Japan's Uno leads at Progressive Skate America short program
HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. (AP) Ashley Wagner won the Progressive Skate America women's title Saturday, edging California training partner Mariah Bell.
Japan's Shoma Uno topped the men's short program earlier, followed by Americans Adam Rippon and Jason Brown. On Saturday night, Canadians Julianne Seguin and Charlie Bilodeau won the pairs title, and Americans Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani topped the short dance.
Wagner, the world silver medalist, overcame a few mistakes in her free skate for her second Skate America title in five seasons.
''Today was a little sticky, but at the end of the day I got the job done,'' Wagner said. ''I think I built upon what I did at the Japan Open. It felt like more of a complete program and I think that's what pulled me through today. Beyond that, I think I have some serious spin levels to work on going into Cup of China; they were dearly missed today.''
Wagner, who also noted problems with her loop combination, finished with 196.44 points.
Bell, who was sixth after the short program, turned in an event-best free skate with her East of Eden program that helped her net a total score of 191.59. Bell competed on the Grand Prix Series for the first time last year at Skate America, where she placed eighth. She moved two months ago from Colorado to train under coach Rafael Arutunian in Lakewood, California.
''I'm proud of my performance today,'' Bell said. ''My goal this season has been to improve on my personal best. I haven't really been thinking about results or placements, but being on the podium is exciting and I'm looking forward to the rest of the season. I'm feeling now like I can do it under pressure and that's something that I can take with me.''
Japan's Mai Mihara, second after the short program, hung on to place third with 189.28 points.
U.S. champion Gracie Gold, third after the short program, fell out of medal contention with two falls in her free skate.
''It was an unfortunate long program; the score was overly generous but I appreciate what I was able to pull out,'' Gold said. ''I need to go back to the drawing board.''
Uno landed two quad jumps and secured the lead after the short program, with Rippon and Brown close behind in second and third.
The free skate Sunday will determine the winner.
''Everything went as I was practicing,'' Uno said through a translator. ''It was unexpected that I missed the triple toe at the end of the combination, but the quad went really well, maybe too well. Overall it was a good performance.''
Uno scored 89.15 points, while Rippon was second at 87.32, and Brown third at 85.75. Rippon didn't attempt a quad, while Brown fell on his opening quad toeloop.
''It's always exciting to skate well at home and have the audience on their feet,'' said Rippon, the U.S. champion. ''Later in the season I'd like to have a quad in my short program and improve the overall quality.''
Brown, from the Chicago area, said he was happy with his performance despite the fall on the quad.
''My mindset for this event is attack, so I just didn't want to hold back and that's how I feel I did,'' he said.
Seguin and Bilodeau, third after the short program, rallied to win the pairs free skate and competition with a score of 197.31. The Canadian team finished third last year at Skate America.
''Especially for me, today was a big challenge with the mistake I made yesterday on my jump,'' Bilodeau said. ''I was feeling a bit more stressed than other competitions. It was a big challenge for me to keep focused on the long and forget what happened. We did a clean program so we're really happy with that.''
Americans Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier were second at 192.65, and Russia's Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov, first after the short program, settled for third with 185.94.
The Shibutanis, the reigning U.S. ice dance champions, entertained the crowd with their Frank Sinatra and Jay Z mash-up featuring blues and hip-hop rhythms. Their short dance score of 73.04 topped Russia's Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev (68.92) and Americans Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue (68.78).