A 14-year-old newcomer has the lead heading into the women's final at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Californian Mirai Nagasu sparkled on the ice Thursday night to win the women's short program with 70.23 points, the second-highest score ever by an American woman in that event.
Skating to Gershwin's up-tempo classic "I Got Rhythm," Nagasu dazzled the judges and the crowd with strong triple jumps, well-centered spins, and poise beyond her years.
Ashley Wagner is in second place (65.15), and Rachael Flatt is third (62.91). Defending national champion and former world champion Kimmie Meissner (57.58) is in fourth place.
However, even if Nagasu wins the U.S. women's title Saturday, under international skating rules she will be too young to compete in this year's World Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden. Instead, she would likely skate for the junior world title in Sofia, Bulgaria.
In ice dancing, four-time defending champions Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto won the original dance Thursday. The reigning Olympic silver medalists are at the top of the standings heading into Saturday's final free dance program.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP .