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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Junior Worlds Men's Preview

In what promises to be a tough event, two of the three medalists from last season have returned along with four of the six competitors from the Junior Grand Prix Final.  To land on the podium, these skaters will need a triple axel and possibly even a quad.  

As competitive as this event promises to be, there are several notable absences.  Maxim Kovtun won the Junior Grand Prix Final and holds the top junior score for the season but will be heading to Senior Worlds instead.  Nathan Chen set the 2nd highest junior score of the season at his lone JGP event but injury and illness kept him from qualifying for the team.  Harrison Choate has the 9th best junior score of the season but also did not qualify for one of the three US men's slots.  

Joshua Farris settled for silver by the slimmest of margins at last year's Junior Worlds.  He has come back stronger this season, adding a quad to his free skate and showcasing consistent triple axels.  In addition to his jumping capability, he has good artistic skills, musicality and a nice style on the ice.  He recently won the pewter medal at the US Championships.  Since he competed as a senior at nationals, he also is reverting to a junior program.  His biggest competition would have come from Han Yan and Maxim Kovtun but as both of them are making the trip to senior worlds, this is his event to lose.

Jason Brown won the bronze medal last season.  While he has added a triple axel to his programs it is not always consistent and a pop could cost him points.  He did land a triple axel + triple toe at nationals.  Unfortunately for him, he's still a bit behind the technical curve as the other top men have mastered the triple axel and moved on to quads.  He'll need to land all of his jumps and then rely on his PCS if he wants to keep pace with Yan and Farris.  

Boyang Jin burst onto the scene this season, winning gold at JGP France and silver at JGP Slovenia.  He has already Jason Brown in head to head competition.  However, he slipped to 5th at the Junior Grand Prix Final.  His scores have been fairly consistent all season and he'll need to improve if he wants a shot at the podium here.  He has quads in his repertoire and likely just needs more experience to develop everything else.  

Ryuju Hino won two medals on the Junior Grand Prix to qualify for the JGP Final and just edged out Jason Brown for the final spot on the podium.  His performance at the Final was a personal best and 13 points higher than his best JGP performance this season.  If he can repeat or improve on that, he'll be in the running for a medal.

Alexander Samarin is only fourteen years old but his two JGP bronze medals make him a dark horse for this event.  He hasn't competed internationally since JGP Germany and I'd expect to see a big improvement in his scores at this event.  However, he is a young skater at his first ISU Championship with little competitive experience.  If he can handle the nerves and fly under the radar, he should have a strong showing.

Shoma Uno has show improvement this season going from 6th at his first JGP assignment to the silver medal at JGP Germany.  He competed at the same events as Samarin and they flip-flopped results.  He also hasn't competed internationally since Germany and was a late replacement for this event but should be able to improve on his 10th place finish last year.

He Zhang is the third Chinese skater at this event and has sat out this season due to injury.  He finished 6th at Junior Worlds last season.  If he is back to last season's form, he could give China three skaters in the top 10.  

My podium predictions:
Gold: Joshua Farris
Silver: Jason Brown
Bronze: Boyang Jin

Bios of the competitors:
Slavik Hayrapetyan, ARM: He placed 18th in the preliminary round at Worlds and 26th at Junior Worlds last season.  His personal best is 128.97.  He is 16 years old.

David Kranjec, AUS: He finished 23rd at Four Continents.  He placed 12th at JGP Slovenia and 10th at JGP Croatia.   His personal best is 150.20.  He is 18 years old.


Pavel Ignatenko, BLR: He placed 30th at Junior Worlds last season.  He finished 13th at Europeans.  He finished 7th at JGP Turkey and 11th at JGP Croatia.  His personal best is 171.18.  He is 17 years old.

Luiz Manella, BRA: He placed 16th at Junior Worlds last season.  His personal best is 162.53.  He is 18 years old.

Iassen Petkov, BUL: He placed 11th at JGP Turkey and 18th at JGP Croatia.  His personal best is 136.61.  He is 19 years old.

Mitchell Gordon, CAN: He placed 8th at JGP Austria and 12th at JGP Croatia.  His personal best is 162.62.  He is 16 years old.

Nam Nguyen, CAN:  He placed 13th at Junior Worlds last season.  He finished 9th at JGP France and won bronze at JGP Turkey.  His personal best is 171.56.  He is 14 years old.


Boyang Jin, CHN: He won gold at JGP France and silver at JGP Slovenia to qualify for the JGP Frinal where he finished 5th.  His personal best is 194.13.  He is 15 years old.  He has the 9th best short program, 7th best free skate and 7th best total scores.

He Zhang, CHN: He finished 6th at Junior Worlds last season.  His personal best is 193.97.  He is 16 years old.

Chih-I Tsao, TPE: He finished 23rd at Junior Worlds last season.  He placed 11th at JGP USA and 9th at JGP Croatia.  His personal best is 155.30  He is 15 years old.

