Ice Network

Hicks beats Ando, leads U.S. gold rush in Graz

Americans win ladies, pairs, dance events at Ice Challenge
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Courtney Hicks made nice with Miki Ando off the ice, but she whipped her on it, defeating the two-time world champion by nearly 16 points. -Kitty DeLio LaForte

Team USA sent seven athletes to the Ice Challenge in Graz, Austria, and each came home with a medal. U.S. skaters won the ladies, pairs and ice dance events and grabbed an additional bronze in pairs.

Courtney Hicks claimed her second gold medal of the season, with her first coming at the U.S. International Figure Skating Classic in Salt Lake City. Hicks was just behind Miki Ando of Japan after the short program, but she blew away the two-time world champion in the free skate, earning 110.07 points in that segment. Hicks finished with a total score of 166.33, defeating Ando, the silver medalist, by nearly 16 points. Nicole Rajicova of Slovakia took bronze with 137.81 points.

Second after the short program to Maylin Wende and Daniel Wende of Germany, Gretchen Donlan and Andrew Speroff took first in the free skate to earn their second gold medal of the season. Donlan and Speroff earned the top components score in the event and also added four Level 4 elements, finishing with 162.59 points.

The Wendes opened the event with the top short program but incurred two deductions in their free skate and ended the competition with 160.92 points. Americans Tarah Kayne and Daniel O'Shea were third after the short program and remained there despite putting down the second-best free skate. They earned 157.65 points en route to the bronze medal. The medal is the second of the season for Kayne and O'Shea, as they opened their campaign with a bronze medal at the U.S. International Classic.

Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus were second after the short dance but earned the top free dance score to win the gold medal with 142.33 points. The duo received positive grades of execution throughout their free dance, which included five Level 4 elements. With the victory, they captured their first international gold medal of their career. Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Sorensen of Denmark finished second with 139.09 points, while Tanja Kolbe and Stefano Caruso of Germany wrapped up the bronze with 138.46 points.