KENT — Ashley Wagner put her self-described “Almost Girl” tag behind her at Skate America.
The 21-year-old won the women’s title, and 18-year-old teammate Christina Gao made it a 1-2 U.S. finish Sunday.
Competing in her first Skate America, Wagner, adding a well-executed long program to the short program that she won Saturday, finished with 188.37 total points. That included 127.76 in her long program to music from “Samson and Delilah.” She scored 60.61 points in the short program.
“After the short program, I definitely felt it was plausible to win the whole event,” said Wagner, fourth in the world championships in March in the best finish by a U.S. skater since 2007. “It was kind of a good end, because I started worrying about it a little bit. But I’m happy I was able to keep my nerves under control and accomplish what I wanted to accomplish.”
As for her “Almost Girl” past — Wagner barely missed making the 2010 U.S. Olympic team and two previous world championship teams — she said that truly is behind her.
“That was one phrase that I only said once, but everyone latched onto it. Now, I think I can let that go,” Wagner said.
Wagner certainly had a tough act to follow. Gao dazzled the audience with a performance to “Libertango” that was every bit as well executed as Wagner’s.
“I think I was a lot more confident coming into this than ever before, only because of the way I’ve been training,” said Gao, who is combining her skating with her studies at Harvard.
Gao moved up to second place with the strong free skate. She had 174.25 points — 117.62 of those Sunday.
Russia’s Adelina Sotnikova finished third with 168.96 points. She was in second place after the short program, but fell on a triple flip during the free skate to knock her down one place.
Earlier, Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the U.S. won their third straight Skate America dance title. The four-time defending national champions won the silver medal at this year’s world championship, and have won 10 consecutive Grand Prix events, including the last four Grand Prix finals.