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U.S. FIGURE SKATING CHAMPIONSHIPS | JUNIORS

Donovan Impressive in Taking Title

January 12, 2002|Mike Terry

From the moment Louann Donovan stepped onto the ice at Staples Center to the fist-pumping salute she gave the crowd at the end of her long program, her eyes, body language and attitude said the same thing: This is my time, this is my championship.

The 15-year-old Boston native was in command of the U.S. figure skating junior women's final Friday, landing her triple jumps solidly and gliding over the ice with a combination of power and confidence beyond her youth.

"Obviously you have to be confident in yourself. But I just concentrated on skating my best and not worrying about the results," said Donovan, who was sixth in last year's junior final but got all the top marks from the nine judges to defeat Jennifer Don of Sugar Land, Texas.

Donovan was the first skater in the second group Friday and had to watch five other competitors try to match her scores.

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It was a different feeling for Colette Appel and Lee Harris.

They came to the junior pair finals this week hoping to learn from the experience. They left as the 2002 champions Friday after their polished performance and a bad outing for short-program leaders Amy Howerton of Rockwall, Texas, and Steven Pottenger of Coppell, Texas.

Appel, 15 from West Hartford, Conn., and Harris, 20, from Wethersfield, Conn., who were second after the short program, have been a pairs team for slightly more than a year. They were appearing in their first national competition and third overall, winning the 2002 Eastern Sectional and taking second in the 2001 Indy Challenge.

But on Friday they skated like a veteran duo, moving easily and confidently from one element to the next. They skated just before the final pair and had to wait to see if their marks, varying from 4.8s to 5.3s, would stand up.

They did because Howerton fell twice when tossed in the air by Pottenger during their long program. Their scores, ranging from 4.2s to 5.1s, dropped them to fifth.

"This is just amazing," Appel said. "We were hoping just to make the U.S. team, which we accomplished in August. We were coming here just to skate well and have fun."

Mike Terry

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