Alissa Czisny captured her first Skate America title Sunday in Ontario, Calif. With five triple jumps as well as the highest program component scores of the competition, the reigning Grand Prix Final Champion held off 2011 World Championship bronze medalist Carolina Kostner by just .13 of a point. Czisny scored 177.48 points, Kostner scored 177.35 and Sweden’s Viktoria Helgesson scored 145.75, putting a Swedish skater on the podium for the first time at a International Skating Union (ISU) Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series event.
“It’s always an honor to come here and represent the United States,” said Czisny, who started last season with her second Skate Canada title. “To win here was special. I have been here on the podium but never on top. It’s nice to win something other than Skate Canada.”
Americans Caroline Zhang (Brea, Calif.) scored 140.70, dropping her from third place after the short program to sixth overall. The third American, Joelle Forte (Merrick, N.Y.), made her Grand Prix debut with an eighth place showing in Ontario. She scored 139.70.
Koster, who had the highest element score in the ladies competition, won the free skate with her 117.12 point performance to “Concerto No. 27″. She landed five triple jumps and three combinations, the double Axel-double toe, triple toe-double toe and triple Salchow-double toe-single loop.
“I was very surprised that it went so well since it was my first competition, I didn’t expect [it],” she said. “I’m usually a roller coaster [at the beginning of the season]. This gives me confidence and I need to work on the jumps and go step by step and have a good feeling. I love to skate to that music. I want to stay focused and not thing this is enough. I want to improve with each competition.”
Czisny (Bowling Green, Ohio) had trouble throughout her free skate. The second jump in her opening triple Lutz-triple toe combination was downgraded and followed that with a fall on the triple flip, which also received an edge call. Her triple Lutz was also under rotated.
“That wasn’t my best out there,” the two-time and reigning U.S. Champion said. “tried to fight for everything. Some went well, some didn’t. It’s the first competition of the season so I can build upon that performance.”
Helgesson was fifth in both portions of the event but captured the bronze. “It’s a really big thing for me,” she said. “I’m really, really happy to be here. I have improved my programs a lot from last season. I think that was what made me come this far.”
Third after the short program, Zhang finished last in the free skate. She fell on the opening triple flip, which was under rotated, fell on the triple Lutz, which received an edge call, and also fell on her triple flip sequence, which was downgraded. The second jump in her triple loop-double toe was also downgraded.
“That was just plain stupid,” Zhang said. “I really don’t know what happened. I’ve been doing it clean in practice, so it was just a bunch of stupid mistakes that got to me. And each one throughout the program, when I started thinking about the mistakes, and each one just got worse.”
Forte fell on the eighth element of her program, the triple Lutz, which was also downgraded. “As soon as I tapped in I didn’t get a good grip and I knew I was going down, but in practices I’ve been doing them so I think, given a little more time it will be easier,” she said.
The third jump of her opening triple Lutz-double toe-double loop was under rotated as was her triple flip, which had an edge call. The triple Salchow in her triple Salchow-double toe was also under rotated.
“I enjoyed it out there,” Forte said. “I tried to take my time because the elements are there and now I just have to work on the whole package and trying to reach out to the audience more.”
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