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Davis and White Strengthen Lead at U.S. Nationals

Reigning U.S. ice dance champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White stepped out further into the lead yesterday at the 2010 U.S. Championships in Spokane, Wash. With two segments after the competition completed Davis and White lead Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto, 113.53 to 111.91.

Davis and White's Indian themed original dance — set to selections from "Devdas" -- is an Internet sensation. It has garnered almost 250,000 views on YouTube. Last night the dance was also a hit with the crowd and judges. "The OD felt good. ... We got the crowd and judges into it," White said, "and we were very satisfied with that."

Davis and White used their speed, passion and authentic movements to score 68.11. "We had a slight bobble on our second twizzle, but other than that it was technically solid. It was very strong and we were happy with it."

Belbin and Agosto scored 66.89 for their playful Moldovan folk dance. "We were happy with our original dance. It is a dance we love to perform. It is a lot of fun," Agosto said. "The crowd here in Spokane, we could not ask for a better reception. I felt a lot of love and happiness [out there]."

A battle is still being waged for the bronze and likely the third ice dance spot on the U.S. Olympic team. Emily Samuelson and Evan Bates currently sit in third with 96.96 points. Kimberly Navarro and Brent Bommentre are in fourth with 95.20 points.

Although they are the defending champions and the 2009-10 Grand Prix Final winners, Davis and White have never beaten Belbin and Agosto, the most successful ice dance team the history of U.S. figure skating and the reigning Olympic silver medalists.

However, Davis and White won every event they entered this season. While Belbin and Agosto won two Grand Prix Series events in the fall, they pulled out the final due to Belbin's infected wisdom tooth which required surgery.