American Keegan Messing claimed gold at the Junior Grand Prix in Romania on Sept. 11. Messing was one of four Americans to win medals at the year’s second JGP event. Next up, Austria, where American Christina Gao kicks off her season.

Alaska-native Keegan Messing won his first Junior Grand Prix gold. Despite severely under-rotating his quad toe attempt in the free skate and several shaky landings, an enormous triple Axel and high marks for his overall skating helped the 18-year-old top the standings.

Teammate Joshua Farris won the short program, but with three falls in the free skate, he dropped to second overall.

Japan’s Keiji Tanaka finished third, though more than 12 points behind Farris and nearly 21 points behind champion Messing.

Russian Elizaveta Tuktamysheva won the women’s event in her Junior Grand Prix debut. The 13-year-old was fourth after missing her combination jump in the short program. Four clean triples in the free skate were enough for Tuktamysheva to win, even with two falls in the free skate.

The silver medal went to American Kristiene Gong, who was penalized for four under-rotated triples.

Ksenia Monko and Kirill Khaliyavin of Russia easily claimed the dance title with a more than 13-point victory over Ukrainians Anastasia Galyeta and Aleksei Shumski.

Americans Lauri Bonacorsi and Travis Mager improved from fifth in the short dance to third in the free dance, taking home the bronze medal.

Junior Grand Prix, Austria – Look out for…

Christina Gao (USA) – The 16-year-old student of Brian Orser begins her second season on the Junior Grand Prix series despite an impressive fifth place result as a senior lady at Nationals. In summer competitions Gao showed off improved choreography and interpretation, now in year two with David Wilson and Orser’s team in Toronto. Gao also debuted a more difficult triple-triple combination this summer, a flip-toe, upgraded from last year’s toe-toe.

Young Russians – A pair of 14-year-olds are strong contenders for medals in Austria – Adelina Sotnikova and Polina Agafonova. Sotnikova is the 2009 Russian champion (which she won at just 12 years old), while Agafonova is the reigning world junior bronze medalist. Sotnikova makes her JGP debut in Austria, while Agafonova looks to improve upon third and sixth place results at her events last season.

Sui Wenjing & Han Cong (CHN) – Even with Olympic champions Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo , China continues to be a force in pairs. Sui and Han claimed the world junior title in 2010 where they attempted a throw quadruple Salchow. Sui is just 14, but shows early signs of having the spark of Shen Xue. The young duo will compete in Austria as juniors, but make their senior debut at Skate America in November.

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Messing takes title in Romania

American Keegan Messing claimed gold at the Junior Grand Prix in Romania on Sept. 11. Messing was one of four Americans to win medals at the year’s second JGP event. Next up, Austria, where American Christina Gao kicks off her season.

Alaska-native Keegan Messing won his first Junior Grand Prix gold. Despite severely under-rotating his quad toe attempt in the free skate and several shaky landings, an enormous triple Axel and high marks for his overall skating helped the 18-year-old top the standings.

Teammate Joshua Farris won the short program, but with three falls in the free skate, he dropped to second overall.

Japan’s Keiji Tanaka finished third, though more than 12 points behind Farris and nearly 21 points behind champion Messing.

Russian Elizaveta Tuktamysheva won the women’s event in her Junior Grand Prix debut. The 13-year-old was fourth after missing her combination jump in the short program. Four clean triples in the free skate were enough for Tuktamysheva to win, even with two falls in the free skate.

The silver medal went to American Kristiene Gong, who was penalized for four under-rotated triples.

Ksenia Monko and Kirill Khaliyavin of Russia easily claimed the dance title with a more than 13-point victory over Ukrainians Anastasia Galyeta and Aleksei Shumski.

Americans Lauri Bonacorsi and Travis Mager improved from fifth in the short dance to third in the free dance, taking home the bronze medal.

Junior Grand Prix, Austria – Look out for…

Christina Gao (USA) – The 16-year-old student of Brian Orser begins her second season on the Junior Grand Prix series despite an impressive fifth place result as a senior lady at Nationals. In summer competitions Gao showed off improved choreography and interpretation, now in year two with David Wilson and Orser’s team in Toronto. Gao also debuted a more difficult triple-triple combination this summer, a flip-toe, upgraded from last year’s toe-toe.

Young Russians – A pair of 14-year-olds are strong contenders for medals in Austria – Adelina Sotnikova and Polina Agafonova. Sotnikova is the 2009 Russian champion (which she won at just 12 years old), while Agafonova is the reigning world junior bronze medalist. Sotnikova makes her JGP debut in Austria, while Agafonova looks to improve upon third and sixth place results at her events last season.

Sui Wenjing & Han Cong (CHN) – Even with Olympic champions Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo , China continues to be a force in pairs. Sui and Han claimed the world junior title in 2010 where they attempted a throw quadruple Salchow. Sui is just 14, but shows early signs of having the spark of Shen Xue. The young duo will compete in Austria as juniors, but make their senior debut at Skate America in November.

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