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Messing leads Dmitriev by 3.67 after men's short

Canadian is third; Aaron, Brown sit fifth and seventh

Keegan Messing leads after the men's short program at world juniors.
Keegan Messing leads after the men's short program at world juniors. (Getty Images)

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By Klaus-Reinhold Kany, special to icenetwork.com
(03/03/2011) - The world's best junior men put on quite a show in the short program competition on Thursday, with many clean programs and only four falls from the 30 skaters.

Alaska's Keegan Messing, eighth at the 2011 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, leads the field after a flawless program to the soundtrack of Robin Hood that earned 72.58 points.

Messing opening the program with an easy-looking triple Axel that gained 10.36 points (the base value for a triple Axel is 8.5 points). He earned another 10.50 points for a fine combination of triple Lutz-triple toe loop, and followed with a solid triple loop, fast spins and energetic steps. His program components averaged 6.3 points.

"I went out and had some fun and at the end of my program my energy increased and [I felt as if] I was on top of the world," Messing, 19, said.

"My triple Axel was bigger than I expected it to be, and I think I could not have done better. I did break my skate lace before I got on the ice for the competition, so I just had to tie it together before I stepped on the ice, but other than that it has been going really well. I worked a lot on my overall strength, my carriage, and my general skating skills. Hopefully I can show my quad in the free program."

Russia's Artur Dmitriev, who repaired the boot that gave him trouble in the qualification round, is second with 68.91 points. He did the same clean elements as Messing, but his components averaged around 6 points.

"Everything worked out very well today, I had no more boot problems," Dmitriev said. "Today I showed what I can do. I worked a lot on my steps and spins in the last few months."

Dmitriev was one of the relatively few top juniors who competed in the qualification round.

"On the one hand it was an advantage for me to have skate the qualification, because I know the rink and the ice quality," he said. "On the other hand I might be more tired in the free program."

Andrei Rogozine of Canada sits in third position with 67.27 points after a solid program including a strong triple Axel and a good combination of triple flip-triple toe loop. All of his spins gained Level 3.

"At [Canadian] nationals, I was not so good, so I started to train harder afterwards," he said. "My practice in the last few days here did not go very well. But it was no surprise for me that I skated a clean program. I am proud of myself that I did all I can."

U.S. junior champion Max Aaron performed a clean short program and is fifth with 66.96 points. The Colorado Springs-based skater began his program with a clean triple Axel, followed by a solid triple Lutz-triple toe loop.

"I am totally happy with my performance, element by element," Aaron said. "I felt motivated by the big applause of the crowd here."

Jason Brown, ninth at the U.S. Championships, drew to skate third and is seventh with 62.64 points.

The 16-year-old from the suburbs of Chicago performed a dynamic Spanish short including a double Axel; triple Lutz-triple toe; and the required triple loop, although he got an edge call on his Lutz. All three of his spins gained Level 4, and his steps were excellent as well.

"I did what I do in training all the time," Brown said. "It is a very good experience for me to compete here at my first Junior Worlds. It can always be better, but I am happy. I am [close on] the triple Axel, so I hope to be able to show it soon in the future."