Fighting Farris flies ahead of field in men's short

U.S. favorite jumps to huge lead; Japan's Tanaka slides into second

Joshua Farris tallied 72.20 points to mount a commanding 13.57-point lead.
Joshua Farris tallied 72.20 points to mount a commanding 13.57-point lead. (Daphne Backman)


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By Josh Ellis, special to
(08/30/2012) - Joshua Farris got his international season off on the right foot, as he skated to nearly a 14-point lead in the men's short program at the second Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series event of the season, held in Lake Placid, N.Y..

Farris, the 2012 world junior silver medalist and 2011 JGP Final bronze medalist, felt right at home in Lake Placid in his second appearance at a JGP event in this venue. Farris earned 72.20 points for his short program, which he skated to Bach's "Cello Suite No. 1," performed by Yo-Yo Ma.

Farris opened his program with a strong triple Axel and earned 9.93 points, the highest score for a single jump in the competition. His next element, a triple Lutz-triple toe, earned 10.10 points, as he was able to fight the landing near the rink boards.

"Before coming into this competition, my Lutzes weren't great, so I was a little hesitant," Farris said. "I fought, and my coach said he's going to call me [Evgeni] Plushenko number two because he fights for everything but he always lands it."

Throughout the remainder of his performance, Farris added two Level 4 spins and a triple flip to earn the top elements score by nearly seven points. He also registered the top program components score by nearly five points.

"I skated great for my first big competition of the season," said Farris, who is planning to do a quad toe in Friday's free skate. "I had a lot of fun out there."

In second place is Keiji Tanaka of Japan, who earned 58.63 points for his "Afro Freak" short program. Tanaka is the 2011 world junior silver medalist and is in his third season competing in the JGP Series, earning three medals along the way.

Tanaka opened his program with a triple Axel, which received a grade of execution score of -2, but battled back with a triple flip, triple toe-triple toe and a Level 4 spin to finish with the third-best elements score. Tanaka is in second place with 58.63 points, largely on the strength of the second-best program components score of the competition.

Skating second of the 18 competitors, Adian Pitkeev of Russia sits in third place with 57.40 points. He earned the second-best elements score of the competition, aided by a triple Lutz-triple toe which earned 10.40 points, the highest-scoring combination jump in the competition. Pitkeev, skating in an animal print costume, performed three Level 4 spins to go along with a Level 3 step sequence.

In his international debut, 2012 U.S. novice silver medalist James Schetelich finished the short program with 37.87 points and placed 16th.

Team USA was originally scheduled to have three men in the competition -- the maximum allowed -- but Spencer Howe was forced to withdraw after suffering an injury to his left leg prior to the competition.