U.S. Figure Skating and PSA Announce Coaches of the Year

Dalilah Sappenfield accepts her U.S. Figure Skating/PSA Coach of the Year award.
Photo by Lee Green

(6/4/08) - Five exceptional individuals were recognized by U.S. Figure Skating and the Professional Skaters Association for their hard work and achievement in the sport of figure skating at the 2008 PSA International Conference and Trade Show, May 22-24 in Chicago, Ill. Dalilah Sappenfield was named Coach of the Year, Yaroslava Netchaeva and Iouri Tchesnitchenko received Developmental Coaches of the Year honors, the Paul McGrath Choreographer of the Year Award went to Lori Nichol, and Christy Krall received the Pieter Kollen Sport Science Coaching award.

Sappenfield's teams swept the gold medals at the 2008 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Saint Paul, Minn, with Keauna McLaughlin & Rockne Brubaker (senior), Jessica Rose Paetsch & Jon Nuss (junior) and Brynn Carman & Christopher Knierim (novice) each earning top honors in their respective divisions. McLaughlin and Brubaker won silver at both of their Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series assignments and qualified for the Grand Prix Final. Sappenfield, who works out of the Broadmoor Skating Club in Colorado Springs, Colo., also coaches Brittany Chase & Andrew Speroff, who won novice silver at the 2008 U.S. Championships.

Sappenfield is a member of the U.S. Figure Skating Pairs and Judges committees and was a presenter at the recent ISU Pairs Seminar. This is the first time she has won this award.

The Coach of the Year award is given each year to the individual or team of coaches who have made a significant impact on an athlete's performance at the highest levels of national and international competition. The winner is selected by the U.S. Figure Skating Coaches Committee and PSA Board of Directors and must exemplify the best behavior within the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC), U.S. Figure Skating and PSA coaching standards, serving as a role model to both skaters and other coaches.

Iouri Tchesnitchenko and Yaroslava Netchaeva with Emily Samuelson and Evan Bates
Netchaeva and Tchesnitchenko (Ann Arbor FSC) were selected Developmental Coaches of the Year for the first time. Their specialty is ice dancing and together they coach two of the most promising teams in the United States: Emily Samuelson & Evan Bates and Madison Hubbell & Keiffer Hubbell. Samuelson and Bates won both of their Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series events, finished second at the Junior Grand Prix Final, came in fourth as seniors at the 2008 U.S. Championships and capped their season by being crowned World Junior champions. The Hubbells won the gold medal in the junior division at the 2008 U.S. Championships and placed fifth at the 2008 World Junior Figure Skating Championships. Netchaeva and Tchesnitchenko also coach U.S. novice pewter medalist ice dancers Anastasia Olson & Jordan Cowan.

The Developmental Coach of the Year award is presented annually to the individual or team of coaches who have made a significant impact on an athlete or athletes competing nationally at the developmental levels of juvenile, intermediate, novice and junior. As with the Coach of the Year award, the winner is selected by the U.S. Figure Skating Coaches Committee and PSA Board of Directors and must exemplify the best behavior within the USOC, U.S. Figure Skating and PSA coaching standards, serving as a role model to both skaters and other coaches.

This is the fourth time Nichol has won Choreographer of the Year; the previous three were in 1996, 1998 and 2001. She choreographed the short program and free skate for the both the U.S. ladies (Mirai Nagasu) and men's (Evan Lysacek) champion. Nichol also choreographed the free skates for World Junior champion Rachael Flatt and World Junior silver medalist Caroline Zhang

Christy Krall works with Christopher Knierim at the Nataional Pairs Camp.
The Paul McGrath Award is given each year to a choreographer who has created a program or programs performed by skaters at the U.S. Championships or World Championships that are considered to be of exceptional quality under the rules of figure skating. The winner is selected by the U.S. Figure Skating Coaches Committee, International Committee and PSA Board of Directors.

Krall served as a consultant to other coaches using a program called DartTrainer that analyzes a skater's jumps and spins. A member of the U.S. Figure Skating Sports Sciences and Medicine Committee and the Coaches Committee, Krall has presented at PSA Nationwide Seminars and the U.S. Figure Skating Pairs Camp. Among the skaters with whom she works regularly are U.S. men's fourth-place finisher Jeremy Abbott, U.S. junior ladies champion Alexe Gilles, U.S. novice ladies champion Marissa Secundy and the pairs team of Carman and Knierim. This is the first time she has won this award.

The Pieter Kollen Sport Science Coaching Award is for a coach who utilizes scientific techniques and/or equipment as an integral part of his/her coaching methods and/or is involved in research, development, publication and education in the areas of sport science and medicine as it relates to figure skating and coaching.

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