It was a year of firsts for me – first time competing as a Junior Man at Nationals, first appearance at a point-scoring International event, first opportunity to attend Champs Camp, and the first chance to train abroad with my own coaches. Last January at Nationals, the day after my 18th birthday, when Lindsay Weber informed me I had been selected for Junior Worlds, it was the best birthday present I could have ever imagined.
Bulgaria, where Junior Worlds were held last March, was a country I had never visited, offering an unexpected charm and warmth. The people I met were friendly and open, and I was honored to be a member of Team USA, along with my training partner, Curran Oi, and now two-time Junior World Champion, Adam Rippon. It was an eye-opener at the team dinner for me, however, when our team leader announced that all the other skaters would be in the second part of their initial warmups, but I would have to be in the first part because I had no ISU points. Talk about being the new kid on the block!
So the day of the short dawned to a bright and extremely early 4:30 a.m. (after two restless hours of sleep) and I found myself in the first warmup, planning on skating well enough to sleep in the next day! It went well, and my score held up in first place for five hours, ending with a ninth place Short Program score. Maybe sleep deprivation is the key for me…
For the long program, I found myself in the second to the last warmup, which was an unexpected bonus. My practices all week had gone extremely well, but I was disappointed in my long program, as it didn’t really represent what I have trained to do. Still, I was 9th in the long also, so I ended up in 10th overall.