Jan 9, 2014 10:10 PM by Jordan Mason
BOSTON (AP) - Hometown favorites Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir hold a huge lead after the pairs short program at the U.S. figure skating championships.
The defending champs had 73.13 points Thursday for a 6.63 lead over second-place Felicia Zhang and Nathan Bartholomay.
Castelli and Shnapir represent Skating Club of Boston, and the crowd roared each time the two New Englanders crisply completed a jump or lift.
The real competition during Saturday's free skate could be for the United States' second Olympic spot. Zhang and Bartholomay lead third-place DeeDee Leng and Timothy LeDuc by 0.1 points.
Caydee Denney and John Coughlin, the 2012 champs from the Colorado Springs Broadmoor Skating Club, returned after missing last year's nationals as he recovered from hip surgery. But she did a double toeloop instead of a planned triple on their side-by-side jumps, and her hand touched on her throw triple flip. The mistakes left them in fourth, a point behind Leng and LeDuc.