Petr Coufal, CZE: He placed 17th at Junior Worlds last season.  He finished 4th at JGP Austria and 7th at JGP Croatia.  His personal best is 175.72.  He is 18 years old.

Samuel Koppel, EST: His personal best is 94.11,  He is 17 years old.

Matthias Versluis, FIN: He placed 21st at Junior Worlds last season.  He finished 13th at JGP Austria and 11th at JGP Germany.  His personal best is 143.20.  He is 18 years old.

Simon Hocquaux, FRA: He finished 10th at JGP France.  His personal best is 143.71.  He is 17 years old.

Martin Rappe, GER: He placed 11th at Junior Worlds last season.  He finished 9th at JGP USA and 5th at JGP Germany.  His personal best is 171.38.  He is 19 years old.

Jamie Whiteman, GBR: His personal best is 115.56.  He is 18 years old.

Kristof Forgo, HUN: He placed 16th at JGP Croatia.  His personal best is 131.02.  He is 19 years old.

Antonio Panfili, ITA: He placed 16th at JGP Slovenia.  His personal best is 128.05.

Ryuju Hino, JPN: He placed 9th at Junior Worlds last season.  He won bronze at JGP France and silver at JGP Austria to qualify for the JGP Final where he won bronze.  His personal best is 198.92.  He is 18 years old.  He has the 6th best short program, 6th best free skate and 5th best total scores.

Shoma Uno, JPN: He finished 10th at Junior Worlds last season.  He placed 6th at JGP Slovenia and won silver at JGP Germany.  His personal best is 188.48.  He is 15 years old.  He has the 8th best short program, 9th best free skate and 8th best total scores.  

Julian Zhi Jie Yee, MAS: He finished 20th in the preliminary round at Junior Worlds last season.  He placed 21st at JGP Slovenia.  His personal best is 112.93.  He is 15 years old.

Sondre Oddvoll Boe, NOR: He placed 15th at JGP France and 12th at JGP Austria.  His personal best is 134.88.  He is 15 years old.

Michael Christian Martinez, PHI: He placed 15th at Junior Worlds last season.  He finished 16th at Four Continents.  He finished 4th at JGP USA and 6th at JGP Croatia.  His personal best is 178.08.  He is 16 years old.

Kamil Dymowski, POL: He finished 28th at Junior Worlds last season.  He finished 12th at JGP Turkey.  His personal best is 128.77.  He is 17 years old.

June Hyoung Lee, KOR: He finished 18th at Junior Worlds last season.  He placed 17th at Four Continents.  He placed 5th at JGP USA and 9th at JGP Turkey.  His personal best is 176.48.  He is 16 years old.

Catalin Dimitrescu, ROU: He finished 22nd at JGP Turkey.  His personal best is 101.33.  He is 14 years old.

Mikhail Kolyada, RUS: He placed 6th at JGP France.  His personal best is 177.55.  He is 18 years old.


Alexander Samarin, RUS: He won bronze at JGP Slovenia and JGP Germany.  His personal best is 183.03.  He is 14 years old.  He has the 10th best total score.

Marco Klepoch, SVK: He placed 16th at JGP Austria and 22nd at JGP Slovenia.  His personal best is 109.36.  He is 15 years old.

Victor Bustamante, ESP: He placed 15th in the preliminary round at Junior Worlds last season.  He finished 12th at JGP France and 7th at JGP Germany.  His personal best is 149.21.  He is 18 years old.

Ondrej Spiegl, SWE: He placed 15th at JGP Slovenia and 15th at JGP Croatia.  His personal best is 142.25.  He is 19 years old.

Nicola Todeschini, SUI: He finished 14th at JGP Austria and 10th at JGP Germnay.  His personal best is 128.98.  He is 15 years old.

Giray Senol, TUR: He placed 16th at JGP Turkey and 23rd at JGP Slovenia.  His personal best is 136.33.  He is 15 years old.

Ivan Pavlov, UKR: He placed 8th at JGP France and JGP Turkey.  His personal best is 149.87.  He is 14 years old.  

Jason Brown, USA: He is the reigning World Junior Bronze Medalist.  He won silver at JGP France and gold at JGP Turkey to qualify for the JGP Final where he finished 4th.  His personal best is 214.90.  He is 18 years old.  He has the 5th best short program, 5th best free skate and 6th best total scores.

Joshua Farris, USA: He is the reigning Junior World Silver Medalist.  He won gold at JGP USA and gold at JGP Slovenia to qualify for the JGP Final where he won silver.  His personal best is 221.97.  He is 18 years old.  He has the 2nd best short program, 3rd best free skate and 3rd best total scores.

Shotaro Omori, USA: He finished 4th at JGP Turkey and 4th at JGP Germany.  His personal best is 172.56.  He is 17 years old.

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