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Morrow wins skating section

Chelsea Morrow is continuing her year of firsts.

Morrow, a native of Grand Rapids, Mich., won her first women's division title in the U.S. Figure Skating Midwestern Sectionals on Saturday night at the Wichita Ice Center.

Morrow advances to the U.S. Championships in Spokane, Wash., next month, with a trip to the Olympics at stake.

Coming off her first collegiate championship, Morrow finished first in her short program with a score of 50.91 on Friday night. While her free skate score wasn't what she would have liked, it was enough for her to beat out Christina-Maria Sperduto 119.69 to 118.11.

"I had to fight through my long program, but it worked out," Morrow said. "The collegiate nationals were new to me and now I get another new experience in nationals."

The Grand Rapids (Mich.) Community College student drew her confidence from a competition in France earlier this fall.

"The last competition I was in was more intense," Morrow said. "That really helped calm me down and give me a little bit of confidence."

Morrow wasn't the only competitor to advance to their first national competition. Alexander Johnson of Minnesota dominated the men's field, winning the short program and free skate competition. It was Johnson's first title in the senior division.

"I was really nervous and anxious," Johnson said. "There were a lot of talented senior men here."

Last year, Johnson won the junior title before eventually finishing third in junior nationals.

Johnson's performances have given him plenty of confidence. However, he's not going to let that confidence get to his head, he said.

"It's going to be great just going to get the experience," he said. "It was a great senior debut for me. It lets me know that now I just have a few things left to work on."

Ameena Sheikh and Aaron VanCleave rebounded from a fourth-place finish in the short program with a 91.47 in the free skate to win the senior pairs competition.

At Wichita Ice Center

Seniors

Men—1. Alexander Johnson, Braemar-City of Lakes FSC, 206.97; 2. Wesley Campbell, Nashville FSC, 186.50; 3. Parker Pennington, Winterhurst FSC, 185.56.

Women—1. Chelsea Morrow, Greater Grand Rapids FSC, 119.69; 2. Christina-Maria Sperduto, St. Paul FSC 118.11; 3. Kayla Howey, DuPage FSC, 117.66.

Pairs—1. Ameena Sheikh and Aaron VanCleave, Detroit SC, 143.53; 2. Jessica Rose Paetsch, Broadmoor SC, and Drew Meekins, Skating Club of Boston, 136.53; 3. Lisa Moore, ISC of Fort Collins, and Justin Gaumond, All Year FSC, 130.65.

Juniors

Men—1. Jason Brown, Skokie Valley SC, 198.58; 2. Max Aaron, Broadmoor SC, 197.62; 3. Joshua Farris, Broadmoor SC, 182.90.

Women—1. Agnes Zawadzki, Broadmoor SC, 167.28; 2. McKinzie Daniels, Springfield FSC, 149.12; 3. Nina Jiang, Texas Gulf Coast FSC, 141.30.

Pairs—1. Carolyn-Ann Alba, All Year FSC, and Christopher Knierim, Broadmoor SC, 131.55; 2. Gretchen Donlan, Skating Club of Boston, and Andrew Speroff, Broadmoor SC, 115.30; 3. Megan Gueli and Gabe Woodruff, Detroit SC, 108.28.

Dance—1. Rachel Tibbetts, Broadmoor SC, and Collin Brubaker, All Year FSC, 155.35; 2. Piper Gilles and Zachary Donohue, Broadmoor SC, 142.77; 3. Kristen Nardozzi, Chicago FSC, and Robert Cuthbertson, Stars FSC of Texas 106.10.

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