Alaskan wins international figure skating title

Anchorage Daily NewsOctober 29, 2011 

Keegan Messing of Girdwood made his international-level debut as a senior-level figure skater by capturing the Cup of Nice championship Saturday in Nice, France.

Messing, who last season competed as a senior in domestic events, including the U.S. Championships, triumphed by virtue of his winning short program, which he skated earlier in the week.

The 19-year-old Alaskan placed fourth in Saturday's free skate but owned such a big lead after the short program that he was able to survive two big mistakes in the freeskate, one on a quadruple toe loop and one on a triple axel-triple toe combination jump, to take the men's singles title.

Messing dominated the short program with a nearly flawless performance that earned him 77.75, almost 10 more than anyone else.

He placed fourth in the free skate with 125.67. Chafik Besseghier of France won the free skate with 133.75, but that wasn't enough to make up the gap between him and Messing in the short skate, in which Besseghier placed third.

Messing won with 203.42 total points to Besseghier's 199.35. The bronze medal went to Russia's Konstantin Menshov, who placed second in both skates.

The Cup of Nice drew an international field of top skaters, although the bigger meet this week was Skate Canada, where reigning world champion Patrick Chan of Canada earned the gold medal.

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