Russia runs away with medal count at JGP LatviaMcNamara and Carpenter, Chen bring home hardware for Team USA
Russia claimed a total of six medals to lead all nations at the first Junior Grand Prix (JGP) event of the season, in Riga, Latvia, while Team USA collected two medals.
In ladies, Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia delivered a near-flawless free skate to jump two places after the short program to claim the gold medal. Sitting more than four points behind her teammate, Maria Sotskova, Medvedeva landed seven triple jumps, including two triple-triple combinations, en route to 114.35 points and a winning total of 169.52.
Sotskova, who led after the short program, reeling in 59.45 points in the segment, earned the silver with 166.49 points. Karen Chen, in her JGP debut, earned the United States its first medal of the series, earning bronze with 154.26 points.
Chen, the 2013 U.S. junior pewter medalist, was second after the short program, having amassed the highest program components score of the segment.
"I'm really happy and lucky to be here," Chen said. "This is my first JGP, so I really wanted to go out and enjoy myself and do my best. I was lucky to medal."
Yasmin Siraj finished sixth with 142.32 points.
Boyang Jin of China, who was fourth at the 2013 World Junior Championships, collected the second JGP gold medal of his career, topping the field with 189.79 points. Consistency played into the favor of Jin, as he finished second in both segments of the competition. Jin opened his short program with a huge triple Axel, which received a grade of execution of 1.29, and his free skate included a clean quad toe worth a total of 11.30 points.
Adian Pitkeev was the big mover of the competition, as he began the free skate in fifth and ended up on the podium, in second place, with 187.19 points. Pitkeev, of Russia, collected 127.28 points in his free skate, which included an opening triple Axel-triple toe combination worth 14.03 points.
Shoma Uno of Japan was also a big mover in the free skate. After a sixth-place performance in the short program, he vaulted up the standings with the third-best free skate and finished with 175.81 points. Americans Jordan Moeller and Jimmy Ma finished ninth and 13th, respectively.
In the pairs event, a stellar short program from Xiaoyu Yu and Yang Jin of China helped them to the gold medal. The three-time JGP Finalists earned 56.25 points, more than three points better than second place. During their short program, Yu and Jin executed a double Axel to open and collected four Level 4 elements along the way. They finished with 160.75 points.
Earning the silver and bronze medals, respectively, were the Russian pairs of Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov, and Maria Vigalova and Egor Zakroev. Tarasova and Morozov set personal bests in both segments, winning the free skate and finishing with 157.82 points. Their teammates finished with 154.39 points.
In their second JGP event, reigning U.S. novice champions Christina Zaitsev and Ernie Utah Stevens finished in eighth with 104.84 points.
Canada earned its first JGP gold medal of the season behind the strong skating of Mackenzie Bent and Garrett MacKeen. Last year's fifth-place finishers at the world junior championships shot out to a lead of nearly three points after the short dance, which was good enough to hold on despite a third-place finish in the free. In their short, Bent and MacKeen performed three elements at Level 4 quality. They earned a total of 127.93 points.
Outscored by just half a point for the gold, Americans Lorraine McNamara and Quinn Carpenter earned the silver medal with 127.43 points. For their Sherlock Holmes free dance, the duo racked up the best program components score in the segment, and they earned Level 4 on four of their elements.
"We've had such a great time on this trip," McNamara and Carpenter said. "It has been full of such fun experiences and amazing memories."
Alla Loboda and Pavel Drozd of Russia eanred the bronze with 126.43 points, winning the free dance after a third-place finish in the short. Americans Elliana Pogrebinsky and Ross Gudis rounded out the top four with 121.09 points.