American Tomoki Hiwatashi is in second place after the short program on Wednesday at the world junior championships in Zagreb.
The 19-year-old from Hoffman Estates, Illinois, posted a personal-best score of 81.50 points for his skate to “Cry Me a River” and trails compatriot Camden Pulkinen (82.41) by less than a point.
Hiwatashi earned level fours for his three spins, but received a level three for his step sequence.
“I was able to give my best today,” Hiwatashi was quoted as saying by the ISU website. “I got a personal best. There were some places I can fix, the step sequence I can fix.”
Italy’s Daniel Grassl is in third place with 81.19.
Koshiro Shimada is 12th on 74.89, while Tatsuya Tsuboi stands in 20th at 62.59.
The free skate is set for Friday.