Hawayek and Baker, Wang medal for U.S. in PolandUSA dancers secure spot in JGP Final; Russians claim ladies, men's gold
Team USA added another pair of medals at JGP Poland, with Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker earning gold and Angela Wang taking home silver in her season opener. With the win, Hawayek and Baker have secured their spot in the Junior Grand Prix Final, which will be held in December in Fukuoka, Japan.
Hawayek and Baker, who were victors at JGP Mexico a few weeks ago, set international personal best scores across the board in Gdansk, Poland. Their short dance received Level 3's and 4's for every element, including a Level 4 on the first pass of their quickstep pattern dance. They also earned the highest level on their twizzles and rotational lift.
Though their twizzles didn't go quite as well in the free dance, set to music from Amélie, they rebounded nicely to put out a strong program worth 82.26 points. The highlights of the program were a pair of Level 3 step sequences that were worth nearly eight points each.
Their total score of 144.84 points was nearly 10 points higher than that of Ukraine's Alexandra Nazarova and Maxim Nikitin (135.22). Nazarova and Nikitin earned their first medal in five appearances on the JGP circuit. Russia's Alla Loboda and Pavel Drozd finished third with 134.11 points.
Also representing Team USA, Elliana Pogrebinsky and Ross Gudis finished fourth and, like their teammates, set new personal bests. They raised their score from JGP Latvia by almost two points to 122.91 points.
Russia's Evgenia Medvedeva sailed to the ladies victory, marking her second JGP gold medal is as many career tries; she also won the 2013 JGP Latvia title to open the season. Her 179.96 points were more than 27 more than the number totaled by American silver medalist Angela Wang, who made her season debut in Belarus.
Medvedeva had just a three-point lead after the short program, but the gap grew considerably following a nearly flawless free skate to "La Califfa" and "Never Gonna Miss You." The skate featured a pair of triple-triple jump combinations. The program-opening triple flip-triple toe earned 10.30 points, while a triple Salchow-triple toe in the second half of the program netted 9.93 of the total 118.35 points.
Despite struggling in the free skate, Wang maintained silver-medal position thanks to high program components and clean elements in the "A Beautiful Storm" short program. She saw positive GOEs (grades of execution) on all seven elements and executed three Level 4 spins. Nearly 26 of her 58.00 segment points came on the second mark.
"For my season opener, I am pretty happy with how this event went," Wang said. "My short program went well, and I was happy that I won the components, as we have really worked on that aspect of my skating this year. My long program had some good elements, but of course I know I can improve everything as the season progresses."
Wang placed fourth in the free skate with 94.36 points. She opened with an impressive triple Lutz-triple toe-double toe combination but struggled with three jumping passes later in the program which resulted in 3.00 in deductions.
Bronze went to Canada's Gabrielle Daleman. Daleman, who competed as a senior at the 2013 World Team Trophy, earned 148.29 points in her season opener.
Wang's teammate Mariah Bell finished seventh.
Team Russia claimed the top two spots on the podium, with Adian Pitkeev setting the pace in the men's event. The only athlete to break the 200-point barrier, Pitkeev totaled 213.89. His free skate, worth 142.39 points, included four triple jumps in the second half of the skate.
Alexander Petrov finished behind his teammate with 195.40 points. He moved up from second after the short program, thanks to a "Once Upon a Time in America" free skate that received 131.70 points. 76.20 of those points came on technical elements such as a triple Lutz-triple toe and triple flip-single loop-triple Salchow combinations.
Chinese teammates He Zhang (186.89 points) and Wenbo Zang (167.89 points) rounded out the top four.
Jordan Moeller recorded Team USA's best finish (sixth), while Brian Krentz made his international debut and finished 19th.