ST. LOUIS - The look on Austin Kanallakan’s face told the story. Following his junior men’s free program at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Tuesday night, Kanallakan appeared despondent. In the kissand-cry area, his eyes were downcast. Seated next to coach Tom Zakrajsek, who patted his back sympathetically, Kanallakan smacked his forehead with his palm. Skating last and hoping to move up from fifth place after the short program, Kanallakan had a shaky landing on his first jump and things went downhill from there on the Savvis Center ice sheet. Kanallakan, a member of Colorado Springs’ Broadmoor Skating Club, finished 13th and left the rink quickly. Kanallakan is just 14 and listed at 5-foot-4 and 100 pounds. He has room to grow. Kanallakan is competing in his first nationals at the junior level and was aiming for a spot on the junior world team, needing to be in the top three for likely inclusion. That goal appeared reasonable — he was second at the Junior Grand Prix final in November. He won the national novice title in 2005. “He felt the pressure today,” said Zakrajsek, who coaches at World Arena Ice Hall. “What I told him is, experience is what you get after you needed it. He definitely got some experience today.” Stephen Carriere, 16, of Wakefield, Mass., won the competition, landing seven triples. Kanallakan, a California native, recently moved to Colorado Springs from Lake Arrowhead, Calif., where he worked with Peter Oppegard for four years. Veteran Broadmoor skater Casey McCraw, 20, like Kanallakan coached by Zakrajsek, held steady, finishing sixth. Mc-Craw was sixth, one spot behind Kanallakan, after the short program. The novice pairs team of Jon Nuss and Jessica Rose Paetsch brought the first national title of 2006 to the Broadmoor club. Nuss and Paetsch, both Colorado Springs residents, are coached by Delilah Sappenfield. Brandon Mroz, 15, won silver in Monday’s novice men’s competition. Skating in his former hometown — Mroz moved from St. Louis to Colorado Springs to train — Mroz was in first after the short program by a narrow margin and lost out to Eliot Halverson of St. Paul, Minn., for the gold. The Broadmoor club’s senior dance team of Trina Pratt and Todd Gilles, both Colorado Springs residents coached by Patti Gottwein, are ninth after Tuesday’s compulsory dance and original dance. Earlier Tuesday, Aaryn Smith and Will Chitwood were sixth after the junior pairs short program, while Claire Davis and Nathan Miller are eighth. MeeRan Trombly and Nathaniel Hess are 14th, with the free skate set for Thursday. In novice dance Monday, Piper Gilles and Tim McKernan finished sixth, while Rachel Tibbetts and Eric Reinhard were 10th. Alexe Gilles placed sixth in the novice ladies event. Piper and Alexe Gilles are Todd Gilles’ younger twin sisters.
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