Nagoya / Japan

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 Alexei Krasnozhon (USA) grabbed the lead in the Junior Men’s Short Program as the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final continued in Nagoya (JPN) on Thursday. Alexey Erokhov of Russia in second place trails the leader by almost three points. Japan’s Mitsuki Sumoto rose to the occasion to place third in the first segment of the competition.

Krasnozhon’s performance to ‘Khorobushko’ was highlighted by a triple Axel, triple Lutz, a rare triple flip-triple loop combination as well as by three level-four spins. The two-time ISU Junior Grand Prix Finalist posted a new personal best of 81.33 points. “I tried to perform at the best level possible in each element, and enjoyed the performance in front of a big crowd in Japan, which is a rare opportunity. I’m happy that I in first place now, but the short program doesn’t mean anything, because there are only six strong skaters and free program is more important,” the 17-year-old U.S. Junior Champion noted.

Erokhov produced a triple Axel, triple flip-triple toe, triple Lutz and two-level four spins in his routine to ‘Lighthouse’ by Patrick Watson to earn 78.39 points. “It was not a bad performance, but not the best I could do. There were some small issues, like the change foot camel spin that was only a level three. Tomorrow I want to show everything, including three quads,” the Muscovite commented.

Skating to ‘Singin’ in the Rain’, Sumoto completed a triple Axel, triple Lutz and a triple flip-triple toe combination to set a personal best of 77.10 points. “I have been struggling with my triple Axel during practice but I was very happy to land it in competition. I was able to not think too much, just to concentrate. I was not so nervous. I could hear the audience cheering for me, the loudest cheer I have ever had, and I was able to change that into my power,” the Riga Cup Champion shared.

Makar Ignatov (RUS) is currently ranked fourth on 75.78 points. Camden Pulkinen (USA) came fifth (70.90 points) and Andrew Torgashev (USA) is in sixth place (64.73 points).