U.S. Figure Skating Championships : Watson, Oppegard Win in Pairs Event

Associated Press

Jill Watson and Peter Oppegard won gold medals in pairs competition Thursday night, while Tiffany Chin and Brian Boitano closed in on the individual titles at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

Watson and Oppegard train in Toronto and are competing for the first time together at the nationals.

Natalie and Wayne Seybold of the Skating Club of Wilmington were second, followed by teammates Gillian Wachsman and Todd Waggoner.

Chin, 17, of Toluca Lake, Calif., won all three figures she traced to lead the women's competition. Debi Thomas, 17, of San Jose was second, followed by Jill Frost, 17, of Denver.

"I was hoping to win the figures this year. I think this time I did the best figures I could do," said Chin, who was fourth after the figures at the nationals last year.

The women will skate a two-minute short program tonight and will conclude Saturday with a 4 1/2-minute long program.

Meanwhile, Boitano, 21, of Sunnyvale, Calif., moved within one event of winning the men's title after finishing first in the short program. Mark Cockrell, 22, of Burbank, Calif. was second. Bobby Beauchamp of Los Angeles was third.

In the junior men's short program event, Scott Kurttila, 19, of Seattle placed first with 96.20 points. Doug Mattis, 18, of Drexel Hill, Pa., was second with 95.40 points and Erik Larson, 16, of Jullian, Calif., was third with 94.60 points.

Tracy Seliga, 15, of Lunenberg, Mass., took the lead in the junior ladies figure event with 102.20 points, followed by Dedie Richards, 15, of Fort Worth with 96.00 points.

In the championship dance division, Judy Blumberg and Michael Seibert led after the compulsories with 151.00 points. Blumberg, 27, and Seibert, 25, are from New York, N.Y.

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