Here were the final standings:
Anna Pogorilaya (RUS): 53.81 (SP) + 106.71 (FS) = 160.52 (1st)
How about that? Anna earned her trip to the JGPF in the final stretch, finishing third last week and earning gold this week. Back-to-back events are pretty tough but Miss Anna held her own here with two solid performances. I'm not a huge fan of her skating, though I do think she covers the ice quite well. Her jumps aren't nearly as neat and effortless-looking as some of her Russian teammates, but Anna brings the firepower when she needs it. She nailed her 3T-3T in the SP and hit both of her 2A-3T combos in the FS. She was able to move up from 3rd in the SP to win the FS and the title and a trip to the Final.
Miyabi Oba (JPN): 51.49 (SP) + 93.02 (FS) = 144.51 (2nd)
Miyabi has potential to be a good skater but as of now, she kinda bores me. She goes through the motions of her choreography without really connecting to the music or the movements...it's just not that enjoyable to watch. Miyabi had a solid SP even though she URed her 3L-3T combo. Despite her 5th place SP she was able to have a decent FS, though she wasn't without problems. She had one big error (fall on a 3S) and several little errors, namely almost tripping after coming out of a jump and completely missing on her flying sit spin. Even with the relatively low score for her FS, it was enough to bump her from 5th all the way up to 2nd overall.
Maria Stavitskaia (RUS): 57.07 (SP) + 86.45 (FS) = 143.52 (3rd)
I love Maria's appearance on the ice: long arms and legs...that's a quick way for a skater to get my attention. She came in armed with her opera music (was that Madame Butterfly? I couldn't tell...) and her this-is-just-practice-for-me looking unitard. I honestly thought she'd lost her costume and put on her practice clothes until I saw the back. It's not what I expected to see in terms of costume with this music but you know...meh. Anyway, Maria threw down the gauntlet in the SP with a 3Lz-3T, 3F and high level spins and found herself in first place heading into the FS. She has pretty and tight rotations in the air but not a lot of height in her jumps. A couple of URs and a fall cost Maria a points and she wasn't able to hold her lead and had to settle for bronze. Not a bad way to go out though.
As for the rest...
I expected Leah Keiser (USA, 4th) to be first or second here...not miss the podium completely. She started off strong in the SP but had a number of problems in the FS. Lucky for her, those 9pts she earned from 4th place were just enough to sneak her into the Final...
Glad to see Gabrielle Daleman (CAN, 5th) make the top 5 but this was not a good outing for her by any stretch of the imagination...
Samantha Cesario (USA) was another skater I expected to make the podium. She skated poorly in the SP, placing 10th. Samantha had to withdraw from the FS...the thought is she suffered another injury. That poor girl just can't catch a break...
JGP Pokal marks the final event of the 2012 Junior Gran Prix, so that brings us to...
JGP Final Standings
After seven events, here are the final standings:
1. Elena Radionova (RUS, 30pts): No surprise to see Elena take the top qualifying spot. She's been on fire this season, winning both of her events by huge margins and turning in some really great performances. She's the overwhelming favorite to win in Sochi.
2. Angela Wang (USA, 26pts): To say she wasn't even guaranteed two events this season, I think Angela should be feeling pretty good about herself. Her bronze and gold medal combined with her high scores won her the tiebreaker against three other skaters. I'm hoping to see her continue to build on her excellent performances and skate well at the Final.
3. Anna Pogorilaya (RUS, 26pts): Anna made a mad dash to the Final and ended up earning a spot by securing medals at the last two events of the season. She lacks a lot of the refinement and charisma the other skaters have but she's proven she can be a threat.
4. Satoko Miyahara (JPN, 26pts): Satoko skated earlier in the season so it will be interesting to see what improvements she's made during her down time. She doesn't leave as big of an impression as some of the other girls but she's very capable of putting up big scores when she's on.
5. Hannah Miller (USA, 26pts): Hannah has had an overall solid season, winning silver in both of her events. I love her energy and spunk and I really think she has a great shot at hitting that podium if she can skate cleanly.
6. Leah Keiser (USA, 24pts): After winning her first event, I'm sure 4th at JGP Pokal was a disappointment...but no matter! Leah needs to work on fully rotating her 3-3s because she will need them against this field of ladies.
The first alternate is Hae Jin Kim of Korea; second alternate is Courtney Hicks of the US; and the third alternate is Miyabi Oba of Japan.
So it will be three Americans, two Russians and one Japanese lady in the Final. The way I see it the title has Elena's name on it already...HOWEVER, the ice is slippery. If she delivers I don't doubt the judges will give it to her but mistakes can open the door for Angela Wang who has comparable firepower and much better programs. The reality is anyone can have an on night and shine just like anyone can have an off night and tank. We'll have to see what happens. The Junior Gran Prix Final takes place in Sochi, Russia on December 6th-9th.
And now...onto the main event! The senior Gran Prix starts in two days! First up is Skate America where we'll see the kick-ass US champ, Ashley Wagner, as well as Americans Rachael Flatt and Christina Gao; the lovely Russian diva, Adelina Sotnikova, and her mess of teammate, Alena Leonova (just kidding, love you Alena!); plus Japan's Haruka Imai, Italy's Valetina Marchei, France's Mae Berenice Meite, Germany's Sarah Hecken and Sweden's Viktoria Helgesson. It should be a pretty good opener!
Let the season begin!