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Hey Ricky! Dornbush defends U.S. collegiate title

Nagasu claims gold in senior ladies event; Wang takes home silver
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Richard Dornbush ran away with the gold medal at the 2015 U.S. Collegiate Figure Skating Championships after turning in a 153.59-point free skate. -Michael Terry

Richard Dornbush defended his title Saturday at the 2015 U.S. Collegiate Figure Skating Championships at the RMU Island Sports Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Mirai Nagasu took top honors in the senior ladies competition, while Taylor Aruanno and B.J.Conrad won the junior ladies and men's competitions, respectively.

Following a 71.92-point short program, Dornbush (University of California-San Diego) trailed Max Aaron (University of Colorado-Colorado Springs) by 2.06 points entering the free skate. He outscored Aaron by nearly 16 points to finish with a competition total of 225.51 to secure the title.

Set a Coldplay medley, Dornbush's free skate was clean after falling on his opening quad toe loop attempt. He connected on ten jumps, including a triple axel-double toe-double loop combination.

"It feels really good [to win]," Dornbush said. "It was fun coming here to defend my title, so I had some good motivation coming to Pittsburgh this year.

"I was really happy with my mental game today. During the five-minute warm-up, I was having a hard time getting my feet under me and a hard time concentrating, but I went out there and put together a good program when it counted."

Aaron didn't incur any fall deductions, but was hurt by his opening quad salchow and a triple axel midway through his Black Swan free. Finishing with a total score of 212.18, Aaron received high marks for his two combinations, a triple axel-double toe and a double axel-loop-double salchow combination.

The 2015 U.S. pewter medalist said he knows what he needs to work on as he heads into the international competition season.

"This has been a learning experience," Aaron said. "Obviously, this wasn't a great competition for me, but I need to learn from it and move on. It's still early and I'm hoping to be better my next time out.

Alexander Johnson (University of Colorado-Colorado Springs) took third with a total score of 189.08 and Patrick Rupp (Embry Riddle Aeronautical University) finished fourth with 116.36 points.

In the senior ladies event, Nagasu (University of Colorado-Colorado Springs) took gold with 176.38 points. Her clean, 117.92-point free skate to music from The Great Gatsby was highlighted by two opening combinations -- a triple flip-triple toe and a double axel-triple toe-double toe combination.

Unhappy with her third-place, 58.46-point short program Friday, Nagasu was pleased with her rebound performance Saturday night.

"I didn't perform the way I had been practicing [in the short], but I wanted to make it a learning experience," Nagasu said. "I think I was able to focus on what I needed to do today. I used to be known as a short program skater, so to put together a strong free skate today makes me feel really good about this competition.

"This was a great place for me to get my program out there and show people that I've been working really hard."

Fellow Colorado Springs resident Angela Wang (University of Colorado-Colorado Springs) finished second with 164.17 points. Wang connected on ten jumps, including two combinations.

"I've really been building on my early competitions -- Broadmoor, Vail and Sun Valley -- and I feel like I started off strong today," Wang said. "Points wise, I was much higher, and think I'm really building these programs well so far this season."

Maria Yang (Stanford) won the bronze medal with a total score of 163.64, while Alexis Gagnon (Scottsdale Community College) placed fourth with 125.19 points.