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Kosigina, Moroshkin top short, seek gold souvenir

Aldridge, Eaton finish second; Pogrebinsky, Gudis thrilled to land in fifth

Russia's Evgenia Kosigina and Nikoli Moroshkin posted 59.44 points and lead comfortably.
Russia's Evgenia Kosigina and Nikoli Moroshkin posted 59.44 points and lead comfortably. (Daphne Backman)

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By Adam Spunberg
(08/31/2012) - Russian ice dancers Evgenia Kosigina and Nikoli Moroshkin have been gobbling up souvenirs ever since they arrived in Lake Placid for the JGP Lake Placid event, and now they appear to be halfway to the most coveted collectible of all: the ice dancing gold medal.

"There are a lot of souvenirs we got," Moroshkin said, laughing, but when it came to his team's performance, he said, "We are very happy with the score. It was the best result. We have been working very hard this season."

The Russian duo has never topped a podium in the Junior Grand Prix Series, having captured the silver at 2011 JGP Latvia and bronze at 2011 JGP Estonia. They prevailed in the short dance Friday, posting a personal-best 59.44 points, thanks in part to strong elements scores, where they were awarded four Level 4 marks.

As pleased as she was with her performance to "Lord of the Dance," Kosigina thinks she and Moroshkin are still leaving points on the table.

"We are hopefully going to do it better than that," she said.

U.S. junior champions Alexandra Aldridge and Daniel Eaton amassed 53.88 points and sit in second place. Fourth place at the 2011 Junior Grand Prix Final, they kicked off the 2012-13 season with hopes of making a bigger dent on the international stage.

"We feel good," Aldridge said. "It was the first short dance of the season, pretty much, and we feel like we put out a pretty strong program, and we're looking forward to doing the free dance now."

"We had a strong performance," Eaton said. "We just have to try and come back for the free dance and try and pull back to the top."

Aldridge and Eaton, who recently competed at the 2012 Lake Placid Ice Dance Championships in July, felt a familiarity returning again so soon.

"It was very comfortable, just to be back," Aldridge said.

"It's home," Eaton said. "We've been coming here for 10, 12 years now. Every year now. It's a good competition, and we're glad that we can host an ISU event in the States again."

Daria Morozova and Mikhail Zhirnov of Russia, fifth-place finishers at JGP Latvia last year, settled into third place with 47.22 points. They hold a slim 1.27-point lead over Canadians Andreanne Poulin and Marc-Andre Servant.

Americans Elliana Pogrebinsky and Ross Gudis, the 2011 U.S. novice pewter medalists, were ecstatic with their fifth-place finish, twirling out of the kiss and cry as if still in the middle of their Blues and hip hop routine.

"Felt great. Solid," Gudis said. "We came in and did everything that we wanted to do in the short dance, and we're happy with our performance."

Pogrebinsky described their effort as "Amazing!" and attributed much of their impressive international debut to their first-place free dance at the Lake Placid Ice Dance Championships.

"It felt like we were here a month ago when we just skated. It felt exactly the same. It was natural, and it helped us be less nervous," she said.

"Having a great skate a couple weeks before definitely gave us some momentum coming in," Gudis added.

Madeline Heritage and Nathaniel Fast, also of the U.S., landed in eighth place with 41.93 points.