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Locals skating for national title

ELLENTON -- Local Olympians Amanda Evora and Mark Ladwig, who train at Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex, are slated to skate live today on NBC.

They were in second place Thursday in the pairs competition after the short program at the U.S. Figure Skating National Championships, in Greensboro, N.C.

They scored 62.87 in the short program, a personal best, and only a couple of points behind leaders Caitlin Yankowskas and John Coughlin, with 64.30, according to Brett Kaplan, of the Ellenton sports complex.

Yankowskas and Coughlin won the short program with a steamy and seductive tango.

Defending national champions Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett, who previously trained at Ellenton but who are now training in Miami, finished fourth Thursday after she fell on their side-by-side triple toe loops.

Evora, 26, a graduate of Manatee Community College and a business administration major at the University of South Florida, calls Sugar Land, Texas, her hometown, according to information posted at www.icenetwork.com.

Ladwig, 30, was born in Fargo, N.D., and at one time was an Eagle Scout and a pole vaulter.

The pair won its first medal at a U.S. Championships last year, taking the silver. They placed 10th at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.

The long program will be broadcast live at 3 p.m. on NBC, Ellenton officials said.

Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex is near the intersection of Interstate 75 and U.S. 301 N. It hosts world-class figure skaters and national champion hockey programs.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at (941) 745-7031.

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