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Zawadzki posts record score to win junior ladies title

Siraj takes silver; Davis grabs bronze

Agnes Zawadzki is ready to make her mark on the senior ladies circuit this season.
Agnes Zawadzki is ready to make her mark on the senior ladies circuit this season. (Michelle Harvath)

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By Becca Staed Bishop, special to icenetwork.com
(01/22/2010) - Agnes Zawadzki not only expanded her nearly eight-point lead after the junior ladies short program but eclipsed the highest score set to date by a junior lady on the international judging system by nearly 16 points with her 108.73 free skate score for a 171.87 competition mark and the gold medal.

The 13-year-old Yasmin Siraj jumped from fourth after the short into second place overall with 151.05 points to win her second U.S. silver medal since finishing second as a juvenile lady in 2007. Lindsay Davis, 17, finished fifth in the short and fourth in the free skate, but capitalized on the missteps of short program leaders Kiri Baga and Angela Wang to win the bronze medal with a 133.97 final score.

Last year, Zawadzki finished fifth at sectionals, just missing a berth to this event by one spot after a coaching change and move from Chicago to Colorado Springs, Colo., called for some adjustment on her part.

"Last year, I was still adapting to the new stuff that I was given and couldn't really process it at sectionals," the 15-year-old said.

Skating to music from the Chicago soundtrack, Zawadzki landed five triples and six doubles, including a huge triple Lutz-double toe and triple toe-double toe-double loop, both of which earned a 1.14 Grade of Execution and a more than eight-point element score each. She displayed three Level 4 spins and a Level 2 step sequence, and garnered the highest component mark by more than four points of 51.72.

"I have grown so much in components, and I am finally at a high level, but I want to get higher," said Zawadzki, who is looking forward to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. "I've trained so hard for this and everybody's dream is to be an Olympic champion, but that junior championship is a step toward it."

Siraj delivered a near-flawless free skate to Rimsky-Korsakov's "Song of India," landing four clean triples and seven doubles, including three Axels in combination. Her only deduction of -0.60 came on a wobbly double toe intended to be a triple. All of her spins were Level 4s, and she performed one of only four Level 3 step sequences in the whole field. Her 47.43 component mark was the second highest.

"[Yasmin] came back today and did a good triple Lutz," said her coach, Mark Mitchell. "She does these all the time at home, so the mistake yesterday was a bit of a surprise. I am glad she didn't let it get to her and came back and showed she's a good competitor."

This was a highly anticipated finish after Siraj finished just off the podium in fifth last year after injuring herself just days before competition.

"A week before nationals I tripped on the ice and fractured my wrist," she said. "They casted it after competition, but I wore just a little bit of flesh colored tape in competition."

Davis, who came in ninth place as a novice lady last year, had no expectations for this event. She's competed nationally since 2005 with a best finish of seventh as an intermediate lady in 2006.

"My goal was just to come and do the best I could do and let the chips fall as they may," Davis said. "Last year was a tough year for me. It was my first [senior] nationals, and I was doing senior pairs and novice ladies. I didn't place as well as I wanted to in either event, so I wanted to come back this year and do the best I could."

Davis skated a mostly clean short program to music from Cirque du Soliel, with only one deduction of 0.80 for her double Axel-double toe-double loop combination, in which the loop was downgraded. However, she landed three clean triples and seven clean doubles, including three Axels. Her change-foot combination spin was graded a Level 4 and she also earned a level three straight line step sequence.

"I think skating more on the ice last year than I would have been able to at novice gave me the confidence I needed to go out there and do what I needed to go and have a good time this year," she said.

The 2009 U.S. novice champion, Baga, who racked up two first-place finishes on the Junior Grand Prix Series earlier this season, slipped from first after the short into fourth place overall with a 127.35 competition mark after falling on three of her jumps and being downgraded on two.