Team USA Collects Three Medals at U.S. International Figure Skating Classic
(9/14/2018) – U.S. pairs teams Ashley Cain and Timothy LeDuc and Audrey Lu and Misha Mitrofanov claimed the gold and silver medal, respectively, and Jimmy Ma captured the bronze medal in the men’s competition at the 2018 U.S. International Classic in Salt Lake City.
Cain and LeDuc were the leaders coming into the free skate and successfully built on their 59.10-point short program to win the gold medal in pairs. The duo executed two clean throws, including a throw triple Lutz and throw triple Salchow. With two Level 4 elements, the Four Continents silver medalists scored 113.95 in their free skate for 173.05 points overall. The win marked their first gold medal on the senior international circuit.
“It’s always so fun competing in the United States,” said LeDuc. “It’s early in the season, but we still feel good about what we put out there. We fought really hard for everything.”
“There were some minor mistakes, but overall we felt very comfortable and in charge of that program,” said Cain. “That’s a huge step forward for us this early in the season.”
In their senior international debut, Lu and Mitrofanov captured the silver medal with 143.93 total points. The reigning U.S. junior champions scored 86.68 points in their free skate with a Level 4 reverse lasso lift and Level 4 pair combination spin. The second-place finish is their first podium appearance on the international stage.
“It gives us pride that we were able to work hard enough to achieve a medal at an international event, but we understand that if we want the gold medal we have to work harder,” said Mitrofanov.
Winter Deardorff and Max Settlage scored 83.84 in their free skate, moving up from the fifth to fourth spot with 128.91 overall points. The competition was their first international appearance since teaming up in March 2017.
Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya and Harley Windsor of Australia claimed the bronze medal with a combined score of 142.42.
In the men’s competition, Ma rallied from his fourth-place short program to earn the bronze medal with a total of 206.10 points. In his 132.89-point free skate, Ma landed seven triple jumps, including a triple Lutz-euler-triple Salchow combination. He was also awarded a Level 4 change foot sit spin. This is his first Challenger Series medal.
“It’s an honor [to earn the bronze medal],” said Ma. “It’s not exactly the way that I wanted to get onto the podium, but I’m grateful for the opportunity and it’s a step in the right direction. I know what I need to work on when I get back home.”
Vincent Zhou won the free skate with 142.90 points. His 204.62 total points helped him jump from sixth up to fourth place, narrowly missing the podium. Zhou completed a quad Lutz and quad Salchow in his free skate, as well as two Level 4 spins and a Level 4 step sequence.
“Every competition is a learning experience,” Zhou said. “Whether it’s good or bad, there’s always something to learn. Obviously, this is just the start of my season. I’ve had a difficult summer but have been battling through. I’m really happy to be here competing and skating. Today I was able to skate for myself and enjoy myself out on the ice.”
Canadian Nam Nguyen won the men’s competition with a total score of 213.52, and Michal Brezina of the Czech Republic secured the silver medal with 208.27 points.
Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue lead the ice dance competition after scoring 79.11 in their rhythm dance. The reigning world silver medalists were awarded a Level 4 sequential twizzle to open their program and closed with a Level 4 curve lift.
“We’re reaching a new level in our partnership,” said Donohue. “It’s fun to play with the dynamics of a new program in competition. More so than the points, we were focused on being one on the ice and feeling each other while creating our own moment.”
Reigning world junior silver medalists Christina Carreira and Anthony Ponomarenko are in second place heading into Saturday’s free dance. The newly-senior duo scored 68.61 with a Level 4 sequential twizzle and Level 4 rotational lift.
After an early fall, Joseph Johnson and Karina Manta scored 49.01 points in their rhythm dance. They are currently in sixth place.
Canadians Haley Sales and Nikolas Wamsteeker rounded out the top three with 54.11 points.
Akari Nakahara led the U.S. contingent in the ladies short program with 53.29 points. Opening with a triple flip, Nakahara went on to complete four Level 4 elements, including a flying camel spin. She is currently in seventh place.
“I feel like it was a good performance overall,” said Nakahara. “I’m a little disappointed about the turnout on the triple Salchow, but I think everything else was pretty good.”
Brynne McIsaac finished in the ninth spot after the short program with 51.20 points. She landed a triple flip-double toe loop combination to open the program and was awarded three Level 4 spins.
Just behind McIsaac, Courtney Hicks scored 50.89 on her short program and is in 10th place. Her performance included a Level 4 layback spin and Level 4 flying camel spin.
After the short program, two-time U.S. International Classic champion Satoko Miyahara of Japan leads with 67.53 points. The Republic of Korea’s Eunsoo Lim is in second place (64.85) and Canadian skater Gabrielle Daleman is in the third spot (63.28).
The U.S. International Classic will conclude tomorrow with the free dance scheduled for 7:45 p.m. ET, and the ladies free skate beginning at 9:20 p.m. ET.
The entire event can be seen live on the Figure Skating Pass on NBC Sports Gold. Competition information and live results can be found on Competition Central on the U.S. Figure Skating Fan Zone.