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Gilles leads after ladies short in Korea

Co-favorites Musademba, Fujisawa fall to bottom of standings

Alexe Gilles and coach Becky Calvin, seen here in South Africa earlier this season, were very happy with Thursday's results in Goyang City.
Alexe Gilles and coach Becky Calvin, seen here in South Africa earlier this season, were very happy with Thursday's results in Goyang City. (Rick Perez)

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By J. Barry Mittan, special to icenetwork.com
(12/11/2008) - Five American ladies qualified for the SBS ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating (JGP) Final in Goyang City, Republic of Korea. In Thursday's short program, one of those ladies jumped to the lead, but it was not the top qualifier.

Alexe Gilles, who finished sixth at last year's Final, won the short program with a season-high 54.24 points while skating to "The Girl with the Flaxen Hair." Although she doubled the second jump in a planned triple toe-triple toe combination, positive Grades of Execution on her triple Lutz and double Axel vaulted her to the top of the standings.

"I skated pretty well, except for not doing the second triple toe," she said. "My spin levels were pretty good."

Kanako Murakami of Japan earned 51.04 points to place second. She skated to a medley of Charlie Chaplin tunes, including "Limelight Theme" and "Modern Times."

She received deductions for a wrong-edge take-off on her triple Lutz and a downgraded double Axel.

U.S. skater Angela Maxwell finished with 48.84 points, good enough for third place, after completing her triple toe-triple toe combination but falling on her triple Lutz. She skated to "What Hands Can Do" and "Masquerade Waltz."

"I trained really hard, and I really felt ready," she said.

Teammate Becky Bereswill, who skated to Rogers and Hammerstein's "Carousel Waltz," was close behind in fourth place with 48.68 points. Her biggest mistake was popping a planned triple Lutz.

Another American, Amanda Dobbs, placed fifth with 47.48 points. In her "Warsaw Concerto" program, she only did a double toe loop as the second jump in a planned triple toe-triple toe combination.

The lowest-ranked qualifier, Canada's Diane Szmiett, scored 45.64 points to place sixth. She skated to "Once Upon a December."

The two co-favorites faired poorly on Thursday. Japan's Yukiko Fujisawa only scored 44.48 points to place seventh. Using "The Railway Children," the No. 2 qualifier fell on the opening triple flip in her triple flip-double toe combination then singled her planned triple Lutz after a bad takeoff.

Kristine Musademba, the leader in the JGP points standings, finished a dismal eighth with only 43.04 points. She fell on the opening jump in her triple flip-double toe combination then barely held the landing of her triple Lutz, which was still downgraded. Musademba skated to "Within" by William Joseph.