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Russia sits 1-2 after short at synchro junior worlds

Top three finishers separated by a point; U.S. teams take fifth, eighth
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Crystal Ice (Team Russia 1) leads country mates Sparta Junost (Team Russia 2) by just 0.21 points after the short program in Mississuaga. -Getty Images

Russia's Crystal Ice (Russia 1) took the lead after the short program at the 2017 World Junior Synchronized Skating Championships in Mississauga, Ontario. The top three teams in the standings are separated by only one point heading into the free skate.

Wearing two different dresses, Crystal Ice earned 62.55 points for its "Prayer in the Night" program. The team received the highest technical calls for its circle, move element and no hold element but left some points on the table when it earned only a level 2 intersection and a level 3 pivoting block. With components ranging from 7.00 to 9.00, the Russians ended the evening with the highest program component total (31.91).

Just 0.21 points separate Crystal Ice from their country mates, Sparta Junost (Russia 2). The 2016 Junior World World Challenge Cup bronze medalists finished the night in second place with a total of 62.34. Performing to "Oh Darling" by the Beatles, the team had a technical element score of 30.88, the highest of the evening.

Finland 1 (Team Fintastic) sits in third after the short program. The team, which skated to Harold Arlen's version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," missed a couple of technical calls but still earned positive Grades of Execution (GOEs) for all five elements. The Finns' program components scores ranged from 7.71 (skating skills) to 8.04 (composition).

The Lexettes, the 2017 U.S. junior silver medalists, sit in fifth place with 57.34 points. Set to "Crystallize" by Lindsey Stirling, the team's program was highlighted by a strong no hold element worth 7.07 points. Their program components ranged from 7.21 (transitions) to 7.61 (performance).

This week has been a challenging one for the Lexettes, who have dealt with some injury issues.

"We had a rough start to the week, but they are fighters," head coach Maikki Merilehto said. "I think having that challenge may have helped them in a bit in the performance tonight."

Cameron Feely, a second-year member of the Lexettes junior team, is looking forward to the free skate Saturday night.

"We are really excited to show our Titanic program one last time," Feely said. "We have made many improvements since (U.S.) nationals, and we are excited to show the confidence in our performance."

The Skyliners, the 2017 U.S. junior champions, are in eighth place with 54.33 points. The team entered this competition with the goal of skating its "Hip Hop Gangster" short program without any deductions.

"I was looking for them to go out and have a great skate that they could enjoy," head coach Josh Babb explained. "This was the first time this season they stood up in the short, so bravo for them."

Kelsey Bialo, a third-year member of the Skyliners, added, "We have worked hard all season, and to finally put out a really solid short with no falls, we are really proud of that."