Ice Network

Jones, Reagan temper expectations, rally for gold

Calalang, Sidhu fall to second; Shaughnessy, Morgan content with bronze
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Brittany Jones and Joshua Reagan didn't skate particularly well Friday, but when all the marks were added up, they were the best of the bunch. The Canadians earned 99.84 points for their "Nessun Dorma" free, giving them a total score of 155.48 and the gold medal. -Melissa Majchrzak

SALT LAKE CITY - Canadians Brittany Jones and Joshua Reagan kept their expectations modest for their first international competition of the season.

The duo, who dismantled everything last season in order to rebuild it all this year, ended up winning the pairs title at the 2016 U.S. International Figure Skating Classic with a score of 99.84 in the free skate and 155.48 overall. They overtook American pair Jessica Calalang and Zack Sidhu, who led after the short program but struggled Friday, due in part to a back injury to Sidhu. They finished second with a score of 92.50 in the free skate and 151.24 overall.

"Honestly, just getting through a program here was a good thing," Reagan said. "We've been skating better at home, but skating here, we're just learning what it's like under pressure. It wasn't a bad skate; we were OK with everything."

The pair wasn't sure what to expect here, so they just committed to putting out their program to see where they stood in this, their third season together.

"For us, we didn't know placement or score -- we just wanted to get the program out on an international (stage)," Reagan said. "This was our first one. The big one for us is Skate Canada. We want to be ready for that one."

Jones said this win was a boost to the team's confidence, and its chemistry.

"Our program is improving every competition," she said. "This is just a stepping stone for the rest of the year. I think it was really good for us to come out here and skate a pretty good program."

After earning the top score in Thursday's short program, Calalang and Sidhu were disappointed with their silver medal.

"It's the first (competition of the season)," said Sidhu, who struggled with a sore back throughout Friday's free skate. "We really wanted to work on relating to each other. That was the main goal. We didn't really have a placement or score goal."

The performance had several significant mistakes, including a fall by Sidhu on the team's side-by-side triple salchows.

"That program is easy to build on," he said. "We had a couple of mistakes. The end, I was in a little bit of pain, and we should be able to get that fixed."

Their coach, Todd Sand, said his team didn't show what it was capable of Friday night.

"They know they let an opportunity slip away," Sand said. "I think they know they could have won this if they'd skated a normal program. …They just made too many mistakes. That happens sometimes."

Americans Alexandria Shaugnessy and James Morgan, who endured two falls, earned 92.30 points in the free skate and 140.08 overall. The pair has had a lot to juggle in preparing for their first international competition of the season: Shaugnessy got married Sept. 3.

"I actually skated on the day of my rehearsal dinner," she said. "Balancing that was a challenge, but I'm really proud I was able to have the best day of my life with my husband, and then a really, really awesome senior international debut with my partner. I'm just looking forward to the future."

Their goal this week was to be passionate and fearless in their performance.

"We just wanted to get out there and attack," Shaugnessy said. "We just wanted to go out there and put our best effort in and fight for everything, just attack the program. There were mistakes, but I'm very, very proud of us because we've come a long way in a short period of time."