World bronze medalist Satoko Miyahara of Japan leads the Ladies following the Short Program on Saturday at Skate America in Everett. The 2018 Four Continents champion Kaori Sakamoto, also of Japan, follows in second, and Russian newcomer Sofia Samodurova sits third.
Satoko Miyahara (JPN) 2018©International Skating Union (ISU)
Miyahara opened her program to “Song for the Little Sparrow” with a triple Lutz-triple toe combination and followed up with a double Axel and triple flip as well as level-four spins and footwork. The audience in the Angel of the Winds arena in Washington state gave her a standing ovation for a beautiful performance that earned her 73.86 points. “Until I finished my three jumps, I was very nervous, because I could not show my best performance at the Japan Open and U.S. International (competition). But after I landed the triple flip, I was really relieved and skated for myself,” the Japanese champion told the post-event press conference.
Kaori Sakamoto (JPN) 2018©International Skating Union (ISU)
Skating to “From My First Moment”, Sakamoto produced a triple flip-triple toe combination, triple loop and two level-four spins to earn a season’s-best 71.29 points. “I am very pleased with my performance today and I got my best score,” the 18-year-old said. “The beginning of the season was difficult, but with the help of my coach I was able to practice really hard.”
Sofia Samodurova (RUS) 2018©International Skating Union (ISU)
Samodurova gave a solid performance to “Nyah” that was highlighted by a triple flip-triple toeloop combination, a triple loop and double Axel. The 16-year-old picked up a season’s-best 64.41 points. Not expecting to be in the top three, she had returned to the hotel and rushed back just in time for the press conference. “I am very surprised, it is very unexpected. I am very happy with my performance, I did a good job with all my elements and I got a good score,” she said.
The 2016 world junior champion Marin Honda (JPN) is not far behind in fourth place on 62.74 points. U.S. champion Bradie Tennell ranks fifth after reducing her combination to a triple Lutz-single loop (61.72 points). Megan Wessenberg (USA) came sixth on 60.20 points.