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Marcio Jose Sanchez, Associated Press
John Coughlin, left, and Caydee Denney compete in the pairs short program at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012.

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Rockne Brubaker is back at the top of the U.S. pairs world, winning the short program with new partner Mary Beth Marley on Thursday night.

Marley and Brubaker's delightful "Singing in the Rain" program earned a score of 65.80, more than four points ahead of last year's runners-up, Amanda Evora and Mark Ladwig. Caydee Denney and John Coughlin, winners of the last two titles at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships with previous partners, are third.

The free skate is Saturday.

Brubaker and former partner Keauna McLaughlin won the U.S. title in 2008 and 2009. But they split after failing to make the Vancouver Olympics in 2010, one last disappointment in a dismal season. He began skating with Marley last year, and they're already looking like seasoned veterans.