Chen wins hometown International Figure Skating Classic

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Nathan Chen won his hometown U.S. International Figure Skating Classic on Friday night at the Salt Lake City Sports Complex.

The 18-year-old U.S. champion won the free skate with 183.24 points for a total of 275.04. He took the lead into the finale after topping the sport program Thursday night.

”This is the first ice I stepped on as a kid,” Chen said. ”I never imagined that this is where I’d be, but saw the process day after day and it’s amazing how far I went.”

Chen dazzled the crowd by executing a quad lutz and quad loop for his first two elements. He also mixed in a pair of triple flips and a triple toe-loop. Chen pushed boundaries while winning a national title by becoming the first skater to land four kinds of quadruple jumps and seven clean quadruple jumps overall in a competition.

”There’s a lot of potential with the programs I have right now,” Chen said. ”Adding in a bunch of quads is not the main priority. It’s building back to where I was and keep evolving the rest of the program.”

Fellow American Max Aaron was second in the free skate and second overall at 261.56. Canadian Liam Frius was third at 248.29.

Japan’s Marin Honda won the women’s short program, earning 66.90 points to edge 18-year-old U.S. champion Karen Chen. Chen had a score of 66.18, and American Mirai Nagasu was third with 63.81.

Coming into the event as a defending national champion brought unfamiliar pressure to Karen Chen. She isn’t used to being in the spotlight, but says what she accomplished last season has created momentum for a push to earning a spot in the Olympics.

”This is my ultimate goal,” the California skater said. This is something that I have dreamed of for years. I feel like it’s also attainable and it’s something I desperately want to happen.”

Canadians Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro won the pairs with a total score of 188.76. Americans took the next three spots Alexa Scimeca-Knierim and Chris Knierim were second at 186.08, followed by Chelsea Liu and Brian Johnson at 181.40, and Haven Denny and Brandon Frazier at 168.47. Scimeca-Knierim and Knierim, third after the short program, topped the free skate at 124.76. Moore-Towers and Marinaro followed with 123.00.

Americans Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue topped the pairs short dance program at 71.15. Japan’s Kana Muramoto and Chris Reed were second at 60.00, and Americans Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker followed at 56.65.