Skating 12th, San Jose's Polina Edmunds took the lead -- at least for a while -- midway through the ladies' short figure skating program.
But she was bumped out of ranking in the top three spots in Olympic figure skating on Wednesday when Yulia Lipnitskaya from Russia edged her out of one of those coveted spots.
Still, at the end of the program -- her first time skating in the Olympics -- Polina was in spot No. 7, giving her enough points to compete in Thursday's long figure skating program. Of the 24 athletes who made the cut to skate Thursday, Polina will skate 17th.
Her face was ecstatic after earning her personal best score of 61.04. Photographers captured her beaming face, a stuffed lion and elephant outstretched in each of her arms.
- Polina Edmunds Take to Ice, Fans Take to Twitter
- Raw Video of Polina Edmunds Dancing Ballet to Help on Ice
- Polina Edmunds All Smiles After Olympic Debut
Still, Polina was in the No. 1 spot for just shy of an hour. One commentator called her performance "outstanding" as she jumped and did dance twizzles to a medley including "Pink Cherries Cha Cha" and "Besame Mucho."
Another commentator remarked that Polina, a 15-year-old sophomore at Archbishop Mitty High School, just looked "so confident."
After her skate, Polina told Nick McCarvel of NBC Olympics: "I've done this program a million times, so I just tried to remind myself of that."
Fellow Olympic figure skater Jason Brown noted on Twitter that Polina just "killed it in her sassy salsa way."
— Jason Brown (@jasonbskates) February 19, 2014
Meanwhile, classmates of hers at the Dance Theatre International school in San Jose's Evergreen Neighborhood met early Wednesday morning to watch Polina skate.
They rigged up two laptop computers and and projected her performance on a wall for all to watch her live. After she skated, her friends jumped out of their chairs, giving her a standing ovation. Some waved American flags; most were wearing "Bravo Polina" pins.
San Jose City Councilman Rose Herrera, who represents the neighborhood, was among the guests at Polina's "watch party."
"We're just so proud of her," Herrera said, noting how important athletics' programs are in schools.
Polina has been taking ballet and jazz at the school since she was 8, taking those moves and using them on the ice, where she trains at Sharks Ice in San Jose up to 24 hours a week.
Her teacher, Maggie Parungao-Ferla, said that Polina never gives up and credits the sophomore's success to her drive. She never says "I don't feel like it," Parungao-Ferla said. The two work together often - both at the dance academy and on the ice - working on her arm extensions, her arabesques and other moves to help her with her figure skating.
She and her husband, Xavier Ferla, who also has trained Polina for years, know that the teen's stick-to-it-ness will serve her well in Thursday's long figure skating program, which is five minutes long. She is scheduled to skate 17th of out 30.
"She can rock it," Parungao-Ferla told NBC Bay Area. "It's all about endurance. She's up to it."
NBC Bay Area's Kim Tere contributed to this report.