Jason Brown landed all his jumps cleanly en route to a personal best score of 93.36 points to lead the men’s short program at the US figure skating championships.
.The reigning US silver medallist skated an electrifying “Juke” program which put him in the driver’s seat heading into Sunday’s free skate final.
“I told myself that I am not going to mess up this time,” said 20-year-old Brown, who is seeking his first US men’s title.
Brown, who did not do a quad jump, leads Joshua Farris by 2.96 points.
Four-time American champion Jeremy Abbott was third with 89.93 points, while Max Aaron and Adam Rippon rounded out the top five. Just three of the 20 men skaters attempted a quad jump on Friday.
Brown was the runner-up last year to Abbott.
“The goal for me this week was to skate solidly, be my best and move on to the worlds,” Abbott said. “On Sunday I just have to skate a complete program.
“I always have a tendency to be out of this stratosphere at nationals, so this time it’s move on, get through it, get to the worlds.”
Madison Chock and Evan Bates lead the dance competition after winning the short program earlier Friday.
The duo earned 73.95 points, just 0.11 ahead of Maia and Alex Shibutani.
“That’s no surprise, we know very well that the Shibutanis are tough competitors, and I think our rivalry is nothing new to anybody,” Bates said.
“We’re expecting that, and I think it sets up for a really good free dance tomorrow.”
Chock and Bates finished as the runner-ups, with the Shibutanis in third, the last two years at the nationals behind six-time USA champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White.
Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue were third Friday with 65.43 points.