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Parsons set pace over McNamara, Carpenter

Pogrebinsky, Benoit in medal contention; Duskova, Bidar cruise to title
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Rachel Parsons and Michael Parsons surprised many by finishing ahead of their training mates, Lorraine McNamara and Quinn Carpenter, on Thursday in Debrecen. The sibling duo earned 67.88 points for their error-free performance of their 'Cinderella' program and will take a 1.63-point lead into Saturday's free dance. -Getty Images

The 2016 World Junior Figure Skating Championships continued Thursday in Debrecen, Hungary, with the short dance and pairs free skate.

Ice dance

Team USA's Rachel Parsons and Michael Parsons danced to the lead following the short dance, edging out their teammates Lorraine McNamara and Quinn Carpenter. France's Marie-Jade Lauriault and Romain Le Gac sit third.

Dancing to "Cinderella's Departure for the Ball" by Sergei Prokofiev, the Parsons siblings earned a Level 4 for their lift, second Starlight Waltz pattern, footwork and twizzles. The brother-and-sister team set a new personal-best score with 67.88 points.

"I think Michael and I are really happy with how the short dance went," Rachel said. "We went out there and tried to really show how much progress we've made over the last year, and I think we were able to do that. We had a really good time."

McNamara and Carpenter's dance to "Anitra's Dance" and "In the Hall of the Mountain King" by Edvard Grieg featured three Level 4 elements and two Level 3 elements. The Junior Grand Prix Final champions earned 66.25 points, matching their personal-best score exactly.

"We both feel that the short dance is unique and stands out. That's something we always aspire to do with our skating," Carpenter said. "Because of that, we really, really love this program and of course want to do the best we can and on top of that. We just really want to enjoy having fun with it one last time, and I think we did that."

Lauriault and Le Gac put out a smooth dance to "And the Waltz Goes On" and "Susie (If You Knew Susie)" by André Rieu with a Level 4 rotational lift and Level 4 twizzles. However, their second Starlight Waltz pattern was rated a Level 1. The Junior Grand Prix finalists scored 59.65 points.

"We're really pleased with the performance we did. We're proud of the progress we've made throughout the year," Lauriault said. "We tried to do something different in the short dance to really push ourselves to the maximum of our abilities. I think we're proud of what we put out, and it was our best."

The following couples remained close to the podium. Russia's Anastasia Shpilevaya and Grigory Smirnov are currently ranked fourth with 59.15 points. Team USA's Elliana Pogrebinsky and Alex Benoit are in fifth (59.05 points) and Junior Grand Prix Final silver medalists Alla Loboda and Pavel Drozd finished sixth after she fell at the end of their side-by-side footwork (58.93 points).

Pairs

Anna Duskova and Martin Bidar of the Czech Republic skated off with the pairs gold medal, winning the first world junior title in their country's history. Russia's Anastasia Mishina and Vladislav Mirzoev claimed the silver medal, while their teammates Ekaterina Borisova and Dmitri Sopot earned the bronze.

Duskova and Bidar delivered a solid performance to "Historia de un Amor" by Perez Prado and "La Leyenda del Beso" by Raúl di Blasio that featured side-by-side triple toes, triple twist, throw triple salchow and throw triple lutz, as well as a Level 4 lift and two Level 4 spins. The duo scored 117.11 points -- a new personal best -- and totaled 181.82 points to take the gold.

"We really tried to do everything we can do, and we did it. I have no words right now, and I'm overwhelmed by emotions," Duskova said.

Mishina and Mirzoev completed a triple twist, throw triple loop and throw triple salchow as well as a side-by-side triple salchows and two Level 4 lifts. The Russian junior champions picked up a personal-best free skate score with 113.10 points to finish with 172.60 points.

"We didn't skate as clean as we wanted. We made one mistake, but the other elements were good. We did our job," Mirzoev said. "We would like to learn the quad twist and maybe a quad throw -- the quad throw salchow."

Borisova and Sopot's performance to Lawrence of Arabia was highlighted by a triple twist, side-by-side double axels, throw triple loop and throw triple salchow, as well as Level 4 lifts and spins. The Junior Grand Prix Final champions picked up 110.44 points and pulled up from fourth to third at 169.00 points total.

"We're 90-percent satisfied with our performance. The missing 10 percent we lost in the short program when we made the error on the jump," Borisova said. "We still have three junior seasons ahead of ourselves, and hopefully next season, we'll win all gold medals."

Ukraine's Renata Oganesian and Mark Bardei slipped from third to fourth with 155.08 points. Team USA's Chelsea Liu and Brian Johnson remained fifth (147.73 points), and Italy's Bianca Manacordia and Niccolò Macii finished sixth (141.76 points).

Team USA's Lindsay Weinstein and Jacob Simon finished ninth, while U.S. junior champions Joy Weinberg and Maximiliano Fernandez placed 10th.