Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Oltmanns and Santillan ready to leave it all on the ice in Omaha

Olivia Oltmanns and Joshua Santillan are heading to Omaha for their 3rd nationals as juniors.  (You can read last year's pre-San Jose interview here.)  The Eastern Sectionals champions finished 9th in 2012 and are hungry for the podium.  Santillan took some time during training in Canada to answer some questions about their preparation for Omaha.

You competed at JGP Lake Placid.  What was it like to compete at an international on home ice?
It was a really great experience to compete in the US for the US. Unfortunately, I didn't feel like we really put our best effort forward, so I hope sometime in the future we can have another opportunity to represent our country on home ice. 

You won gold at Eastern Sectionals.  What kind of momentum does that give you going into nationals?
I think this definitely puts us in a better position than the last few years. It's the first sectionals I've won in pairs (I won novice in singles), so it's really exciting to go into nationals with that title. We hope to ride that momentum into the podium. 

This is your third year competing nationally at the junior level.  Do you think that gives you an advantage?
It certainly gives us an advantage over the first year teams. The second year teams skate with great poise also, so I feel like they're right there with us.

Seven of the teams who competed as juniors at nationals last season qualified as juniors again.  What will set you apart from the group this year?
Well, everything we do in both programs is a planned level 4, from the twists to the footwork to the spins and lifts. Because of the difficulty of the back press lift, most teams are unable to do a level four. With everything being so even in the short, we hope that can set us apart. I also feel like our maturity on the ice should help us in the second mark. 

You are aging out of juniors internationally after this season.  What kind of international assignments are you hoping for next year?
We want to do well enough that we're considered for a Senior B assignment. 

Are there any new technical elements that you've added this season or anything in particular you've been focusing on?
Our main focus this year has been consistency. If we can skate our programs clean, I feel like we're in contention. We also have been putting a lot of focus into the second mark [program components]. We chose to work with Rohene Ward again for our programs this year, and I feel like he really helped us get in touch with our emotions, especially in the free skate. 

What are your goals for nationals?
I'd like to put it all out on the ice. By that I mean I want to put forth our best and most emotional performance possible. So far, nationals hasn't produced the results we dream of, but I think if we lay it all out, we can put ourselves in position to medal. It's a really tough year, so our best will be required. 

I think one of the things that makes you so compelling as a team is your energy and performance on the ice, nice lift positions and intricate choreography.  What do you think has been holding you back from the podium and how are you working to address it?
Our consistency has definitely been a big roadblock for us. We tend to win every warm-up, but when the music turns on we can't put it all together. We're currently in Ontario, Canada working with Kris and Kristy Wirtz. They're helping us raise our confidence and increase consistency in the programs. 

Is there anything else you want people to know?
Olivia and I are in our fourth season together and hope to make this one our best. The fans support is really great, so I hope everyone comes to watch our event at nationals. You can follow Olivia on twitter @oliviaoltmanns and me @joshloveshugs ... It'll be worth your while! Thanks for reading!

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