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Toth overcomes injury, wins title with Zhang

Five stitches doesn't keep Toth down in free skate

Felicia Zhang and Taylor Toth will try to capture a medal at the Nebelhorn Trophy.
Felicia Zhang and Taylor Toth will try to capture a medal at the Nebelhorn Trophy. (Michelle Harvath )

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By Lynn Rutherford, special to icenetwork.com
(01/19/2010) - On Saturday, it looked like Felicia Zhang and Taylor Toth's week had ended when they collided with another team in practice.

Toth received five stitches to his head, and the event's medical director advised him not to skate. They did, and now they are U.S. junior champions.

"Yesterday and today I pretty much spent the entire day in bed not feeling well," Zhang said. "My whole body ached. Felicia's small, but when she fell, she hit me in the chest."

Toth looked fully recovered in today's free skate to a Maksim Mrvica medley. The pair, both strong singles skaters, hit side-by-side triple toes and double Axel, double toe combinations, as well as two big triple throws. They won the free skate and the title with 153.80 points.

"We just took one element at a time, and make sure we didn't rush anything," Zhang said.

"I think it's good that we put in the triple toes and triple throws, because it's important as juniors to show the potential to be good seniors," Toth added.

Zhang's week isn't over. She's competing in the junior ladies event.

"My pairs help my singles a lot, and my singles help my pairs [skating] a lot," she said. "I guess it's running through all of those programs again and again. It builds strength and endurance."

Zhang and Toth hope to be nominated for the junior world team, and plan to skate as seniors next season. If they do go to junior worlds, they plan on adding a triple twist to their free skate.

Britney Simpson and Nathan Miller's free to Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" featured a solid opening triple twist and two fine Level 4 lifts, but Simpson put her hands down on the landing of a throw triple Salchow and fell on a double flip. They placed second in the free and second overall with 147.29.

"We know we can do a lot better than what we did out there," Miller said. "We've been training much better than that. I'm glad, though, that we stayed in character throughout the program."

"I think I let my emotions get the best of me," Simpson added. "I felt a bit nervous."

Erika Smith and Nate Bartholomay took the bronze medal by placing fourth in the short and fourth in the free.

Skating to music from the Man in the Iron Mask soundtrack, the team landed solid side-by-side double Axels, although Smith fell on a throw triple Salchow.

"We're so excited," Batholomay said. "We had a couple of mistakes, it wasn't our best, but we showed we had a lot of attack."

Smith and Bartholomay, who are not junior eligible, hope for an international assignment next season.

Carolyn-Ann Alba and Christopher Knierim finished fourth with 133.19 points.