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JGP Series continues this week in Lake Placid

Joshua Farris opens season; Russians Vasilisa Davankova and Andrei Deputat enter as favorites

2011 Junior Grand Prix Final bronze medalist Joshua Farris looks to start strong in 2012.
2011 Junior Grand Prix Final bronze medalist Joshua Farris looks to start strong in 2012. (Tom Briglia)

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By Mimi Whetstone, special to icenetwork.com
(08/28/2012) - The Junior Grand Prix (JGP) Series returns to the United States for the first time since 2009 with the JGP United States in Lake Placid, N.Y., from Aug. 29-Sept. 2. The site of the 1980 Olympic Winter Games welcomes a slew of American and international skaters, as they compete in the second event of the JGP season and the first to include pairs. Icenetwork.com will have live and on-demand coverage of all the competitions.

Ladies

Courtney Hicks, the 2011 U.S. junior champion, returns to competition in Lake Placid. Her 2011-12 campaign started with promise as she won the title at 2011 JGP Australia before suffering a season-ending leg injury at JGP Italy. Challenging Hicks will be reigning Japanese junior champion Satoko Miyahara, who finished second at 2011 JGP Poland with a personal-best score of 162.20 points, and So Youn Park of Korea, who placed fourth at JGP Italy. Joining Hicks as part of the U.S. contingent will be Kiri Baga, who won silver at 2010 JGP Japan and gold at both JGP Germany and JGP Turkey in 2009, and Angela Wang, the eight-place finisher at the 2012 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in senior.

Men's

American Joshua Farris enters the competition as the reigning world junior silver medalist and JGP Final bronze medalist. Farris won both of his JGP events last year in Estonia and Poland and earned an international best score of 221.97 points at the 2012 World Junior Championships. Also competing are Japan's Keiji Tanaka, who earned silver at the 2011 World Junior Championships, Korea's June Hyoung Lee, who earned bronze at 2011 JGP Italy, and Vladislav Tarasenko of Russia, who captured two consecutive junior men's titles (2010-11) at Cup of Nice in Nice, France. Another to watch could be Germany's Martin Rappe. Though he has yet to medal in three years on the JGP, he has steadily improved his placements in each competition.

Pairs

Favored to win the pairs title are Vasilisa Davankova and Andrei Deputat of Russia. They won the bronze medal at the 2012 World Junior Championships with a personal-best score of 153.66 points. Challenging Davankova and Deputat are reigning U.S. junior champions Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier, who finished fourth at the 2012 World Junior Championships, and Margaret Purdy and Michael Marinaro of Canada, who finished just behind the Americans at the World Juniors.

Ice Dancing

Russia's Evgenia Kosigina and Nikolai Moroshkin have five JGP medals to their credit. The duo won gold at 2010 JGP Germany, bronze at both 2010 JGP France and 2011 JGP Estonia, and silver in 2011 at JGP Latvia. Also competing are reigning U.S. junior champions Alexandra Aldridge and Daniel Eaton, who won bronze at the 2012 World Junior Championships with a personal-best score of 141.14 points, and Americans Madeline Heritage and Nathaniel Fast, who placed fifth at JGP Australia last year. Kosigina and Moroshkin's teammates, Daria Morozova and Mikhail Zhirnov, who finished fifth at 2011 JGP Latvia and won the junior dance title at 2011 Mont Blanc Trophy in Courmayeur, Italy, will make a run for the podium, as will reigning Canadian junior champions Andreanne Poulin and Marc-Andre Servant.