The biggest story of the night in pairs was that two-time defending national champions, Keauna McLaughlin and Rockne Brubaker, landed in 7th place. And that's pretty disastrous, particularly considering the competition. It's a beautiful program, but they honestly performed it like they were in practice or something. She fell on the side by side triple salchow, and then he kind of lost his balance on the footwork, which I'm not sure how much that affected them. She then fell on the death spiral, which really seemd like such a fluke, so sad. They had a 52.55.
Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett came out and did what is starting to be their trademark, a remarkably clean and confident short program. It was a great job - in the air the throw triple flip looked like it could go either way, but it was a perfectly clean landing. It wasn't the most beautiful or technically demanding program, but they nailed it and it was all clean. They ended up with a 63.01.
Caitlin Yankowskas and John Coughlin were awesome! They are so soft and smooth; no major errors, although he appeared to maybe have done an extra rotation on the side by side spins. They had a 62.09.
Amanda Evora and Mark Ladwig find themselves in podium position, the third place slot. Ladwig turned out of the side by side triple toe loops, then she put her foot down on their throw. Not the strongest performance. But, this is pairs, so, hey! Third place! 58.76, slightly ahead of Inoue and Baldwin.
Rena Inoue and John Baldwin gambled with their throw triple axel and it didn't quite pay off - she could not hold onto the landing. Their throw triple twist was terrible, with a complete collision. Then Baldwin fell out of a spin. I'll add that their side by side jumps were (clean) double axels, rather than triples. This pair should thank their lucky stars that they are no lower than fourth. They wound up with a 57.77.
Castile and Okolski started out beautifully with their triple twist and throw triple salchow (which was a bit forward but looked ok), then blew up the program when he fell on the side by side triple salchow (which she popped anyway). 55.64.
The competition concludes tonight. It'll be very interesting to see if McLaughlin and Brubaker can come back and make that Olympic team.