German National Championships 2020
The 121st German National Figure Skating Championships concluded Saturday with the Free Skating. Nicole Schott, Paul Fentz and pair skaters Minerva Fabienne Hase/Nolan Seegert defended their titles while ice dancers Katharina Müller/Tim Dieck claimed their first national title at the senior level.
Nicole Schott scores runaway victory
Nicole Schott scored a runaway victory and claimed her fifth National title with 40 points to spare. Aya Hatakawa and Kristina Isaev took the silver and bronze medals.
Schott shone again on home ice and put out a strong performance of her Asian-themed program. She landed a triple flip-triple toe as well as three more triples and two double Axels. The only glitch was a double loop. The 2018 Olympian scored 194.60 points. “I am quite satisfied except for the double loop. There are some points missing and maybe I would have cracked the 200 if I had done a triple,” Schott said. “My goal for Europeans is to skate two clean programs. As soon as the programs are clean, there’s a lot possible,” she added. The 23-year-old is aiming at a top ten finish at Europeans and eyes the top six.
Hatakawa made a few errors on jumps and ranked third in the Free Skating, but overall held on to second place at 154.54 points. Isaev landed three clean triples to move up from fifth to third on 149.61 points. Tina Helleken dropped from third to fourth place (147.26 points).
Paul Fentz rebounds to complete hattrick
Paul Fentz rebounded from the Short Program to complete the hattrick, taking his third consecutive National title. Jonathan Heß pulled up from third to second while Thomas Stoll slipped from first to third.
Fentz, who stood in second place following the Short Program, opened the performance to “Still Standing” by Elton John with an excellent quad toe and followed up with a triple Axel-triple toe, another triple Axel and three more triple jumps. He only doubled a Lutz. The 27-year-old from Berlin earned 227.76 points. “The training has been going well in the past few weeks and I’ve skated good programs in practice. I am very pleased with my program today. It was almost flawless, I was just lacking the last five percent of concentration when I doubled the Lutz at the end,” Fentz said. “I was determined to do the quad toe in the short as well and it (doing triple instead) was a wake up call,” he continued. The 2018 Olympian was kicked out of the main team envelope and lost most of his funding because of some disciplinary issues. Coming out strong at Nationals and qualifying for Europeans was a gratifying result for Fentz.
Heß is a very promising skater but struggled with illness and injuries in the past. He now seems back on his way up and gave a solid performance of his program to “Three Musketeers”, even though he was handicapped by a broken boot. Nevertheless, he pulled off two triple Axels (he stepped out of the second one) as well as three more triples. The 19-year-old collected 186.86 points. „I think this result is thanks tot he consistency in practice in the past weeks. In the short program I was able to prove that I can put out a nice program, but I didn’t like the spins and the levels and this is something we’ll work on. In the free it was a bit exhausting, but I’ve worked for my second place and I put my heart into it,” Heß shared.
Overnight leader Stoll missed his triple Axel and wobbled on a few other jumps to come third on 182.94 points. Kai Jagoda was ranked second in the Free Skating with a good performance and moved up from fifth to fourth place.
Müller/Dieck dance to first title
Katharina Müller/Tim Dieck danced off with the gold medal, after taking silver in the past four years. Jennifer Janse van Rensburg/Benjamin Steffan took the silver and the bronze went to last year’s champions Shari Koch/Christian Nüchtern.
Müller/Dieck turned in an entertaining program, taking the roles of Coco Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld. They collected a level four for the spin, lifts, twizzles and one foot step sequence while the diagonal step sequence merited a level three. The team from Dortmund got 192.96 points. “It means a lot to us to have won this first national title. We fought for it and it was a confirmation of what we’ve done so far. We ran after it for four years, and today and yesterday we were able to give the best possible performance at this moment, which makes us very happy,” Müller said.
Janse von Rensburg/Steffan impressed with a powerful performance to “Paint It Black” and earned a level four for all elements. They edged Müller/Dieck in the Free Dance but overall came second on 189.21 points. “I am proud of how we skated today, it was a great free dance,” Steffan said. “Obviously we’re not pleased with the final result, but this was not in our hands. However, we’ve come close to the others and we’ve overtaken them internationally already. We’re on the right track and we’re continuing to work,” he added.
Koch/Nüchtern’s performance was strong as well, but they lost a few points in the one foot step sequence that garnered a level two and three (178.34 points).
Hase/Seegert repeat as Pairs champions
Minerva Fabienne Hase/Nolan Seegert repeated as Pairs champions and the new team of Annika Hocke/Robert Kunkel came second. There were only two teams competing after Elena Pavlova/ Ruben Blommaert had to withdraw before Short Program due to Pavlova falling ill.
Skating to “House of Rising Sun”, Hase/Seegert completed a side by side triple toe-double toe , triple twist and throw triple Salchow as well as difficult lifts. However, Hase stumbled on the triple Salchow and two-footed the throw triple loop. The Rostelecom bronze medalists picked up 191.91 points. „This is our second title and the free was not without mistakes on the throw and the jump. We lost some training time because of Christmas, some shows and Minnie (Minerva Hase) being sick,“ Seegert explained.
Hocke/Kunkel made a few errors in their “Grease” routine as well. Hocke fell on the triple Salchow and two-footed the throw triple loop. The ISU Junior Grand Prix Finalists scored 176.70 points.
