OMAHA, Neb.- Appearing at Nationals for the first time, the juvenile pairs team of Megan Griffin and Andrew Civiello of the Coyotes Skating Club of Arizona finished sixth Friday at the Omaha Civic Auditorium with a score of 35.09.
Joanna Hubbart and William Hubbart of the Southwest Florida FSC won the event with 48.16 points, well ahead of second-place Cate Hawkins and Eric Hartley from Queen City FSC.
Civiello, a 16-year-old sophomore at Horizon High School, said the routine “could have been better,” and he was pleased with the middle portion but the entire segment could have been slowed down for improvement.
“I liked it, it was fun, being here,” said 10-year-old Megan, who is a fifth grader at Pope John Elementary in Scottsdale.
Their coach, Doug Ladret, added that at 10, Megan is still considered young for her peers in the juvenile division and illustrated what will be needed to be done for the transition into intermediate.
“This was a big step this year,” he said. “One more jump, that would have been nice to have, I think these guys have some strong elements. They have good jumps, it’s just a matter of jumping together. That’s one thing a lot of people don’t understand compared to singles skating, you have to jump at the same time as somebody else. That takes a while to learn.”
Fourth place went to Greta and John Crafoord from Indianapolis (38.43), and fifth was the team of Laiken Lockley and Ryan Bedard (35.49).
The juvenile event was held at the Omaha Civic Auditorium, the original arena built in 1954 that hosted Nationals in 1967 when Peggy Fleming won the gold medal. It also hosted the NBA’s Kansas City-Omaha Kings in the mid-1970s.
Meanwhile, down the street at the CenturyLink Center, the senior dance took place, with Meryl Davis and Charlie White taking the lead with 79.02 points, as they gear for their fifth-consecutive U.S. title.
Five titles in ice dancing has been done five times before, most recently by Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto and Naomi Lang and Peter Tchernyshev in the decade preceding Davis and White.
“We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, but we plan to do a great job tomorrow,” Davis said. “Five titles has always been a goal, so we’re hoping to get to that company. We’re hoping to join that prestigious company, and it will be an honor.”
Madison Chock and Evan Bates are second (70.80), and two-time defending silver medalists Maia and Alex Shibutani are third (69.63).