Alysa Liu Becomes First American Woman to Land Quadruple Lutz in Junior Grand Prix Win
(8/31/19) - History was made on Saturday night at Herb Brooks Arena as 2019 U.S. ladies champion Alysa Liu became the first American women to land a quadruple Lutz in a competition at the ISU Junior Grand Prix (JGP) Lake Placid 2019. In her record-breaking free skate, she also became the first woman in the world to land a quad and triple Axel in the same program in a competition. The 14-year-old went on to win gold in her junior international debut, topping the field by 21.52 points. Additionally, Avonley Nguyen and Vadym Kolesnik claimed gold in ice dance, marking their third career JGP medal and second win.
In her free skate sent to “Illumination” by Jennifer Thomas, Liu opened with a triple Axel-double toe loop combination and followed with her historic quad Lutz, which earned 13.80 points. The California-based skater fell on her second triple Axel, but went on to land six additional triple jumps and score 138.80 points for her free skate. Liu also secured Level 4 marks for her three spins and led the field in program components with a score of 59.66. All three of her scores marked new international bests as she took home the gold medal with a total score of 208.10.
“It’s a good learning experience since it is only my first Junior Grand Prix and one of my first big competitions this season,” Liu said. “I want to land all of my jumps and improve my skating skills and speed into all of my jumps. I need to work on my programs more [before my next Junior Grand Prix].”
Coming back after a tough short program, Emilia Murdock jumped from 13th to seventh place with her 98.28-point free skate. The 2019 U.S. junior bronze medalist opened with a triple flip-triple toe loop combination and landed four triple jumps in her program. She finished with 148.95 total points.
Just behind Murdock, Jessica Lin held her eighth place position, scoring 95.55 points in her free skate for 148.35 points overall.
The Republic of Korea’s Yeonjeong Park earned the silver medal with 186.58 points and Anastasia Tarakanova of Russia claimed bronze with 179.29 points.
Nguyen and Kolesnik continued to dominate in the free dance, scoring an international personal best 104.63 points to secure gold in Lake Placid. The duo secured positive GOE for all eight elements, including three elements over 2.00 and one over 3.00. The 2019 U.S. junior silver medalists notched two Level 4 lifts and one Level 4 combination spin. With 170.80 total points, the Novi-based team topped the field by over 10 points.
“After last season when we had a good season, I wanted to show that we have improved and we have gotten better and are ready to fight to achieve higher goals,” Kolesnik said.
“[Being in Lake Placid] is so different from other JGPs,” said Nguyen. “I almost forgot we were at one because we are in our home country and we have the home crowd here. It felt very comfortable. It was nice to have our teammates cheering in the stands.”
Also hailing from Novi, Michigan, Ella Ales and Daniel Tsarik scored 82.78 points for their free dance and 140.51 overall to finish in fifth place. Their routine included two Level 4 lifts and Level 4 twizzles. Ales and Tsarik secured career-bests for their rhythm dance and total score.
Americans Anna Lavrova and Maxwell Gart withdrew from competition after the rhythm dance.
Earning the silver medal, Russia’s Diana Davis and Gleb Smolkin scored 160.17, while Natalie Taschlerova and Filip Taschler of the Czech Republic captured the bronze medal with 150.00 points.
In the pairs competition, Kate Finster and Balazs Nagy led the U.S. contingent, finishing in sixth place with 133.09 total points. They scored 78.76 points for their free skate in their season debut.
Isabelle Martins and Ryan Bedard closed their international debut with an eighth-place free skate, scoring 79.82 points. They finished in 10th place with 120.99 total points.
Russia swept the pairs competition with Apollinariia Panfilova and Dmitry Rylov claiming gold (186.92), Kseniia Akhanteva and Valerii Kolesov earning silver (171.19), and Alina Pepeleva and Roman Pleshkov taking home the bronze medal (159.29).
On Friday night, the U.S. men all placed in the top seven, with Ilia Malinin finishing fourth in his JGP debut, 2019 U.S. junior champion Ryan Dunk finishing fifth and Joseph Klein taking the seventh spot in his international debut.
The 2019 ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series continues next week in Riga, Latvia. Stay up to date with all things Team USA on the U.S. Figure Skating Fan Zone.