This is another small field with several young teams with a season of international experience under their belt ready to make their mark. Surprisingly in an event which has been dominated by the Russians in recent years, the Russians are only sending one team and that team placed 11th at their nationals last season and seems unlikely to medal.
Bent and Mackeen are the only team in this field to have won a JGP medal, taking home the bronze at JGP Austria. They also finished 5th at Junior Worlds and with several of the top teams moving up to the senior circuit, are early favorites to make a run for the podium. They did struggle a bit last season finishing nearly 11 points lower in their 2nd JGP event than their first.
McNamara and Carpenter are one of the more exciting teams to watch and always have innovative programs and fresh takes on what other teams are doing. They're entering their 4th season as juniors, but this is only their 2nd international season and they are still an extremely young team. They still have some work to do but they show much more polish than other teams their age. They just missed the podium on the JGP last season and finished just outside the top 10 at Junior Worlds but had good showing at the Lake Placid Ice Dance Championships earlier this summer. They showed improvement in their scores throughout the season last year and are ready to break through into the top ranks.
Elizabeth and Le Gac of France finished 15th at Junior Worlds and racked up two top 10 ten finishes on the JGP circuit. They might be able to make the big leap onto the podium at this event. They'll have to fend off Korotitskaia and Spodirev of Ukraine who placed just off the podium at both of their events and Pogrebinsky and Gudis who started strong last season but struggled in their 2nd event.
My podium predictions:
Bios of the competitors:
Kaunatskaia/Lukouski, BLR: They finished 20th at JGP Turkey last season. Their personal best is 58.18. She is 15 and he is 17.
Bent/Mackeen, CAN: They finished 5th at Junior Worlds. They won bronze at JGP Austria and placed 4th at JGP Croatia last season. Their personal best is 129.16. She is 16 and he is 19.
Elizabeth/Le Gac, FRA: They placed 15th at Junior Worlds. They finished 10th at JGP France and 10th at JGP Turkey last season. Their personal best is 111.87. She is 17 and he is 18.
Clarke/Dieck, GER: This is their JGP debut. She is 15 and he is 17.
Hauser/Lerche, GER: They placed 14th at JGP Croatia last season. Their personal best is 91.46. She is 18 and he is 20.
Staudt/Staudt, HUN: This is their JGP debut. She is 15 and he is 18.
Ghislandi/Ortenzi, ITA: This is their JGP debut. She is 14 and he is 17.
Jakushina/Grishins, LAT: They placed 28th at Junior Worlds. They finished 13th at JGP Austria last season. Their personal best is 73.77. She is 16 and he is 19.
Loboda/Drozd, RUS: This is their JGP debut. She is 14 and he is 18.
Korotitskaia/Spodirev, UKR: They finished 4th at JGP France and 5th at JGP Slovenia last season. Their personal best is 114.47. She is 15 and he is 19.
McNamara/Carpenter, USA: They placed 9th at Junior Worlds. They finished 6th at JGP France and 4th at JGP Turkey. Their personal best is 128.16. She is 14 and he is 17.
Pogrebinsky/Gudis, USA: They placed 6th at JGP USA and 11th at JGP Slovenia last season. Their personal best is 109.73. She is 15 and he is 17.