MILWAUKEE (AP) Max Aaron became the first U.S. winner at Skate America in six years Saturday night, and Russian world junior champion Evgenia Medvedeva took the women’s title in her first Grand Prix Series event.
The 23-year-old Aaron landed two quad and six triple jumps and finished with 258.95 points. Japan’s Shoma Uno was second at 257.43.
Performing his ”Black Swan” program, Aaron moved from element to element without any problems until he hit a snag with the landing of his final jump, a double Axel.
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”Basically I wanted to stay in my mindset the whole time, stay focused on every element and listen to the music,” Aaron said. ”That was my goal and what I came here to do. Obviously at the end I had a little slip up. I started to think about the overall picture and that was a mistake, but I’m glad I got that far. I want to improve the next time I compete and get better and better.”
The victory was the first for a U.S. man at Skate America since 2009, when 2010 Olympic champion Evan Lysacek took gold in Lake Placid, New York.
U.S. champion Jason Brown failed to land his opening quad, but earned the bronze medal with 238.47.
The 17-year-old Uno is the world junior champion.
”Some of my jumps were a little shaky, but I was happy I held on,” Uno said.
The 15-year-old Medvedeva had a fall on a double Axel combination, but she rallied, adding double toe loops to the end of two jump elements. She finished with 206.01 points to edge U.S. Olympian Gracie Gold.
”You always have to think of what you have to do in case something goes wrong,” Medvedeva said. ”You have to think a step ahead. My coaches and I, we discuss this in case something doesn’t work. I know what to do and I do it.”
Gold doubled an intended triple Salchow late, but that was the only blemish in an otherwise brilliant performance by the 20-year-old. She won the free skate and finished with 202.80 points.
”On the last jumping pass, the takeoff was just a little slippy on the toepick and I just didn’t commit enough to really get in and try to save it, Gold said. ”It felt like the double flip yesterday. I just need to start putting out solid performances and building on them so that no matter what the takeoff is, I’ll feel confident enough to land it.”
China’s Sui Wenjing and Han Cong rallied to win the pairs, topping U.S. champions Alexa Scimeca and Christopher Knierim. The Chinese duo finished at 202.00.
”This is our first time to win this event,” Han said. ”America is very lucky for us.”
They also won the Four Continents Championships in 2012 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Scimeca and Knierim followed at 191.97.
”Our jumping passes have become more consistent,” Scimeca said. ”Unfortunately, today, when it mattered, we both went down. But for us it was one of the very first times we have not had to come from behind in the short. It’s a different kind of energy going in and hopefully this will be a trend that we’ll be ahead and skate a great long, too.”
In ice dance, U.S. champions and World silver medalists Madison Chock and Evan Bates succesfully defended their Skate America title. The Michigan-based team performed their Rachmaninoff concerto No. 2 program with passion and emotion, finishing with a score of 173.22. Second-year Russian team Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov earned the silver medal at 161.21.
”This free dance was a little bit of a fight for us tonight,” Chock said. ”It makes it that much easier the next time we go to competition to know that we will always have that fighting spirit.”
”It wasn’t that we were off,” Bates added. ”It’s just that sometimes things click and fall into place and sometimes there’s just a little bit of extra work that needs to go into it, and tonight was a little extra work for us.”