(October 23, 2005)
Elizabeth Putnam and Sean Wirtz got the season off to a strong start at the 2005 Smart Ones Skate America.
Putnam, of Vancouver, and Wirtz, of Marathon, Ont., ranked fourth in the senior pair discipline in Canada, skated an outstanding program during Saturday evening’s free skate to move up from seventh after the short program to place third in the free skate and fourth overall.
Skating to Tchaikovski’s Piano Concerto No. 1, Putnam and Wirtz’s program featured an opening double Lutz-double Axel sequence, strong side-by-side triple Salchows, a throw triple Salchow and an impressive throw triple loop. The program was also highlighted by strong lifts.
Putnam and Wirtz earned 107.22 points for their free skate, bringing their combined points total to 154.42.
Also skating a strong performance were Jessica Dube and Bryce Davison. Dube and Davison, the 2004 Canadian Junior Pair Champions and two-time world junior silver medallists, were impressive in their ISU Grand Prix debut, with their only mistake in the free skate coming on the side-by-side triple Salchows when Dube touched down on the landing.
The judges awarded the program 104.30 points, bringing their combined total to 152.20, placing them sixth overall.
China’s Dan Zhang and Hao Zhang finished first with 179.14 points.
In the free dance, Vancouver’s Megan Wing and Aaron Lowe skated well during their Coppelia free dance, which was highlighted by strong twizzles and entertaining interpretation. Wing and Lowe placed fourth in the compulsory dance, fifth in the original dance and fourth in the free dance to finish fourth overall with 159.31 points.
West Vancouver’s Lauren Senft and Leif Gislason, of Winnipeg, also skated a strong free dance to finish eighth overall with 139.19 points in their first event on the ISU Grand Prix circuit.
Ottawa’s Siobhan Karam and Joshua McGrath, the 2005 Canadian Junior Ice Dance Champions, who were also skating in their first ISU Grand Prix event, earned 129.84 points for 10th-place overall.
Earning the gold medal were Americans Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto, who were awarded a total of 190.45 points.
The ladies also took to the ice for the free skate on Saturday night.
Mira Leung, of Vancouver, skating in her second season on the ISU Grand Prix circuit, placed fifth in the short program and eighth in the free skate to finish with a total of 125.82 points and place sixth overall.
Russia’s Elena Sokolova won the gold medal with 163.02 points.
The ISU Grand Prix series continues on Thursday with the 2005 MasterCard Skate Canada International at Mile One Stadium in St. John’s, N.L.