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Awarding of Final Pairs Berth Creates Furor

January 09, 1994|RANDY HARVEY

DETROIT — Jenni Meno and Todd Sand of Costa Mesa, who competed in the 1992 Winter Olympics with different partners, will be going to the 1994 Games together after winning the pairs competition Saturday in the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

But two other 1992 Olympians, Natasha Kuchiki of Canoga Park and Rocky Marval of New Egypt, N.J., missed out on one of three pairs berths the United States will have in Norway by finishing fourth in a decision that was loudly booed by the crowd of 9,492 at Joe Louis Arena.

There was no argument with the scores awarded by the nine judges to Meno and Sand or the runners-up, Kyoko Ina and Jason Dungjen of Monsey, N.Y., but third-place Karen Courtland and Toddy Reynolds of Newark, Del., had three falls in their freestyle program.

Kuchiki and Marval, who train together in Monsey, N.Y., made no major errors, but they might have lost the 5-4 decision by the judges because their program was not technically difficult.

They have been together only four months. Marval's former partner, Calla Urbanski, left him last summer. Kuchiki split with her former partner, Sand, in 1992.

In their first season together in 1993, Meno and Sand finished second in the national championships and fifth in the world. He skated last week with a black eye.

"Detroit's a tough town," he said. "But you should have seen the other guy."

Actually, Meno was the other guy, and she looked fine. She accidentally elbowed Sand in the right eye during a practice.

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