Meissner, Belbin and Agosto Win Gold at Skate America

(10/28/07) - The U.S. Team brought in three medals Sunday on the final day of 2007 Skate America in Reading, Pa., bringing the U.S.'s total for the competition to four. Four-time U.S. champions Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto won the ice dancing event, while reigning U.S. champion Kimmie Meissner and newcomer Caroline Zhang brought home ladies gold and bronze, respectively.

Ladies
Meissner finished second in the free skate, but her strong performance in the short program was enough to help her secure gold over Japan's Miki Ando. Zhang, competing in her first senior Grand Prix event, was pleased with her third-place finish.

“I'm happy with my performance,” Zhang said. “ I thought I did pretty good. There are a lot of things I can improve, but I was happy to be out there with all the senior skaters.”

Ando went into the free skate sitting in first place; however, her performance in that segment was not enough to hold off Meissner.

“(My performance) was pretty good because I'm not ready totally; training is not 100 percent, but it's exciting,” Ando said. “It was pretty good. I was happy to get second place.”

Meissner, the 2006 Skate America silver medalist, was pleased with her performance.

“It means a lot to me to win,” Meissner said. “But even more I feel like I did some really great programs, and I think it's a great start for me.”

American Emily Hughes, a freshman at Harvard University, finished fourth.

“My goal is always to improve from the year before,” Hughes said. “Last year I had a lower score and I was fifth. And this year, with hard work, I can be fourth. So I was happy about that. Nationals will be the real test.”

Ice Dancing
Belbin and Agosto continued their winning streak, bringing home their fourth Skate America gold. After leading the compulsory dance and original dance, the pair easily won the free dance, finishing more than 11 points ahead of Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat of France. Italy's Federica Faiella and Massimo Scali earned the bronze.

Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White finished fourth, while Kim Navarro and Brent Bommentre came in sixth.

Skate America concluded Sunday with the exhibition.