2017 Junior Worlds Cheat Sheet: Ladies

I’ve run out of time to do a full analysis of the ladies like I did of the men’s and ice dance fields, but I have the list of athletes I was going to write about. With 45 entries on the ladies’ roster, I know we could all use a cheat sheet. Since almost half of those skaters won’t make it to the free skate, I’m not covering everyone – just the 20 I think are likely to perform well, or at least be fun to watch.

For each skater, I’ll provide a YouTube video, some basic info, highlights of their season so far, and a placement in one of my four categories. (I refuse to blame fourteen-year-old girls for Why I Drink, so that one’s off the table.) Front Runners are the strongest contenders for a medal, and Dark Horses are the athletes who could shake things up for the favorites. Skaters On the Rise aren’t shooting for the podium yet, but they’re looking to make a name for themselves. I’m leaving most of the Just Happy to Be Here crowd off this list, but I’ve included several who are enjoyable, unique, and memorable.

If you’re interested in the other disciplines (despite the fact that they’re mostly done skating), check out my Ice Dance Field Guide, Men’s Field Guide Part 1, and Men’s Field Guide Part 2.

So Hyun An

Basic Info: An is 15 years old and represents the Republic of Korea. Her coach is Ghislain Briand.

Season Highlights: 3rd junior at the Skate Canada Autumn Classic, 7th senior at South Korean Nationals.

Outlook for Junior Worlds: On the Rise, especially if she gets rotation credit for her triple-triple combinations.

Starr Andrews

Basic Info: Andrews is 15 years old and represents the United States of America. Her primary coach is Derrick Delmore.

Season Highlights: 1st junior at Golden Bear (won by almost 40 points in her international debut), 2nd junior at US Nationals.

Outlook for Junior Worlds: A Dark Horse despite limited experience, and one of the best entertainers in the field.

Lea Johanna Dastich

Basic Info: Dastich is 16 years old and represents Germany. Her coaches are Oleg Ryzhkin and Elizaveta Kokic.

Season Highlights: 8th at JGP Dresden, 2nd junior at NRW Trophy, 3rd senior at Bavarian Open (with a giant score), 2nd senior at German Nationals.

Outlook for Junior Worlds: On the Rise, with technical upgrades throughout the season and rising scores to match.

Alexandra Feigin

Basic Info: Feigin is 14 years old and represents Bulgaria. Her coach is Andrei Lutai.

Season Highlights: 9th at JGP Ljubljana, 1st junior at Denkova Staviski Cup, 1st junior at Skate Helena, 2nd junior at Sofia Trophy, 1st senior at Bulgarian Nationals.

Outlook for Junior Worlds: On the Rise, hitting a consistent triple toe loop-triple toe loop, and on track to make history for Bulgaria in years to come.

Julie Froetscher

Basic Info: Froetscher is 16 years old and represents France. She’s coached by Katia Gentelet.

Season Highlights: 6th at JGP Tallinn, 3rd junior at Cup of Nice, 3rd junior at Sofia Trophy, 4th senior at French Nationals.

Outlook for Junior Worlds: Just Happy to Be Here because she doesn’t quite have the jumps, but an exceptionally beautiful performer.

Holly Harris

Basic Info: Harris is 14 years old and represents Australia. Her coach is Tom Zakrajsek.

Season Highlights: 11th at JGP Dresden, 2nd junior at Volvo Open, 1st junior at Australian Nationals.

Outlook for Junior Worlds: Just Happy to Be Here this time, but not for long, with her potential as both a jumper and an artist.

Marin Honda

Basic Info: Honda is 15 years old and represents Japan. Her coaches are Mie Hamada and Yamato Tamura.

Season Highlights: 1st junior at Asian open, 2nd at JGP Yokohama, 2nd at JGP Ljubljana, 3rd at Japan Junior Championships, 4th senior at Japan Championships.

Outlook for Junior Worlds: A Front Runner who always peaks late in the season and could win back-to-back World Junior titles.

Stanislava Konstantinova

Basic Info: Konstantinova is 16 years old and represents Russia. She’s coached by Valentina Chebotareva.

Season Highlights: 2nd at JGP Saransk, 4th at JGP Dresden, 1st senior at Tallinn Trophy, 2nd at Russian Junior Championships, 6th senior at Russian Championships.

Outlook for Junior Worlds: The Russian girl nobody’s talking about is a Dark Horse who could win it all on the right day.

Elisabetta Leccardi

Basic Info: Leccardi is 15 years old and represents Italy. Her coach is Marilu Guarnieri.

Season Highlights: 8th at JGP Yokohama, 2nd junior at the Merano Cup, 3rd junior at the NRW Trophy, 1st junior (with a stunning short program) at Italian Nationals.

Outlook for Junior Worlds: On the Rise, and the rare skater whose spins and skating skills are so strong, she might not need the big jumps.

Xiangning Li

Basic Info: Li is 16 years old and represents China. Her coach is Xin Zhang.

Season Highlights: 10th senior at Cup of China, 13th senior at Four Continents Championships (with amazing fight in the second half of her free skate), 2nd senior at the Chinese National Championships.

Outlook for Junior Worlds: On the Rise, with impressive speed and mental toughness as well as strong technical content.

