Honda leads in senior debut

Figure skating

Staff Report — Marin Honda is in first place after the short program on Friday at the U.S. International Figure Skating Classic in Salt Lake City in her senior debut.

With a total of 66.90 points, the 2016 world junior champion leads U.S. champion Karen Chen (66.18) and Mirai Nagasu (63.81) heading into Saturday's free skate.

Kaori Sakamoto (56.82) is in fifth place.

Meanwhile, Wakaba Higuchi finished second (217.63) at the Lombardia Trophy in Bergamo, Italy, behind Alina Zagitova (218.46) of Russia on Friday. Higuchi led after the short program, but was overtaken in the free skate.

"I thought I did well in my first overseas event of the season, but I have plenty of room for improvement," said Higuchi, who made her senior debut at the Lombardia Trophy last season.

"I found things I can work on. My footwork, spins, I can make them a bit better."

Higuchi's goal for the season is to score at least 200 in every competition with an eye on the Pyeongchang Olympics in February.

"I definitely want to skate at the Olympics," she said. "This has been a good start that will give me confidence. Bit by bit, I'm shaping up for the Olympics.

"There are a lot of skaters who are better than I am. I'm nowhere near satisfied. I want better results in my next competition."