Monday, October 10, 2011

2011 Junior Grand Prix of Estonia: Preview

We've arrived at the final Junior Grand Prix event of the season, Estonia, where several skaters and teams will make their final attempt at qualifying for the Final. The competition schedule (Eastern Standard) is as follows:

Thursday October 13th             Friday October 14th                    Saturday October 15th
3:00 a.m. Men's Short              3:00 a.m. Short Dance                3:00 a.m. Ladies Free
7:30 a.m. Pairs Short               7:00 a.m. Pairs Free                   8:15 a.m. Free Dance
11:15 a.m. Ladies Short           11:00 a.m. Men's Free

We'll see two of this season's Gold medalists at this event, Joshua Farris (USA) and Maxim Kovtun (Russia). If both perform to the best of their abilities, Farris should come out on top. Both are locks for the JGP Final if they finish 4th or higher. Ryuichi Kihara (Japan) is the likely bronze medalists, but he needs to win the Gold in order to qualify for the Final. If he wins silver, he'll force a tie-breaker bith countryman Keiji Tanaka based on highest total points between both events. Shotaro Omori (USA) and Shoma Uno (Japan) both have an outside chance of making the final if they could pull off a win and also break a tie with the highest total points.

Podium Predictions:
Gold: Joshua Farris (USA)
Silver: Maxim Kovtun (RUS)
Bronze: Ryuichi Kihara (JPN)

My JGP Final Predictions:
1) Yan (CHN)
2) Farris (USA)
3) Hino (JPN)
4) Brown (USA)
5) Kovtun (RUS)
6) Ryuichi Kihara (JPN)

This event will be a major battleground for Final hopefuls as a lot can happen. Samantha Cesario (USA), Risa Shoji (JPN), and Anna Shershak (RUS) are all vying for two unclaimed spots in the ladies Final. Shoji and Sherhak both have 13 points for their Silver medals and Cesario has 11 for her bronze. However, Cesario's point total from JGP Poland (153.84) beats both of the Silver medalists, Shershak (150.21) in Italy and Shoji (147.29) in Australia. In most scenarios, the Gold & Silver medalists here will get the 2 spots in the Final, unless of course Cessario wins Silver giving her (11)+(13)=26 and either Shershak or Shoji wins bronze giving them (13)+(11)=26. In that case the skater with the highest combined points from both evetns goes to the final. In any circumstance, assuming one of these ladies wins Gold, she automatically goes to the final.

Podium Predictions:
Gold: Samantha Cessario (USA)
Silver: Anna Shershak (RUS)
Bronze: Risa Shoji (JPN)

My JGP Final Predictions:
1) Julia Lipnitskaia (RUS)
2) Polina Shelepen (RUS)
3) Vanessa Lam (USA)
4) Samantha Cessario (USA) 
5) Zijun Li (CHN)
6) Anna Shershak (RUS)

Only two pairs teams, Sui/Han (China) & Yu/Jin (CHN) have sealed their spots in the final, while the other 4 are still up for grabs. JGP Poland Gold medalists Simpson/Blackmer (USA) seem poised to repeat this week in Estonia, though they only need a top 4 finish to make the Final. JGP Poland Silver medalists Bobak/Beharry (CAN) also look Final-worthy and a medal of any color this week will get them there. Calalang/Sidhu (USA) can secure a spot if they win a medal of any color at this event while Aaron/Settlage (USA) have to win Gold to guarantee a berth in the Final. Fedorova/Moroshkin (RUS) can earn their spot by winning a Silver or higher this week, though bronze could force a tie-breaker. The teams competing this week control the fate of some of the "bubble" teams that have already done their two events, including two Russian pairs Petaikina/Kurduykov & Tudvaseva/Lisiev.

Podium Predictions:
Gold: Simpson/Blackmer (USA) 
Silver: Fedorova/Moroshkin (RUS)
Bronze: Bobak/Beharry (CAN)

My JGP Final Predictions:
1) Sui/Han (CHN) *if they qualify for the Senior GPF the 1st alternate will take this spot
2) Simpson/Blackmer (USA)
3) Yu/Jin (CHN)
4) Bobak/Beharry (CAN)
5) Fedorova/Moroshkin (RUS)
6) Petaikina/Kurduykov (RUS)

Ice Dance
Four spots in the Final are already locked up, but this week's competitors have the chance to either secure the final two spots, or give one to one of the bubble teams that has already competed. Kosigina/Moroshkin (RUS), Yanovskaia/Mozgov (USA), Bent/Mackeen (CAN) all control their own destiny this week in that if they win Gold, they earn their berth in the Final. For whomever does not win, a lot of things can happen. Since Kosigina/Moroshkin have 13 points, and the others have only 11, they can earn a spot with a Silver as well and a Bronze puts them in a tie-breaker. But if they win, the Silver medal winning team will be tied with Aldridge/Eaton (USA) based on total points. All 3 teams were within 2 points of each other at their first event with the edge going to Yanovskaia/Mozgov with a total event score of 121.72 at JGP Poland.

Podium predictions:
Gold: Kosigina/Moroshkin (RUS)
Silver: Yanovskaia/Mozgov (RUS)
Bronze: Bent/Mackeen (CAN)

My JGP Final Predictions: 
1) Sinistina/Zhiganshin (RUS)
2) Stepanova/Bukin (RUS)
3) Kosigina/Moroshkin (RUS)
4) Nosulia/Kholoniuk (UKR)
5) Galyeta/Shumski (UKR)
6) Aldridge/Eaton (USA)

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