2010 JGP Series ends in the Czech Republic

Several JGP Final spots up for grabs this weekend

A medal of any color will guarantee Keegan Messing a spot in the Junior Grand Prix Final.
A medal of any color will guarantee Keegan Messing a spot in the Junior Grand Prix Final. (Suzanne Schlecht)


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By Renee Felton, special to
(10/12/2010) - Several spots in the 2010 ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final, Dec. 9-12 in Beijing, are up for grabs at the final stop in the series this week in Ostrava, Czech Republic.

Russia's Polina Shelepen has three JGP gold medals to her credit, is the 2009 Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final silver medalist and placed fourth at the 2010 World Junior Figure Skating Championships.

The field also features Japan's Risa Shoji, who won gold at JGP Japan in her international debut, and Zijun Li, the 2010 Chinese bronze medalist, who placed third at JGP Austria. American Kiri Baga competes in her second event of the season after winning silver in her season debut at JGP Japan.

The men's event features a pair of gold medalists from two of this fall's events.

Keegan Messing won gold in Romania, and a medal of any color will ensure Messing a spot in the JGP Final alongside teammates Richard Dornbush, Max Aaron and Joshua Farris.

Also fighting for a spot in the final is two-time JGP gold medalist Han Yan of China and Russia's Artem Grigoriev, the 2009 World Junior bronze medalist. Alexander Majorov, the 2010 Swedish bronze medalist, looks to break on to the podium. He has competed on the JGP circuit since 2005, with his best finish (fourth) coming last fall in Croatia. This season, he placed fifth in Japan.

The pairs docket boasts Anna Silaeva and Artur Minchuk, the 2010 Russian junior bronze medalists. The duo has a quick turnaround between competitions as they just won the silver medal last Friday in Dresden, Germany.

Canadian team Taylor Steele and Robert Schultz hopes to improve on a fourth-place finish at JGP Great Britain, while 2010 Chinese silver medalists Xiaoyu Yu and Yang Jin compete in their second event. They earned the bronze at JGP Austria.

Kylie Duarte and Colin Grafton represent the United States' best chance at a medal. Along with Brynn Carman and A.J. Reiss, they have enjoyed the highest finish of any American pairs teams this season, placing fifth at Great Britain.

The battle for ice dancing gold comes down to Russia's Ekaterina Pushkash and Jonathan Guerreiro and Ukraine's Anastasia Galyeta and Alexei Shumski.

Pushkash and Guerreiro, the 2010 Russian junior bronze medalists, hope to make their second straight appearance at the final, where they placed fifth a season ago. Galyeta and Shumski, silver medalists at JGP Romania, stand directly behind Pushkash and Guerreiro in the points standings.

Marina Antipova and Artem Kudashev represent another chance at a medal for Russia. They earned silver last week in Germany.