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Mahbanoozadeh leads men at Skate Detroit

Jiang takes senior ladies title

Armin Mahbanoozadeh (right) and Jonathan Cassar place first and second, respectively, in the short.
Armin Mahbanoozadeh (right) and Jonathan Cassar place first and second, respectively, in the short. (Jacque Tiegs)

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By Denise Manzagol, special to icenetwork.com
(07/23/2011) - Day two of Skate Detroit is in the books, and there were certainly some memorable performances.

Junior ladies free skate
Gracie Gold struggled through the opening jumps in her "Sugar Plum Fairy" free skate but then sailed through the rest of the program, receiving a first-place score of 155.89 points.

"At first, I was nervous because I was tight," Gold said. "I popped my opening Lutz, which is odd for me. I made mistakes on my first two jumps, so I told myself to focus and to calm down. The second half of the program I was a little winded. My hardest jumps are the loop and the flip, so when I landed them, I relaxed through the program."

With strong footwork and a clean free skate, reigning U.S. novice champion Hannah Miller posted a total score of 148.10.

Barbie Long placed third, scoring 140.70 points.

Senior short dance
In their competitive debut, Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue scored 49.27 points.

"It was a shaky performance but to be expected," Hubbell said. "It was good to get our program out before Lake Placid."

Anastasia Olson and Jordan Cowan scored 45.19 points.

Senior men's short program
Armin Mahbanoozadeh fell on his opening quad toe but still racked up 66.52 points, putting him in the lead.

"My goal is to put a quad program out and practice set-ups," Mahbanoozadeh said. "I have a new mindset that either I land a quad or not. If I miss, I have to keep going."

Jonathan Cassar scored 63.99 points for his fun, entertaining tango medley.

"I've always enjoyed the artistic side of skating," said Cassar. "I love interpreting and creativity. My music talent developed through skating. At Oakland University, I learned about music structure, which has helped my music understanding."

Alex Zahradnicek rounds out the top three. He landed a triple flip-triple toe en route to a segment score of 57.60.

Keegan Messing had a rough skate, popping his planned quad. He scored 53.59 points for his Robin Hood program.

Senior ladies free skate
Nina Jiang's winning free skate, which netted 93.05 points, included a double Axel performed out of a spread eagle. She racked up 144.76 points for the competition.

Alexe Gilles followed behind with 131.28 points.

"I'm happy with the start of [the season], but there is room for improvement," Gilles said. "Once you are in the program, you have to let it go."

Canada's Kate Charbonneau landed in third place with 128.99 points. She exhibited good flexibility on her spiral and ended her program with a layback into a Biellmann.