Ice Network

McNamara, Carpenter rally to win world junior title

Parsons take silver; Honda claims gold for Japan; Sotskova nabs silver
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Lorraine McNamara and Quinn Carpenter (right) pose with teammates Rachel Parsons and Michael Parsons after claiming the gold and silver medals, respectively. -Getty Images

The 2016 World Junior Figure Skating Championships concluded Saturday in Debrecen, Hungary, with the ladies free skate

Ladies

Japan's Marin Honda skated off with the gold medal in her debut at this event, while Russia's Maria Sotskova claimed silver and Japan's Wakaba Higuchi repeated as bronze medalist.

Honda turned in a flawless free skate to music from Beetlejuice, reeling off a triple lutz, a triple salchow-triple toe combination, as well as four more triples and two Level 4 spins. The Junior Grand Prix (JGP) Final bronze medalist achieved a new personal-best score with 126.87 points and totaled 192.98 points to move up one spot from the short program.

"Before the competition, I was aiming at the podium. After the short program, I felt stronger about making the podium", the 14-year-old said.

Sotskova's routine to music from Romeo and Juliet featured a triple lutz-triple toe combination, a triple flip-single loop-triple salchow combination and three more triples. Her only mistake came on an under-rotated double axel. She picked up 123.94 points, a personal best, and finished with a competition total of 188.72 points.

"Coming here, I was not in a bad form -- you can even say I was well prepared and ready for this event," she said. "I was not satisfied with my short program, and I wanted to skate clean in the free and give the maximum but not everything worked out."

Performing to music from The Mask of Zorro, Higuchi completed seven triples, including a triple lutz-triple toe combination and Level 4 footwork to come away with a personal-best score of 125.65 points. Overall, she accumulated 183.73 points to move up from fifth place after the short program.

"Before the competition, my condition was good. Unfortunately, I missed an element in the short program and I was very disappointed," Higuchi said. "I had some concerns in the free skate about the triple lutz-triple loop (which she didn't try), but I think I did a good job."

Japan's Yuna Shiraiwa moved up from eighth after the short to fourth overall with 171.59 points. Elizabet Tursynbaeva pulled up from 14th place after the short to fifth with 170.83 points and Team USA's Tyler Pierce placed sixth (167.19 points). American Bradie Tennell finished in 11th place.

Overnight leader Alisa Fedichkina of Russia had to withdraw after spraining her ankle during the off-ice warmups shortly before she was supposed to compete.

Ice dance

Two-time U.S. junior champions Lorraine McNamara and Quinn Carpenter claimed the dance title, overtaking teammates and short program winners Rachel Parsons and Michael Parsons. Russia's Alla Loboda and Pavel Drozd moved up from sixth place after the short dance to take the bronze in their debut at the this event. All three couples set a new personal-best scores for their free dances.

McNamara and Carpenter's dance to Carmen featured smooth footwork and a difficult lift. The JGP Final champions collected Level 4's for their straight line lift, twizzles and spin, while their step sequences and the rotational lift were rated Level 3. The duo, who won the world junior silver medal at this event last year, came away with 97.40 points for the segment which added up to 163.65 points overall.

"For us, we're obviously very happy to have won the gold," McNamara said. "It wasn't our main focus. We were focusing on skating the best that we possibly could, and we are very happy that it got us where we are, but we're very happy that we skated the program we did and accomplished what we set out to."

The Parsons siblings produced four Level 4 elements during their routine, but the midline step sequence garnered a Level 2. The two-time U.S. silver medalists earned 94.86 points and slipped from first after the short program to second overall with 162.74 points.

"Since the (JGP Final), we've been working on cleaning up our transitions, dancing more, telling more of a story in our program-- just improving every little thing that we could leading up to [junior] worlds," Michael Parsons said. "It is the last time we're performing these skates this season, so our goal was just to do the best we possibly could and whatever happened, happened."

Loboda and Drozd finished in sixth place in the short dance after she fell during their the side-by-side footwork, but the Russian junior champions rallied back with a strong free dance to "lo Ti Penso Amore" performed by David Garrett (featuring Nicole Scherzinger) and "Paganini 5" by Edvin Marton, completing a Level 4 spin, twizzles and lifts, as well as Level 3 step sequences. The JGP Final silver medalists were awarded 92.26 points and moved up to third with 151.19 points overall.

"We didn't have such a good short dance, so it was very important today to show a good free program, and I think we did it," Drozd said. "Today, we were like one team. We're so excited and so proud to be on the podium, because this is a very serious and important event, the most important for us this season."

Team USA's Elliana Pogrebinsky and Alex Benoit finished in fourth with a final score of 146.83.