How do you solve a problem like the third US Ladies Olympic spot?

Until 2014, it was an unspoken rule that the top finishers would go to the Olympics.  But Ashley Wagner, finished 4th at nationals after a great Grand Prix season, and was chosen to go to the Olympics over Mirai Nagasu who finished 3rd.

I think there is no doubt that Bradie Tennell and Mirai Nagasu are going to the Olympics, but it is likely that the committee will be debating between Karen Chen and Ashley Wagner.  I honestly won’t be shocked either way, as I see the case for either skater.  There is no doubt that both ladies have worked incredibly hard, and whoever is chosen, absolutely deserves to go and live their Olympic dream.

About 2.5 points separated the skaters, with Chen coming out ahead in the short program while Wagner finished ahead in the free skate.  If you look long term, Wagner is the only US lady to win a World medal and has multiple Grand Prix medals including one this season (only she and Tennell won Grand Prix medals this year).  Chen has never won a medal at a Grand Prix event and her best finish at Worlds was 4th last season.

However, Chen has beat Wagner at their last three head to head events, defeating her at the last two US Championships and last season’s World Championships.  Wagner also withdrew in the middle of her free program at Skate America and while she cited an injury, her motivation for withdrawing and the timing was considered suspect by many.

Chen had three under-rotation calls, a downgrade, and an edge call in the free skate but she was also fighting through illness.  Wagner had a relatively clean program but did single a salchow and under-rotate a triple lutz.  A single salchow is worth .40 points.  A triple salchow is worth 4.40 points.  If she had pulled off the triple, we would be having a very different conversation as she would be sitting in 3rd place with a two point lead over Chen.  However, given how ill Chen was (she couldn’t even practice yesterday) and the number of errors she had in the program, she still only lost to Wagner in the free skate by a little over a point.

Wagner has also promised a new short program if she’s chosen to the Olympic team.  She changed her free skate before nationals to La La Land and it was praised as a success.  That program beat Chen’s which was a program she returned to from last season.  A new short program could be seen as a good sign and breathing some fresh air into stale skates.  But it’s also a risk as there will be no events to compete it at between now and then, and the problem isn’t her performance, but her jumps.  Changing the program won’t make her hit her jumps cleanly, and in fact it might take time away from training those jumps.  Plus La La Land was something she had choreographed over the summer, so it was ready to go, while a new short program would be something she would have to start from scratch with only a month to go.

Interestingly enough, many, including commentators on IceNetwork and Wagner herself are calling into validity the outcome of the event itself.  Wagner’s PCS marks were surprisingly low, especially for her free skate which was skated with such lightness and effortlessness and was truly an artistic program.  While Chen is also a very artistic skater there was a bit of spark missing in her performance today, understandable due to the illness, plus the number of under-rotations she suffered should factor into segments of the PCS such as skating skills.  More speed, more ice coverage, more push into the jumps would all lead to better quality jumps and all count toward skating skills.  Bradie Tennell had the highest program components of the event, and while she had a fine technical skate, she doesn’t have the artistic abilities, performance quality, or musicality of Nagasu, Chen, or Wagner.  If the panel in the room (which is different than the judging panels) agrees, this might be a very different conversation.

There is the team event to consider, but I think both Tennell and Nagasu showed their ability to compete under pressure, plus Tennell is the only US lady to score above 200 points internationally this season (which she did twice) and both would represent the team well (although the US only has to use one if it chooses).

Probably the biggest argument against Wagner, however, is that this has happened in two Olympic cycles now.  She was given a spot over someone else last time, but at a certain point, you have to earn your spot and can’t keep expecting handouts.  And one of the reason’s that the US even has three ladies spots at all is that Chen held it together and skated the performance of her career (although still with some errors) to finish 4th at Worlds and hold on to the third US ladies spot.  If Chen had caved under the pressure, there would be no third spot to be discussing at all.  There is definitely an argument to be made that she earned the spot, she finished 3rd here, so she should get to use it.

The one little thing in the back of my mind though that ever so slightly tips the scales toward Wagner, is that if she had finished 3rd and Chen had finished 4th, would anyone be having this discussion?

Only the committee knows for sure who will be going and we’ll all know tomorrow morning.  Best of luck to all three ladies in PyeongChang!

