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Tessa Hong wins intermediate ladies title at Nationals

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Tessa Hong couldn’t wait to point out that she skipped the third grade.

Now, the 11-year-old seventh grader has something new to boast about, after winning the gold medal in the intermediate ladies division at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships Friday in Boston.

“I think I did really well, it makes me feel very honored and happy,” she said.

Representing the Los Angeles Figure Skating Club, Tessa led after the short program, and her 116.93 combined score was nine points higher than Alexia Paganini of Rye FSC. Lily Sun of Peninsula SC was third, Jessica Cai of Pasadena fourth, Floridian Lindsay Rosenberg fifth, and Gabriella Izzo sixth, skating in her home town of Boston.

Tessa opened with a double Axel-double toe combination, then switched to a double Lutz and another double Axel. She under rotated a triple Salchow before landing a double Lutz-double loop and double flip.

“I’m very happy,” said Hong’s Hall of Fame coach Frank Carroll. “I thought she was great, very consistent. She did what she does on a daily basis; she’s a very consistent skater.”

Coach Carroll, who trains Gracie Gold –the senior ladies leader after the short program, addressed the potential for Tessa.

“She’s very young, it’s hard to say where she’ll turn out, but she has all the promise in the world, so we’ll see.”

Prior to Carroll, Tessa worked with John Nicks and Peter Oppegard and won the Vail Invitational and Glacier Falls Summer Classic last year.

Other finishers in the division were: Tamia Ellison in seventh, Taylor Morris eighth, Alice Yang ninth, Pooja Kalyan 10th, Julia Budnick 11th, and Tori Rotella of the Skating Club of Boston 12th.

The intermediate men's final would follow with Kellen Johnson of California's All-Year Skating Club taking gold (110.11 points), New Jersey's Liam Roumila second (105.54) and Justin Wichmann of Texas Gulf Coast third (101.70).

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