By Paul D. Bowker | Sept. 15, 2018, 12:56 a.m. (ET)
Ashley Cain and Timothy LeDuc perform their free skate at the 2017 Nebelhorn Trophy on Sept. 29, 2017 in Oberstdorf, Germany.

 

Pairs figure skaters Ashley Cain and Timothy LeDuc are hoping to be U.S. champions this year. And more.

They scored an impressive win Friday at the U.S. International Figure Skating Classic in Salt Lake City, capturing the pairs title by nearly 30 points and claiming their first international gold medal.

One night after getting the best score in the short program, Cain and LeDuc, the 2018 Four Continents silver medalists, simply dominated the free skate Friday. They achieved a score of 113.95 for a total score of 173.05. Their free skate score was more than 27 points higher than the runners-up.

Audrey Lu and Misha Mitrofanov of the U.S. finished second in their senior international debut. Winter Deardorff and Max Settlage finished fourth in their second season together.

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2018 Olympian Vincent Zhou had the night’s best score with 142.90 points in the men’s free skate, but he just missed the podium with a fourth-place finish and a total score of 204.62. Zhou moved up two places after placing sixth in Thursday’s short program.

American Jimmy Ma, who at last season’s nationals blew up social media with his hip-hop short program to “Turn Down for What,” won the bronze medal following his free skate that scored 132.89 points for a 206.10 total. Former world junior champion Nam Nguyen of Canada won the gold medal with 213.52 points and Michal Brezina of Czech Republic was second with 208.27.

Ice dancers Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, who made their Olympic debuts in 2018, enter Saturday’s competition in first place following their rhythm dance Friday. They scored 79.11 points to lead a one-two American standing. Christina Carreira and Anthony Ponomarenko are in second with 68.61 points.

Saturday’s competition also includes the women’s free skate. Akari Nakahara is the top American after finishing seventh in the short program.

Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic sports since 1996, when he was an assistant bureau chief in Atlanta. He is sports editor of the Cape Cod Times and a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.