It wasn't perfect, but they'll take it.
The first medals at the 2013 U.S. Figure Skating Championships were awarded today in the pairs' competition, with former World junior bronze medalists Marissa Castelli/Simon Shnapir grabbing their first U.S. title of their careers in the absence of reigning champions Caydee Denney/John Coughlin.
Pairs' free: Play-by-play
In first after a strong short program, Castelli/Shnapir did not look as comfortable in their free skate, making a couple of nervous errors that were not big enough to prevent them from winning. The most visible mistake was during their side-by-side spins, where Shnapir missed the entrance on his flying camel and had to wait for the music to catch up. They kept their composure and finished their program strongly, finishing with a 180.61, almost eight points ahead of the rest of the field.
With plenty of hype coming into the competition, Alexa Scimeca/Christopher Knierim debuted a new free skate and skated almost cleanly to move up and finish with the silver, just a fraction of a point ahead of unheralded pair Felicia Zhang/Nathan Bartholomay, who won the bronze. Zhang/Bartholomay were eighth last season at Nationals.
Showing massive improvement from the beginning of the season were Lindsay Davis/Mark Ladwig, who, like Scimeca/Knierim, are a newly-formed team this season. Ladwig took bronze last season with former partner Amanda Evora, and finished fourth today with Davis after skating the best free skate of their young career.
PAIRS (final standings)
1. Marissa Castelli/Simon Shnapir - 180.61
2. Alexa Scimeca/Christopher Knierim - 172.75
3. Felicia Zhang/Nathan Bartholomay - 172.02
4. Lindsay Davis/Mark Ladwig - 165.08
5. Haven Denney/Brandon Frazier - 162.27
6. Gretchen Donlan/Andrew Speroff - 159.67
7. Tarah Kayne/Daniel O'Shea - 148.32
8. Kiri Baga/Taylor Toth - 148.08
9. Tiffany Vise/Don Baldwin - 143.35
10. DeeDee Leng/Timothy LeDuc - 143.21