ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Bradie Tennell of the United States leads after the short program at the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships, with defending champion Kaori Sakamoto of Japan in second and American Mariah Bell third.

Tennell skated her best short program in an international competition and earned a score of 73.91, which is two points higher than what she scored at Golden Spin this season. She had a 76.60 in the short program at the U.S. Figure Skating Championship in Detroit two weeks ago. Tennell led after the short program at nationals but finished second in the competition.

Sakamoto is not far behind with a 73.36 but Tennell has the edge based on having a better total elements score. Bell, who is the only U.S. women’s skater at the event with Four Continents experience, had a score of 70.02.

Japan’s Rika Kihira was considered the favorite coming into the competition but is fifth after she failed to land her triple axel. Ting Cui of the U.S. is seventh.

The ladies free skate is Friday night.

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