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Farris, Gold reach top of podium in Estonia

U.S. leads with way five medals at season's final JGP stop

Joshua Farris captured the third JGP gold medal of his career in Tallinn, Estonia.
Joshua Farris captured the third JGP gold medal of his career in Tallinn, Estonia. (Lindsey Weber)

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By Kristin Zinsmeister, special to icenetwork.com
(10/15/2011) - American skaters won five medals, including gold in ladies and men's, at the seventh and final stop in the 2011 Junior Grand Prix Series.

Ladies

Gracie Gold won the top prize in Estonia in her JGP debut. Skating to music from The Mission and The Untouchables, she outpaced her competitors by 15 points, earning a score of 172.69. The highlights of her free skate included a triple Lutz-triple toe, a double Axel-triple toe and two level four spins.

"It is exciting to win gold at my JGP debut," Gold said. "I am ecstatic with both of my skates."

Second place went to Risa Shoji of Japan. Shoji completed a triple Salchow-triple toe-double toe, a double Axel-double toe and a level four flying sit spin in her Legends of the Fall free skate and, combined with her short program total, earned 157.83 points. Her silver in Tallinn marks her second such medal in this year's JGP Series, having also placed second in Australia. Those finishes qualify her for the Junior Grand Prix Final, Dec. 8-11 in Quebec City, Quebec.

Samantha Cesario earned her second bronze medal in this year's JGP Series. She displayed strong technical skills, completing a triple flip-double toe and a level four flying sit spin in her Black Swan free skate. She is the first alternate at the JGP Final.

"I am so grateful to have been given a second JGP this season, and I had such a great experience here in Estonia," Cesario said. "I thought I could have skated a better free program, but I'm so thrilled that I was able to medal at both of the JGPs I was assigned to."

Men's

Joshua Farris earned his second gold medal in the series this fall, qualifying him for the JGP Final. Skating to music from the Transformers soundtrack, Farris performed a nearly flawless free skate that included a triple Axel, a triple flip-triple toe, a triple Lutz-double toe and two level four spins. He earned 207.67 total points, winning gold by 21 points over silver medalist Maxim Kovtun of Russia.

"I was pleased with both of my programs, and I'm looking forward to improving my long program as the season continues," Farris said.

Kovtun, who won JGP Romania earlier this season, earned 186.87 points. His Austin Powers free skate included two triple Axels, with one in combination, as well as four other triples. Combined with his gold in Romania, Kovtun earned a berth to the JGP Final.

Japan's Shomo Uno moved up from fourth after the short program to earn the bronze. The highlights of his free skate, set to Ravel's "Tzigane," included a triple flip-double toe-double toe, a double Axel-triple two and two level four spins. He earned 175.15 points as well as his best placement in the JGP series, having come in fourth last month in Poland.

American Shotaro Omori placed fifth.

Pairs

JGP Poland silver medalists Katherine Bobak and Ian Beharry of Canada moved up from second after the short program to win the event. They skated a solid free skate, completing two throw triples, a side-by-side double Axel-double Axel sequence and a triple twist. They earned 147.72 points overall and qualified for the JGP Final.

Americans Britney Simpson and Matthew Blackmer also moved up one spot, to second, after placing third in the short program to take the silver medal. The newly formed team completed two throw triples and a level four pairs spin in their Titanic free skate en route to a score of 141.28 points and a place at the JGP Final.

Their teammates, Jessica Calalang and Zack Sidhu, won bronze. The duo completed side-by-side double Axels and two throw triples, one of which was a throw triple Lutz, in their Miss Saigon free skate. Their finish in Estonia earned them a bid to the JGP Final, marking the first time since the 2007-08 season that two U.S. pairs teams have qualified for that event.

"We are so excited to qualify for our first JGP Final," Calaland and Sidhu said. "We've had a plan with our coaches from the beginning of the year, and we hope to continue to execute it."

Ice Dancing

Russia's Anna Yanovskaia and Sergei Mozgov earned the gold in Tallinn to go with the bronze they already won in Poland. They received level fours on four of the elements in their free dance and scored 16 points higher for the competition than the second-place team. They will compete at the JGP Final in December.

Irina Shtork and Taavi Rand took second place in their home country. They earned a combined total of 126.51 points, completing four level four elements in their free dance. A few negative grades of execution on their twizzles were the only blemish on their score sheet. This was their first medal in 10 tries in the JGP Series.

Evgenia Kosigina and Nikolai Moroshkin of Russia won the bronze, their second JGP medal of the season, having placed second in Latvia. The duo slid up from fourth place in the short despite also finishing fourth in the free.