Earlier in the day, Tarah Kayne and Danny O’Shea captured the pairs title with a record-breaking score. Skating to music from “The Phantom of the Opera,” the duo were flawless from start to finish, earning 142.04 points for the free skate and 211.65 points — both of which are U.S. Championships records. “I couldn’t be happier with our performance today. From beginning to end, I felt very in the moment. Each element was easy and the program flowed very effortlessly,” Kayne said following the competition.
Kayne and O’Shea landed two throw triple jumps — a Salchow and a Lutz, but also accomplished something that American pairs often fail to do — they landed their jumps. “We just wanted to perform like we do at home,” O’Shea said. “I think we did that and probably even more.”
“I think we have a certain way of training at our rink and there’s definitely an attitude about what goes into every day – how you get to the rink, how you train your programs, how you train your elements,” Kayne explained. “We definitely don’t go into competitions thinking we are going to win.”
Defending champions Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim finished with the silver medals despite a fall by Knierim on a triple toe loop. The feisty Scimeca was all business in their “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” program, landing a solid triple Salchow and triple toe before botching the landing of the throw triple Lutz. “It was much improved from the (Grand Prix) Final, and that was one of our goals,” Knierim said. “It’s still not up to where it needs to be or can be. Hopefully if we get put on Four Continents or Worlds, we’ll step up from this.”
Scimeca and Knierim finished with 179.04 points. “I was very calm today,” Scimeca said. “I was probably in the best place I’ve been before an event. I like that because I feel like I’m growing as an athlete to be able to get to that place.”
Marisa Castelli and Mervin Tran claimed the bronze medals in their second season together with 179.04 points. Though they started out strong in their Journey medley program, both skaters fell on different elements later in the program. “It wasn’t exactly what we wanted today, but I definitely think we fought through the whole program,” Castelli 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.”
“We have done cleaner skates before, but as far as getting the audience going with us and feeling the energy we want, just now we actually captured that spirit and had people really going with us,” Tran said. “It felt exhilarating halfway through that program.”
Madeline Aaron and Max Settlage finished in fourth place for the second consecutive year, while Jessica Calalang and Zack Sidhu were fifth.
2016 U.S. CHAMPIONSHIPS