Local skating pair Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir continued their recent dominance, taking home their second straight figure skating pairs title and all but clinched a spot on the US Olympic team.
Castelli, a native of Cranston, R.I., and Shnapir, who hails from Sudbury, took the lead after a 73.13 score in the short program. They had one issue in the free skate, but still put on an impressive program, netting 132.58 points and 205.71 total points, breaking the US Championships record set minutes earlier by Caydee Denney and John Coughlin.
“The [home] support was enormous and I loved the energy from the beginning to the end,” Shnapir said. “It wasn’t our best; we made a few mistakes. We’re happy with what we put out; we performed the heck out of that program. We’re thrilled with the end result.”
The nominees for the 2014 Olympic team will be announced by the Olympic committee Sunday afternoon.
Sitting in second place after Day 1, Felicia Zhang and Nate Bartholomay followed their short score of 66.50 with a 135.22 in the free skate, ending with a total of 201.72 to take the silver medal.
“It was an incredible event, and incredible audience. Felicia and I felt like we didn’t leave anything on the table, we skated just as hard and as passionate as we could and that’s where we ended up.”
“I think we are both on Cloud Nine. As for the decision from the committee as to who goes to the Olympics, we know second isn’t locked in. We just feel it was a great competition and there was a wonderful audience, a really incredible event.”
Denney and Coughlin, the 2012 US Champions who placed fourth in the short program, ended the event on a high note, scoring a US Championships free skate record with 136.03 points and totaled 201.43, grabbing the bronze medal.
“Caydee and I really just wanted to be present today through every moment of our program and really enjoy it,” Coughlin said. “I think we can look back and say we can remember every second of our performance, and that for us, it’s worth everything, we had some much fun out there together today, it’s an honor to be a part of that event.
“You always hope that at a US championships in an Olympic year to be part of every one, just throwing down and giving it everything they have, and I think everybody got their money’s worth today”
DeeDee Leng and Timothy LeDuc, who placed third in the short program, finished in seventh after they ran into trouble in the free skate and totaled 171.94 points.
Local pair Gretchen Donlan and Andrew Speroff finished eighth after they added a 170.93 in the free skate to their short score of 61.70. Duxbury native Alex Shaugnessy and Windham, N.H., native Jimmy Morgan, competing in their first US Championships as senior skaters, placed 12th after scoring 92.28 points in the free skate for a total of 140.73 points.
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Meryl Davis and Charlie White are in a league of their own when it comes to US ice dancing, as they reeled off another sensational competition on Saturday at the US Figure Skating Championships at TD Garden, winning their sixth consecutive national title.
The five-time defending US champions, who held a commanding lead after the short dance, pulled off a perfect performance in the free dance, scoring 199.50 points, the maximum for their program, and finished with 200.19 total points, breaking their total points record for the fourth straight year.
“Charlie and I felt really good tonight,” Davis said. “We definitely plan on building and improving heading into Sochi, but I think we’re very pleased with this performance, as well as our short dance performance. Performing at the US Championships is always very special, and I think we really felt that today.”
The 2010 Olympic silver medalists became the first American dance pair to win six national titles. They are also the defending world champions.
“We didn’t think too much about it coming into it,” White said when asked about the record sixth championship. “That’s the way we always work with any competition. Now that it’s here, we are really proud of our consistency. We’ve been lucky to be injury free, which is another big part of it. And we’ve worked our butts off.
“It’s just a huge collective effort; our families have played such a big role. We are definitely going to enjoy this moment before we hunker down and maybe [celebrate] in 24 hours for the Olympics.”
Madison Chock and Evan Bates, who took second in the short dance, danced to a score of 108.73 in the free skate and to 181.44 toal points, securing back-to-back silver medals in the national championship.
“We skated great tonight, we are really, really happy with our performance,” Bates said. “I thought we did a good job taking advantage of the energy in the building after Meryl and Charlie skated. We skated in a similar situation last year: skated last, skated after these guys, and today’s performance was a lot better than last year’s.”
Maia and Alex Shibutani, the sibling duo who sat in third heading into the free skate, wowed the crowd with their dance set to a medley of Michael Jackson songs, netting them 102.44 points and finishing with a total of 170.44, good for their second straight US bronze medal.
“The way [Maia and I] performed today, we’re so proud of each other,” Alex said. “Nationals is a stressful competition, you want to do your best. Regardless of what happened earlier in the season, Nationals is a completely different animal, and so, after some disappointment from our short dance performance the other day, we were so happy to come back strong.
“We now have 10 years of competitive experience under our belts, even longer being siblings, and so this whole process has been a while in the making, but it feels so special to be up here with these two teams… We’re really are proud to be here right now.”
The US can take three pairs of ice dancers to Sochi; the Olympic committee will announce the nominees midday on Sunday.