The 18-year-old figure skater from Newcastle took on a full school and training schedule leading up to her opening competition in Latvia this morning at the Volvo Cup, placing third in the short program, increasing her PB set as a junior last year by over four points to 54.14.
With Sydney coaches Galina Pachin and Kylie Fennell, Kailani trained two versions of her new short program, with and without a triple lutz and triple/triple combo.
Kailani decided to go with the safer option of a triple/double jump opener, delivering a clean seven-element program that attracted no edge calls or jump, which was a smart choice.
“Today wasn’t perfect but I’m happy,” Kailani said.
Coach Galina Pachin says going for the safer option has paid off.
“Because the ice is shorter, the triple lutz wouldn’t have been as good, so we decided to go with Plan B and it went well with a PB,” she said from Latvia.
Watching in Sydney was Kylie Fennell.
“It’s good for Kailani to put out a solid performance at the first comp of the season. I’m happy with the jumps - the spins were a little rushed but the extension has improved from last season. There’s still room for growth and that’s a good thing,” Fennell said.
Leading the field is Russian Aleksandrina Degtiarev on 58.30 points – a three point lead over Latvian Angelina Kuchvalska who skated a great program this morning.
Brooklee Han, Australia’s 2015 Sochi Olympian, is sitting in 8th after a solid skate on 45.66 points in the 27-strong field. The final will be skated early Sunday morning (AEDT).
AUSSIE POCKET ROCKET TAKES SILVER
Up-and-coming Australian Novice Champion Holly Harris is making heads turn in her break-out Junior international season.
Fresh from an 11th place in her first ISU Junior Grand Prix in Germany four weeks ago, Holly won silver at the Volvo Cup in Junior Ladies, splitting the Russian skaters Anastasiia Gubanova and Avgusta Jevseeva.
Recently turned 14, the Colorado-based Sydney skater has a mature, artistic skating style that belies her youth. The tiny ‘pocket rocket’ skates with a delicate passion, combined with a growing list of triple jumps – including the lutz.
Consistent performances in the short (3rd) and free (4th) scored a total of 145.06 and was enough to secure the silver behind Gubanova, who has made the Junior Grand Prix Final to be contested in France next month.