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Rivkin takes juvenile ladies gold by slim margin

Han grabs silver medal in close competition

Dalia Rivkin stole the show in the juvenile girls event on Saturday night.
Dalia Rivkin stole the show in the juvenile girls event on Saturday night. (Zac Lambert)

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By Zac Lambert, special to icenetwork.com
(12/18/2010) - It was little Dalia Rivkin who stole the show Saturday night in the juvenile girls free skate competition. The small, yet poised, skater out of the North Jersey Figure Skating Club won the gold with a solid performance which earned a score of 52.46 points.

"It feels amazing," said Rivkin. "I've never been here before. First time at the [U.S.] Junior Championships, and it went well."

Rivkin's program was highlighted by a double Lutz-single loop-double-Salchow combination, which earned a score of 4.36 points. Her highest grade of execution, a 0.71, came on her Level 4 change of foot combination spin.

Those near the ice were treated to an entertaining scene late in the competition as Rivkin was waiting, very anxiously, to see if her first-place score would hold up. Once the final skater's score was announced and Rivkin realized she had won, jubilation ensued while she jumped up and down while hugging her coach Julie Lautowa.

Heidi Han of the Los Angeles Figure Skating Club finished second, earning 52.21 points. Han received the highest program components score [24.88] of anyone in the competition.

"I tried my best," said Han. "I kind of got tired at the end but I still tried my best."

Han skated to Vanessa Mae's "Leyenda," a romantic Spanish guitar theme. Han's highest-scoring sequence of her routine was a Level 3 straight line step sequence, which received a score of 4.09 and an 0.79 GOE. If not for a 1.0 point deduction on a fall, Han would have won the gold medal.

Julie Phengsy of All Year Figure Skating Club took home the bronze after a strong routine which earned a score of 50.85 while Dallas Figure Skating Club's Morgan Flood won the pewter medal with 50.45 points.