Tarah Kayne and Daniel O’Shea won their first gold at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in the pairs event today, Jan. 23 in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Overcoming the odds and the doubts, this team rose to the occasion, skating brilliantly and bringing the crowd to their feet. It will be a moment that they will always remember.
The favorites going into the event were reigning national champions Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim. There was rarely talk of any other team but these two leading into the competition. Scimeca and Knierim had a less than stellar short program, but were only in second place going into the free skate. With a quad twist in their arsenal, many assumed that Alexa and Chris would fight back in the free skate and win their second U.S. title. Though they did show a lot of grit, Chris fell on their side-by-side triple toe loops and they made small errors throughout their free skate. “This year we came in kind at a little bit of a low since the [Grand Prix] Final, but getting the experience there was great and just wanting to improve from that,” Chris said in a U.S. Figure Skating press release. “We had a shot at regaining another title, but we opened a door for other teams to take advantage in both the short and the long and they just waltzed right through it. We’re happy and disappointed at the same time.” Scimeca and Knierim settled for the silver.
Tarah Kayne and Daniel O’Shea had an incredible short program and were in the lead by 2.26 points heading into the free skate. They seemed calm and focused in the warm up and skated a stunning performance to “The Music of the Night.” They hit each of their elements effortlessly and received a much deserved standing ovation at the end. “It felt great. Tarah was almost in tears,” Daniel said according to U.S. Figure Skating. “It’s a great feeling – something special.”
Despite a fall by Mervin Tran on the side-by-side triple toe loops and a fall by Castelli on a throw triple salchow, these two managed to stay in the mix. Castelli and Tran will take home their first U.S. Championships medal as a team, a bronze. “It wasn’t exactly what we wanted today, but I definitely think we fought through the whole program,” Marissa said. “We had an uncharacteristic mistake on our throw, but you know what? We are technically still babies. This is our second year together, so we are still growing. We are competing against two teams that have been together for a while, so we are really happy with where we are and what we are able to put out there.”
The U.S. Figure Skating Championships continues today with the free dance and the ladies free skate later on today while the men will take to the ice for their free skate tomorrow, Jan. 24. Check your local listings for the NBC Broadcasting schedule.
Pairs Final Results:
1. Tarah Kayne/Daniel O’Shea – 211.65
2. Alexa Scimeca/Chris Knierim – 196.80
3. Marissa Castelli/Mervin Tran – 179.04
4. Madeline Aaron/Max Settlage – 157.81
5. Jessica Calalang/Zack Sidhu – 156.77
6. Erika Smith/AJ Reiss – 152.18
7. Jessica Pfund/Joshua Santillan – 133.79
8. Brianna de la Mora/Maxim Kurdukov – 130.09
9. Alexandria Shaughnessy/James Morgan – 129.50
10. Cali Fujimoto/Nicholas Barsi-Rhyne – 128.39
11. Caitlin Fields/Ernie Utah Stevens – 117.39
12. Elizaveta Usmantseva/Matej Silecky – 105.30
13. Alyssa McDougal/Paul Schatz – 95.04