LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (AP) American ice dancers Maia and Alex Shibutani put themselves on track for a second Grand Prix event victory by winning the short dance at Skate America on Saturday night.
The Shibutanis won the Grand Prix event at Russia earlier this year and are aiming to qualify for the Final in Japan next month.
They were fan favorites at Herb Brooks Arena, and the biggest cheer came after their signature synchronized twizzle. The judges gave the 2014 Olympians a 79.18 on a night when other skaters were baffled by their scores.
Italy’s Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte were especially upset after finishing second with a 72.70. Cappellini called it ”an awful technical score” and said they’d be checking with the judges for an explanation.
Russia’s Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov were third at 68.72. Among the other Americans, Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker were seventh at 62.15, and Rachel and Michael Parsons were eighth at 58.36.
The free dance competition is Sunday.