Hiwatashi Wins World Junior Title

(3/8/19) - Tomoki Hiwatashi came from second place after the short program on Friday to win the gold medal at the 2019 World Junior Figure Skating Championships in Zagreb, Croatia.

Hiwatashi, who posted an overall score of 230.32, earned 148.82 points in Friday’s free skate to edge Russia’s Roman Savosin by 1.04 points. Italy’s Daniel Grassl finished third.

Hiwatashi skated an impressive program, landing 11 jumps including three combinations. He opened with a powerful quad toe loop-triple toe loop combination, and later landed a triple Lutz-euler-triple flip combination. He was awarded three Level 4 spins.

Americans Camden Pulkinen and Alex Krasnozhon finished eighth and 11th, respectively. Pulkinen, who was first headed into the final segment of the competition, scored 134.27 points in the free skate and finished with 216.68 points overall.

Krasnozhon earned 131.49 points for his free skate, totaling 211.47 points overall.Vincent Zhou was the last American man to win the World Junior title in 2017.

The U.S. ladies enjoyed a strong start to the competition in Croatia.

Ting Cui is in third place after earning 67.69 points in her short program. Her program was highlighted by a triple Lutz-triple toe loop combination and a triple flip in the second half of her program. She skated a clean program, earning positive grades of execution on all of her elements.

Hanna Harrell, fresh off a fourth-place finish at the U.S. Championships in January, secured a personal best score of 62.68. She landed all three of her jumps, including an opening triple Lutz-triple toe loop combination.

Russia’s Anna Shcherbakova and Alexandra Trusova are first and second, respectively.

The American ladies are seeking their first medal at the competition since 2012. The free skate will begin on Saturday at 11 a.m. ET.