Over the weekend, Kerry, 22, climbed from fifth place after the short program in the Ondrej Nepela Trophy in Bratislava, Slovakia to the podium, claiming bronze with 221.21 points behind Russians Mikhail Kolyada (247.81) and Sergei Voronov (234.07).
“It's early in the season and people are still testing things out for the Olympic season, myself included. So, going from fifth to third is awesome. However, it really could've been anyone's on the night,” Kerry said.
The overall bronze was a repeat podium appearance by Kerry from the previous week in Italy at the Lombardia Trophy in a stronger field that was won by World silver medallist Shoma Uno (Japan) with silver going to Jason Brown (USA).
Kerry opened his season in Italy delivering his most technically difficult short program so far, including two different quads for the first time. He also stepped up the artistic complexity and was rewarded with a personal best Program Components score that bettered his 2017 World Championship score.
Crucial to international figure skaters is the all-important world rankings that determine the order in which skaters compete at Championship and Olympic events. Kerry’s aim is to break into the World top ten.
“Getting these world ranking points early in the season will help take the stress off having to rush and do last minute comps pre-Olympics,” Kerry said.
The ISU Challengers are a ten-event series throughout Europe and North America, which this season are attracting top-ranked skaters in preparation for the invitational only Grand Prix events that begin in October.
“Lombardia was a strong competition, which was good and very motivating to be on the ice with Shoma. The event went well for my first time trying a two-quad short program,” said Kerry of his season opener in Italy.
Achieving back-to-back podiums secures Kerry’s position in the overall ISU Challenger rankings and lifts his World Ranking going into the Grand Prix series ahead of PyeongChang 2018.
Kerry’s bronze in Italy marked the first time an Australian man had won a Challenger medal and is an indication of how far the Sochi Olympian has come in four years.
He will return to his training base at Riverside, Los Angeles with coach Tammy Gambill before competing in the Grand Prix series at Skate Canada in late October.
Australian Ladies Champion, Kailani Craine also had a strong Challenger event in Bratislava. The 19-year-old finished eighth on 157.84 points behind winner and current World Champion Evgenia Medvedeva from Russia whose overall total of 226.72 was more than 37 points clear of silver medallist Rika Hongo from Japan.
2014 Sochi Olympian Brooklee Han was also competing in another Challenger event: the Autumn Classic International in Montreal,Canada. After placing fourth and recording a personal best short program score of 57.65, Han finished the event in seventh place overall with a score of 158.81.