After three hard years in the senior ranks trying to make it into the International Skating Union’s prestigious Grand Prix series, Brendan squeaked in to the opening GP of the season at Skate America in Milwaukee this weekend, ranked 12th out of 12.
He saw his chance and he took it.
It took a stellar free program to smash his PB and overcome a weaker short program to score over 200 points, ending up in 8th place overall beating out the likes of an out-of-form Olympic and World Bronze Medallist Denis Ten and last year’s Skate Canada winner, Takahito Mura.
Skating first in the short program, Brendan landed a fast, high quad toe-loop and backed it up with a triple axel. The lutz combo failed and he had a problem on one of the three required spins. Costly mistakes, but a there’s a new, certain calm in his skating and even though the score was 14 points lower than he would have liked, he placed 11th with 65.41 points.
His new free program, to Beethoven’s Five Secrets by One Republic, is the perfect vehicle for this emerging talent and showcases his smooth skating skills and technically superb jumps.
Starting out the free program with a soaring quad toe-loop, Brendan also landed two triple axels plus a further four triple jumps. Despite singling out an axel toward the end of the four and half minutes, what stood out was his new-found composure, attention to detail and improved artistic delivery.
It was the performance he’s been searching for and delivered in spades with a score of 138.07, bringing his overall total to a new personal best of 203.48 points.
“It’s definitely a breakthrough and I’m very happy,” Brendan said of his result in Milwaukee. “It was a good turn around after the mistakes in the short program.”
“It was hard starting the season with a stress fracture, which meant I had to pull out of a warm-up comp at Salt Lake City last month. However, it was a PB at Skate America and I'm consistently putting out the big elements and catching up to the top skaters in the world.”
Coach Tammy Gambill believes the free skate performance was a turning point.
“I’m so proud of Brendan, and proud of both programs he skated at Skate America.”
Brendan, who lives full-time in Los Angeles, had recently sustained a bony stress injury to the second metatarsal in his left foot.
“The injury meant I had to stay off the ice for a while and when I got back on the ice, I needed new boots and we had to be careful of the quads.”
But it’s all good now.
“My boots are good, my foot is good, my brain is good and so is my body. I’m good to go.”
The event was won by Max Aaron of the USA scoring 258.95 points, with Japanese skater Shoma Uno in second with a score of 257.43 and the final place on the podium going to Jason Brown, also of America, with a score of 238.47.
Captions: Brendan Kerry with coach Tammy Gambill in the stands after the free program