FROM US FIGURE SKATING:
KAITLIN HAWAYEK AND JEAN-LUC BAKER WIN GOLD, NATHAN CHEN EARNS BRONZE AT THE WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
(3/16/14) - Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker claimed the World Junior title in ice dance, while Nathan Chen earned the bronze medal in the men's event at the 2014 ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Seventh at this event a year ago, Hawayek and Baker became the first Americans to win the World Junior title in ice dance since 2009 when the event was also held in Sofia, Bulgaria. Entering the free dance in first place, Hawayek and Baker saw Russians Anna Yanovskaya and Sergey Mozgov post a big score before they skated last in the free dance. Needing to post a score more than six points better than their season's best, Hawayek and Baker earned a score of eight points better than their best this year to take home the title with a total of 157.12 points. Americans Lorraine McNamara and Quinn Carpenter and Rachel Parsons and Michael Parsons finished in fourth and eighth, respectively, both improving on their finishes from this event last season.
In his first appearance at the World Junior Championships, Chen earned the bronze medal with 212.03 points. Sixth after the short program, Chen used his superb skating skills, strong jumps and excellent spins to land on the podium with the third-best free skate of the day. His point total was only 0.48 points behind second place finisher Adian Pitkeev of Russia and five points behind Nam Nguyen of Canada. Also in his first appearance at this event, Jordan Moeller finished in ninth with 188.14 points, retaining three spots for the U.S. men at this event next year. The reigning World Junior bronze medalist, Shotaro Omori, did not qualify for the free skate after posting a score of 51.81 points in the short program. Battling injuries throughout the year, Omori finished in 26th place.
Madeline Aaron and Max Settlage, the 2014 U.S. junior champions, maintained their fifth-place position after the short program to finish in the same spot overall. They set international personal bests throughout the competition and recorded a total score of 144.91 points. Kaitlin Budd and Nikita Cheban finished ninth, while Aya Takai and Brian Johnson were 11th. Topping the podium were Xiaoyu Yu and Yang Jin of China. Two Russian teams, Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov and Maria Vigalova and Egor Zakroev, finished second and third, respectively.
In the ladies event, reigning U.S. junior champion Amber Glenn recorded Team USA's best finish, seventh, with 158.88 points. Her teammates, Karen Chen (155.83) and Tyler Pierce (138.58) finished in ninth and 14th, respectively. A trio of Russians topped the podium with Elena Radionova claiming gold, Serafima Sakhanovich earning silver and Evgenia Medvedeva taking bronze.
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