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Aldridge and Eaton, Farris punch tickets to Final

Team USA takes men's, ice dancing gold; Long wins silver in JGP debut

Joshua Farris, pictured here with coach Damon Allen, won his fifth career gold medal in the JGP Series.
Joshua Farris, pictured here with coach Damon Allen, won his fifth career gold medal in the JGP Series. (Dana Graham)

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By Mimi Whetstone, special to icenetwork.com
(09/29/2012) - Joshua Farris and ice dancers Alexandra Aldridge and Daniel Eaton each won their second Junior Grand Prix titles of the year at JGP Slovenia, earning the chance to compete at the JGP Final, Dec. 5-9 in Sochi, Russia.

Ladies

The title went to Korea's Hae Jin Kim, who mustered just a fourth-place finish in the free skate. Kim completed a triple toe-triple toe combination in her La Boheme short program and earned the highest program components score of the event, giving her a large enough lead heading into the free skate to edge American Barbie Long by less than a point.

Long turned in two solid programs to earn the silver medal in her JGP debut. Her free skate, set to the music of West Side Story, included a triple Lutz-triple toe combination and three Level 4 spins.

"I'm very excited about how everything went," said Long, who finished with a combined score of 147.19 points. "I skated well, and I improved on my last two competitions. Now I want to work on my triple flip, the overall speed of my program and presentation before regionals in 10 days."

Russia's Evgenia Gerasimova won the free skate with a segment score of 96.14 points. After finishing fifth in the short program, Gerasimova completed six triple jumps in her free skate, including two triple Lutz combinations, for a combined score of 142.93 points.

Long's teammate, Courtney Hicks, who came in third in the free skate, finished just off the podium, in fourth place.

Men's

Farris captured his second JGP gold of the year by more than 24 points. Farris won the title at JGP Lake Placid, where he landed his first quad toe, an element he didn't attempt in Slovenia.

"I fought through some struggle and nerves here," Farris said. "I was planning to do the quad, but I took it out at the last minute. I think I put a little too much pressure on myself, but I'm pleased with my performance overall."

Farris finished with a combined score of 211.21 points, his second 2012 JGP title and the chance to compete at the JGP Final, where he is the reigning bronze medalist.

"I'm very excited to go to Sochi," Farris said. "I want to work on my stamina and the consistency of my quad before then, but I'm really looking forward to the Final."

Second place went to China's Boyang Jin, who came back from a sixth-place finish in the short program to earn the silver medal. Jin's Charlie Chaplin free skate included triple Axel and triple Lutz combinations and a triple flip-double toe-double toe combo. Jin finished with a combined score of 186.45 points.

The bronze medal went to Russia's Alexander Samarin, who earned a total of 183.03 points. Samarin finished fifth in the short program but ended strong, landing seven triple jumps in his free skate to earn a spot on the podium.

Ice Dancing

Aldridge and Eaton had a much more stress-free time in Bled than they did in Lake Placid, where they overcame a six-point deficit in the short dance to take the gold by 1.56. This time, they earned a far less dramatic 10-point win. The couple completed the highest-scoring element of the event in their Fiddler on the Roof free dance, a circular step sequence which earned 7.64 points.

"Everything here went great. Our short dance put us where we needed to be," Eaton said. "We had a little mistake in the free dance, but nothing too serious."

Anna Yanovskaia and Sergei Mozgov of Russia finished second with a combined score of 128.81 points. Coupled with the silver they won at JGP Austria, they will join Aldridge and Eaton in their home country at the JGP Final.

"Alex and I are really looking forward to Sochi," Eaton said. "It will be our second JGP Final, and we're hoping to do really well."

Rounding out the podium were Andréanne Poulin and Marc-André Servant of Canada, who earned a total of 126.57 points, topping their previous personal-best score by more than eight points.

Americans Elliana Pogrebinsky and Ross Gudis finished in 11th place.