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Laxson, Jablon lead intermediate ladies

Zhou, Lung win intermediate men's groups

Brianna Laxson won her qualifying group by nearly nine points.
Brianna Laxson won her qualifying group by nearly nine points. (Quick Silver Photos)

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By Renee Felton, special to icenetwork.com
(12/16/2010) - The top-20 intermediate men's and ladies athletes qualified Wednesday for the championship round after performing their free skates. Two qualifying groups from both disciplines competed, with the top-10 from each group moving on. The intermediate ladies and men's short program is set for Friday.

Intermediate Ladies Qualifying Round Group A
Representing the Washington Figure Skating Club, 11-year-old Brianna Laxson won her qualifying group by nearly nine points. She earned 67.52 total points -- the most of any skater in any discipline today -- for a program featuring a triple Salchow-double toe combination and three Level 4 spins. Qualifiers two through 10 were determined by a small margin. Madison Vinci (14), also from the Washington FSC, placed second and skated a program highlighted by a triple Salchow-single loop combination. Her 58.96 points were just 2.96 more than the 56.00 that 11-year-old Karen Chen earned. Chen rounded out the group A qualifiers. Dyllan McIntee, 2010 U.S. juvenile champion, will move on in the competition after placing eighth in her group. Franchesca Chiera (13), who finished ninth, performed the group's highest-scoring element. Her double Axel-single toe-double loop sequence earned 5.93 points.

Group B
Jackie Jablon (13) was the fourth and final qualifier from the South Atlantic Regional Championships, but today led her group into the championship round. Jablon's free skate netted 58.99 points, the second-highest mark of the day behind group A leader Laxson. Her back-loaded free skate featured three jump elements in the second half of the program including a double Lutz-single toe-double toe sequence and a double Lutz. She earned a Level 4 on one spin and Level 3 on two additional spins. DuPage Figure Skating Club's Isabella Dow closely followed Jablon with 58.48 points. Despite a fall on her triple Salchow, Dow (14) cleanly performed nine additional elements, earning positive grades of execution on eight of them. Finishers number three and four, Anjing Fu of the Rocky Mountain FSC and Elena Taylor of the Dallas FSC, respectively, also scored over 58 points in a close contest.

Intermediate Men's Qualifying Round Group A
Ten-year old Vincent Zhou, who a year ago placed fifth as a juvenile boy at the 2010 U.S. Junior Championships, led his group by less than a point. Zhou finished his program strong with a double Lutz-double loop-double loop sequence and a double Axel-double toe combination, both of which were performed in the second half of the skate. He earned 61.83 points. Close on his heels was reigning U.S. juvenile champion Daniel Samohin. Though Samohin (12) popped two of his elements, he joined Zhou as the only other competitor in the group to score over 60 points (61.23). Samohin scored a group-best 7.07 points for his double Axel-double toe-double loop sequence to start the show. With a ninth-place finish, 16-year-old Daniel Klaber of the Pavilion Skating Club of Cleveland Heights qualified for the championship round despite being invited to the U.S. Junior Championships last week after another skater withdrew from the competition. Klaber, along with his ice dancing partner Holly Moore, will compete at the 2011 U.S. Figure Skating Championships next month in Greensboro, N.C.

Group B
The round belonged to 14-year-old Lawrence Lung, who represents the North Jersey Figure Skating Club. He became the third man of the day to break the 60-point barrier, earning 60.80 points. Lung began his program with a clean triple Lutz good for 6.00 points. He added a Level 4 flying sit spin before closing the number with a Level 3 combination spin. Daniel Petrenko (12) returned to the U.S. Junior Championships after being forced to withdraw a year ago due to injury. He placed 19 as juvenile boy in 2008. This year, Petrenko enters the championship round as the sixth seed after earning 52.85 points Wednesday (second in group B). He earned positive grades of execution on eight of 10 elements including a double Axel-double toe combination. The Detroit Skating Club saw two athletes qualify for the championship round as Timothy Sterbenz and Daniel Takayama finished third and sixth, respectively.