Cranston figure skater Marissa Castelli and partner Simon Shnapir, of Sudbury, Mass., are doing their best to act as if they've been here before.
The first trip to the World Figure Skating Championships is a big deal for any skater, and it's bound to cause some nerves. But the U.S. pairs champions have no time for first-time jitters, not with worlds serving as the qualifier for next year's Sochi Olympics.
"We definitely noticed the signage" with the worlds logo, Shnapir said. "But it's a sign. It's just an ice rink. ... We're trying not to let anything else cloud our minds."
"We're not going to get too excited," added Castelli.
Besides, Castelli and Shnapir have been preparing for this week all year.
The two, who have skated together since 2006, took some time off after a disappointing season last year. When they decided to continue skating together, they made a commitment to put all of their energy and effort into each other and their skating and it's paid off. In addition to their first U.S. title, they were third at Four Continents.
They also won their first Grand Prix medal, a bronze at NHK Trophy.
"All of the time we spent this year, being in podium contention and Four Continents, has prepared us for this moment," Shnapir said.