Eunsoo Lim

Basic Info: Lim is 14 years old and represents the Republic of Korea. Her coach is Hyun Jung Chi.

Season Highlights: 3rd junior at the Asian Open, 4th at JGP Ljubljana, 3rd at JGP Dresden (the only lady from a country other than Japan or Russia to medal at a JGP event), 1st senior at South Korean Nationals.

Outlook for Junior Worlds: A Dark Horse with amazingly effortless jumps, Lim could threaten the favorites here.

Fruzsina Medgyesi

Basic Info: Medgyesi is 17 years old and represents Hungary. Her primary coach is Zsofia Tokaji-Kulscar.

Season Highlights: 8th at JGP Ostrava and JGP Tallinn, 5th senior at Golden Bear, 7th senior at the Bavarian Open.

Outlook for Junior Worlds: With limited technical difficulty, Medgyesi is Just Happy to Be Here this year, but her dramatic style makes her a skater to watch.

Diana Nikitina

Basic Info: Nikitina is 16 years old and represents Latvia. Her primary coach is Romans Pantelejevs.

Season Highlights: 7th at JGP Ostrava, then withdrew from JGP Dresden with an injury and hasn’t competed since.

Outlook for Junior Worlds: Nikitina is a tremendous talent, but it’s hard to say how she’ll fare. Most likely, she’s Just Happy to be healthy enough to Be Here.

Anita Ostlund

Basic Info: Ostlund is 16 years old and represents Sweden. Her primary coach is Andrea Dohany.

Season Highlights: 7th at JGP Tallinn, 7th senior at the Warsaw Cup, 2nd senior at the Sofia Trophy, 3rd senior at the Nordics Open, 3rd senior at Swedish Nationals.

Outlook for Junior Worlds: Ostlund has a giant triple lutz-triple toe loop, but until she addresses some consistency issues, she’s On the Rise.

Kaori Sakamoto

Basic Info: Sakamoto is 16 years old and represents Japan. She’s coached by Sonoko Nakano and Mitsuko Graham.

Season Highlights: 2nd at JGP St. Gervais, 1st at JGP Yokohama, 3rd at the Junior Grand Prix Final, 1st at the Japan Junior Championships (in an upset), 7th senior at the Japan Championships.

Outlook for Junior Worlds: Extraordinary at her best and still a fierce competitor when she’s less than perfect, Sakamoto has emerged as a Front Runner and as one of Japan’s most promising young skaters.

Yuna Shiraiwa

Basic Info: Shiraiwa is 15 years old and represents Japan. She’s coached by Mie Hamada and Yamato Tamura.

Season Highlights: 4th at JGP Saransk, 2nd at JGP Dresden, 2nd at the Japan Junior Championships, 6th senior at the Japan Championships.

Outlook for Junior Worlds: After a breakthrough season last year, Shiraiwa has lost some momentum, but she’s a Dark Horse with big jumps and a personality to match.

Sarah Tamura

Basic Info: Tamura is 16 years old and represents Canada. Her primary coach is Joanne McLeod.

Season Highlights: 6th at JGP Dresden, 1st junior at the Bavarian Open, 5th senior at Canadian Nationals.

Outlook for Junior Worlds: This explosive jumper has enough verve and technical difficulty to be a Dark Horse, if only she can maintain her focus under pressure.

Bradie Tennell

Basic Info: Tennell is 19 years old and represents the United States of America. Her primary coach is Denise Myers.

Season Highlights: 3rd senior at the Tallinn Trophy, 9th senior at US Nationals.

Outlook for Junior Worlds: It feels like Tennell has been On the Rise forever, but her best performances show that she’s capable of big surprises, not to mention huge jumps.

Polina Tsurskaya

Basic Info: Tsurskaya is 15 years old and represents Russia. She’s coached by Eteri Tutberidze and Sergei Dudakov.

Season Highlights: 1st at JGP Saransk, 1st at JGP Tallinn, 3rd at the Russian Junior Championships. Withdrew from the JGP Final with a knee injury and skipped senior Nationals for the same reason.

Outlook for Junior Worlds: With soaring jumps and an expressive skating style, Tsurskaya is a Front Runner, back to full health and out to prove she’s still among the best in the world.

Alina Zagitova

Basic Info: Zagitova is 14 years old and represents Russia. Her coaches are Eteri Tutberidze and Sergei Dudakov.

Season Highlights: 1st at JGP St. Gervais, 3rd at JGP Ljubljana, 1st at the Junior Grand Prix Final, 1st at the Russian Junior Championships, 2nd senior at Russian Nationals.

Outlook for Junior Worlds: This season’s biggest out-of-nowhere sensation in a bumper crop of talented Russian ladies, Zagitova’s springy jumps and challenging back-loaded programs make her the Front Runner to beat.


The ladies’ short program at the World Junior Championships begins in a few hours: 11:00 AM Taipei local time on Friday, March 17, or 10:00 PM on Thursday here in Chicago. The free skate begins at 4:00 PM Taipei time on Saturday, March 18, which is a bleary 3:00 AM in Chicago. Subscribers can watch a live stream on IceNetwork, and others can consult this helpful list of other viewing options.

Next on The Finer Sports: an attempt to make sense of my sleepy and emotional notes from the men’s event and recap the highlights.

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