The junior ice dancing season is over for most skaters.
But Egg Harbor Township's Anastasia Cannuscio and her partner, Colin McManus, will get one more opportunity to perform at the 2011 World Junior Figure Skating Championships in Gangneung, South Korea, Feb. 28-March 6. U.S. Figure Skating announced early Sunday morning the three teams that will compete. Each country gets one entry by default but can have as many as three by earning points in the previous year's championships.
Cannuscio, 18, and McManus capped off a successful season with a bronze medal at the 2011 U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Wednesday in Greensboro, N.C. The pair placed fourth in both the short and free dance events for a total of 122.86 points. They will join gold medal winners Charlotte Lichtman and Cannuscio's former partner, Dean Copely, and second-place finishers Lauri Bonacorsi and Travis Mager, in Korea. Cannuscio and McManus also won a silver medal at the first International Skating Union Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series event in Courchevel, France, in August and were fourth in September at the JGP series in Karuizawa, Japan.
"We kind of knew we were going because there are three spots and we got third place at nationals," Cannuscio said in a phone interview Monday. "I was at the competitive party (a week-ending celebration at nationals) when I got a text message from one of the team leaders from the JGP, Lindsey Weber. I was really excited. I ran and showed Colin, my coach and my friends and we hugged."
After the excitement settled down, Cannuscio called her older sister, Isabella, to tell her the good news. Last year, Isabella and partner Ian Lorello were named the first alternates for the U.S. team for the world junior championships in The Hague, Netherlands. The pair never got to skate, but Isabella, 20, said she was not disappointed.
She was impressed with how well she and Lorello performed this weekend in their first year at the senior level without the experience of junior worlds behind them. The duo has been named third alternate for the world championships in Tokyo, Japan in March.
"I'm a little jealous, but mostly of the jackets," the older Cannuscio joked. "They got cool jackets that have 'Team USA' on the back, which we never got last year. I was looking forward to them. We didn't go to Junior Worlds, so I was excited we were able to have such a great year following that.
"But I'm really excited for them and hopefully I'll get to go and watch."
Isabella said the senior level began requiring pairs to perform a specific dance called the golden waltz, with which she and Lorello had no experience. She also said it was hard adjusting to the speed and tempo at that level. The senior level is also more difficult because the free dance is 30 seconds longer and an extra lift is required.
"It was definitely a hurdle (learning the golden waltz)," Isabella said. "Improving on everything else was also extremely difficult. But I was happy we were able to take that step and show we can compete at the next level and against Olympians."
Anastasia and McManus will resume training Wednesday and work on perfecting their routines.
"Making it (to Junior Worlds) was our goal for the season, so now we just want to skate the best we can," Anastasia Cannuscio said. "Nationals this year was probably the best I've been to. I'm sure Junior Worlds is going to be amazing."
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