ST. PAUL, Minn. — PolinaEdmunds skated with the poise of a champion.
She isn't one, but she looked far more comfortable than defending champ Ashley Wagner and 2014 winner Gracie Gold during the short program at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. Edmunds, 17, holds a large lead heading into tonight's long program after Wagner and Gold made major mistakes Thursday.
"I've never had the chance to be in this position before," Edmunds said. "I'm really excited and happy that I'm finally here."
Edmunds was second to Gold in 2014 to earn an Olympic berth at age 15 and was fourth last year. Skating to Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, she smoothly landed her triple lutz-triple toe loop combination to open the program. She skated cleanly throughout to score 70.19 points as she seeks her first national title.
Gold is second with 62.50 points, describing herself as "flummoxed" after she did just one rotation on a planned triple lutz. She later nearly crashed into the wall on an attempted triple-triple combination, settling for a double toe loop on the second jump.
Tyler Pierce is third with 62.45 points. Wagner, a three-time champion, is fourth with 62.41 after falling on her triple-triple combination.
Champs lead ice dance
Using their third different short program of the season, Madison Chock and Evan Bates led Friday as they seek to defend their ice dance title.
Seeking to find programs that will win on the biggest international stages after finishing second in last year's World Championships, Chock and Bates are happy with the short dance they settled on: a fox-trot followed by the required waltz to an Italian rendition of Unchained Melody.
The totaled 75.14 points. In second were siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani with 74.67. The long program is today.
The men's short program was late Friday. For the results, see tampabay.com/sports.