The champions in all four categories plus Hocke/Kunkel were selected for the team for Europeans. Reinhard Ketterer, Vice-President of the German Skating Union overall was pleased with the level of competition. “The quality of the German Championship was better than last year in Stuttgart. We are very pleased with some individual performances,“ he noted.
Full results are available on the DEU website.
Oberstdorf welcomed the 121st German National Championships with an opening ceremony and traditional “Alphorn” music. The mountain village hosts the Championship for the 16th time.
Thomas Stoll and coach Viola Striegler
Stoll captures Men’s Short at German Nationals
Thomas Stoll surprisingly captured the lead in the Men’s Short Program at the German National Championships in Oberstdorf on Thursday. Stoll put out a solid performance to “Istanbul Not Constantinopel” that included a triple Axel, triple Lutz-triple toe and triple loop to beat defending champion Paul Fentz with 75.79 points. “This was the best short program of my life so far,” said Stoll, who comes like Fentz from Berlin. “The jumps were great, the Axel especially and the loop was easy. However, the combination could have been better,” Stoll elaborated. He felt a little off in the footwork. “Maybe because I’m on painkillers,” he explained and added that he has trouble with his left thigh since December 19th. “I don’t know what’s wrong, but I was in hellish pain today,” he said.
Skating to “Blue Skies”, Fentz tripled his opening quad and the landing was awkward. He recovered to nail a good triple Axel but could do only a triple Lutz-double toe for the combination. The 2018 Olympian scored 71.03 points, just holding off Jonathan Heß on 70.28 points. Heß, who competes in his first senior-level Nationals, pulled off a triple Axel, triple toe-triple toe and a triple Lutz in his playful program to “L.O.V.E.” He revealed that his left skating boot broke just before the competition. He had secured it with multiple layers of tape. “As long as I feel confident for the jumps it is fine,” he said.
Catalin Dimitrescu is currently ranked fourth on 65.13 points. He landed a triple Axel but fell on the triple toe-triple toe combination.
Hase/Seegert lead the Pairs
Minerva Fabienne Hase/Nolan Seegert took the Pairs Short Program ahead of Annika Hocke/Robert Kunkel. There are only two teams competing as Elena Pavlova/Ruben Blommaert have withdrawn. Pavlova has been taken ill.
Hase/Seegert delivered a solid performance that featured a triple twist, side by side triple toe and throw triple loop. The side by side spin was out of unison. “I wobbled in the spin,” Seegert admitted. “Overall it was a solid run-through, but nothing special,” he added. The defending champions picked up 67.49 points.
Hocke/Kunkel also skated well, producing a triple twist and throw triple flip, but they decided to stick with the junior version of their program and chose the double Axel as their solo jump. The ISU Junior Grand Prix Finalists scored 63.52 points.
Katharina Müller/Tim Dieck with coaches Anjelika Krylova and Vitali Schulz
Müller/Dieck dance to strong lead in Rhythm Dance
The Ice Dance competition had looked quite open as the top three German teams were close to each other in earlier competitions this season. However, Katharina Müller/Tim Dieck danced to a strong lead ahead of Jennifer Janse van Rensburg/Benjamin Steffan with almost four points to spare.
Müller/Dieck’s dance to “Burlesque” was highlighted by level-four twizzles, a level-four Finnstep Pattern Dance and a level-four rotational lift. The students of Anjelika Krylova earned 76.57 points and are close to get their first National title after finishing second the past four years. “We are definitely pleased with what we’ve done today. I think it was the best short dance of the season,” Dieck commented. “Katharina and I had a great connection since the day started and we are well prepared,” he continued.
Janse van Rensburg/Steffan put out an upbeat dance to “Cabaret”, picking up a level for the Finnstep, the rotational lift and her twizzles. The midline step sequence merited only a level two and Steffan wobbled on the twizzles that were rated a level three for him (72.65 points). “I had a bobble on the twizzles, but the rest of the program was very good,” Steffan said. His partner recently got married and changed her last name from Urban to Janse van Rensburg, in case you wonder if Steffan got a new partner.
Defending champions Shari Koch/Christian Nüchtern finished third on 70.23 points with a dance to music from the Blues Brothers. They lost points in the Finnstep and his twizzles that garnered only a level two. The new team of Amanda Peterson/Maximilian Pfisterer came in fourth on 55.64 points.
Nicole Schott poised for Ladies gold
Three-time and reigning National Champion Nicole Schott is poised for gold on home ice following a strong performance in the Short Program and a lead of almost nine points. Skating to the sultry Blues “Caught out in the Rain” by Beth Hart and wearing a black body suit, the 2018 Olympian nailed a triple toe-triple toe, a triple loop and double Axel. She collected a level four on her spins and a level three on her footwork for a score of 67,31 points. “I really improved my speed. We’ve trained a lot and the focus is on Europeans in three weeks. We take Nationals as a training competition,” Schott noted. Aya Hatakawa from Oberstdorf placed second with 58,01 points. She produced a shaky triple Lutz-double toe combination, a triple loop and double Axel. Tina Helleken, who comes from Dresden, landed a nice triple Lutz but then reduced her combination to double toe-triple toe. She is currently ranked third on 55,31 points. 2016 National Champion Lutricia Bock is sitting in fourth. She stepped out of her underrotated triple flip and also underrotated the double Axel (52,49 points).
Full results are available on the DEU website. The German Skating Union also offers a live stream of the event here.