Teen Levito captures US women's figure skating title
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World junior champion Isabeau Levito cemented her rising star status on Friday, topping the free skate to win the US Figure Skating women's title in San Jose, California.
The 15-year-old had led veteran Bradie Tennell by just two-hundredths of a point after Thursday's short program, but she was more than 10 points clear with a lustrous final free skate to lift the title with a total of 223.33 points.
Tennell, who was sidelined for more than a year in 2021 and 2022 with foot and ankle injuries, put a hand down on one triple jump but did enough to take silver ahead of Amber Glenn.
Glenn nailed the only triple axel of the night to move up from fourth after the short program to finish third with 207.44 points.
A national title is only the start for 15-year-old Isabeau Levito. 👀 #ToyotaUSChampshttps://t.co/w9kPyBUIuj— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) January 28, 2023
Another reigning junior champion was on top of the men's competition after "Quadgod" Ilia Malinin seized control with a short program that featured a quadruple lutz in combination and a quadruple toe loop.
The 18-year-old, who dazzled during the Grand Prix season as he became the first to land a quadruple axel jump in competition, scored 110.36 to top the standings after the short program.
Former US champion Jason Brown, competing for the first time since a sixth-place finish at the Beijing Olympics last year, was in second, 10.11 points back and Tomoki Hiwatashi was in third.
2022 national champion @MariahBell96 presents the 2023 U.S. national medalists 🇺🇸— Team USA (@TeamUSA) January 28, 2023
🥇 Isabeau Levito
4⃣ @Skating_Starr #ToyotaUSChamps pic.twitter.com/BPsV6PsFNd
Malinin, who struggled in his short programs during the Grand Prix season, was all but flawless on Friday to put himself on the road to a first national crown.
"I still can't believe I managed to pull that off," he told broadcaster USA Network. "This whole season, I was always so nervous for the short because I didn’t know what to expect, but I think it's the risk of learning something new this season with going to other choreographers."