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McNamara, Carpenter win fifth straight JGP gold

U.S. dance team punches ticket to JGP Final for second year in a row
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Lorraine McNamara and Quinn Carpenter weren't at their best Saturday, but they still came away with their sixth career JGP gold medal. -Getty Images

Lorraine McNamara and Quinn Carpenter added to their already impressive medal haul by winning the ice dance competition at the Junior Grand Prix (JGP) in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on Saturday.

The win did not come easy, as the American duo made a mistake on its opening twizzle sequence and earned only Level 2 for its circular steps and combination spin in its rock-themed free dance. They earned a free dance score of 86.02 -- just the third best in the segment -- but their total competition mark of 148.62 placed them first overall.

Together with their win in Czech Republic earlier this month, McNamara and Carpenter earned a trip to their second consecutive JGP Final.

Sofia Polishchuk and Alexander Vakhnov, and Anastasia Skoptcova and Kirill Aleshin -- both of Russia -- took silver and bronze, respectively.

Polishchuk and Vakhnov had the top-scoring free skate, earning 89.16 points for their Romeo and Juliet routine. They earned Level 4's for four of their elements, including their twizzles and their two lifts, and they concluded the week with 144.76 points.

Stoptcova and Aleshin placed second in the free with 86.98 points and third overall with 143.78. They earned the exact same levels as their teammates: Level 4 for their twizzles, lift and spin, and Level 3 for both of their step sequences.


Japan's Rika Kihira and Marin Honda came from behind to take the top two podium spots.

Kihira, who was second after the short program, skated a personal-best free skate, set to "Rhapsody in Blue," worth 128.31 points. The 14-year-old totaled 194.24 points overall, also a career best.

Of the 11 jumps she landed, eight were triples -- and one was a triple axel. Other highlights included a triple lutz-triple toe, and a double axel-triple toe and triple flip-double toe-double loop performed past the midway point of the program.

Honda was fourth after the short program, but her 120.96-point free skate propelled her to a total score of 178.75 and the silver -- the third such medal of her JGP career. She opened her Romeo and Juliet free with a powerful triple lutz, followed by a triple flip-triple toe combination.

Kihira's gold this week combined with her silver at JGP Czech Republic qualified the skater for the JGP Final. Honda should join her there, as she also won silver at her first JGP assignment (Japan).

Russia's Alina Zagitova came into the day in first, but she performed just the fourth-best free skate of the day and fell to third overall.

Team USA's Ashley Lin finished sixth in her JGP debut.