2018 US Nationals Senior Ladies Free Skate

GROUP 1

Emmy Ma: 47.81 TES + 45.66 PCS -1.00 = 92.47 Total: 138.02

  • Popped her opening triple loop and a bit of a rough landing on it
  • Triple lutz + double loop
  • Triple flip awkward attempt to pull off a combo
  • Double axel, hand down, and then slides down for a fall
  • She seems a bit choppy in this step sequence and I think with a cleaner program this would really be stunning as she has such a gift for emoting a program and feeling the music
  • Triple loop
  • Really nice triple lutz
  • Nice spiral right on a musical accent
  • Double axel
  • I’d like a little more stretch through the back of her knee on the camel but a nice cross body catchfoot
  • I love the cross arm layback position
  • Really ended on a strong note for that program

Emily Chan: 22.05 TES + 39.59 PCS -2.00 = 59.64 Total: 104.43

  • Popped her flip
  • Triple flip hand down
  • Double axel hand down
  • Double loop down on one side on the takeoff and fall
  • Triple salchow fall and slid into the boards
  • Really nice spirals
  • Double salchow two footed landing
  • She seems to have lost the music a bit here in the step sequence
  • Single axel forward on her toe pick on the landing
  • Just not her night

Brynne McIsaac: 52.70 TES + 48.87 PCS = 101.57  Total: 145.54 and into 1st place

  • 2 axel + 2 toe + 2 loop
  • Triple flip + double loop
  • Triple loop two footed
  • Triple loop + double toe
  • Triple flip
  • Triple lutz maybe a bit two footed
  • Really nice Ina Bauer into a spiral
  • Difficult one foot footwork section into double axel
  • Nice camel spin position with a nice flying change to an upright position

Megan Wessenberg: 46.69 TES + 46.14 PCS -2.00 = 90.83 Total: 131.73 and into 3rd place

  • Triple loop
  • Triple flip
  • Nice speed in her twisted sit spin position
  • Double axel turn out and an unfortunate slip off the edge in the transition out
  • Nice double axel
  • Double salchow + double toe with one arm overhead
  • Triple toe + double toe really fights to stay up
  • Triple salchow down on the landing
  • Nice spread eagles in the choreographic sequence but they would be even more impressive with more speed

Ashley Lin: WD

 

GROUP 2

Tessa Hong: 50.80 TES + 52.24 PCS -2.00 = 101.04  Total: 156.86 and into 1st place

  • Gorgeous double axel with a nice ride out in the landing position
  • Really nice spiral
  • I love this soft pink costume and I instantly knew she would be skating to something French
  • Triple lutz fall
  • Great spring on the triple loop with nice height
  • Nice triple lutz
  • Double flip and fall just not enough speed going into it
  • Great triple salchow
  • Nice sit spin into a catch foot upright spin
  • Double axel + double toe + double toe with one arm variation
  • Nice Biellman
  • While not all the jumps were there, this is the strategy you need in the free skate if you want to compete with the Russians

Katie McBeath: 34.22 TES + 41.89 PCS = 76.11 Total: 124.64 and into 5th place

  • Triple lutz turnout + double toe
  • Triple lutz popped
  • Nice double axel
  • Losing her centering on the first spin and speed through the camel
  • Popped loop–you could tell going into the jump that it was not going to happen, not enough speed and just no attack or confidence
  • Double loop
  • Popped flip + double toe
  • Nice camel spin position
  • Double axel
  • The wheels really just came off that program and she seemed to not have any fight in her for the jumps

Vivian Le: 37.61 TES + 44.34 PCS -6.00 = 75.95  Total: 122.60 and into 6th place

  • Triple salchow
  • Big triple lutz but a fall
  • Nice double axel
  • Skating to such a well known and specific piece of music like Scheherazade, the character needs to be really authentic and this feels like it could be skated to any piece of music
  • Triple toe just popped off the edge and fell
  • Triple lutz fall
  • Triple toe fall and she grabbed her hip when she stood up
  • Double axel + double toe

Franchesca Chiera: TES + PCS = Total:

  • Triple flip + double toe with a lot of speed
  • Triple loop a bit two footed and a bit telegraphed
  • Triple lutz step out
  • Camel spin the free leg needs to be at least 90 and it dropped down as she spun
  • She could work more on her transitions as the program feels very posy and skating from place to place
  • Triple flip
  • Triple lutz + double toe
  • Double toe
  • Double axel + double axel sequence
  • Almost no speed at all in the camel spin portion of her combination spin
  • Jumps weren’t bad but she definitely needs to work on the other elements of the program to bring up her Levels and component scores

Kaitlyn Nguyen: TES + PCS = Total:

 

ICE RESURFACING

GROUP 3

Courtney Hicks: 54.16 TES + 54.51 PCS =107.67 Total: 165.48 and into 1st place

  • She’s skating to Amazing Grace so I would like to see her really stretch through this opening choreography and finish the lines and really feel the soft, lyrical quality of this music
  • Triple flip turnout + triple loop a little tight on the rotation of the second jump
  • Double axel
  • She has such nice donut positions in her camel spin
  • Wow…totally missed the entrance to a salchow spun around and fell
  • Triple lutz really fighting not to fall but goes down
  • Triple lutz + double toe
  • Triple toe
  • Triple flip step out
  • Really nice inside edge spread eagle
  • Cool lunge into her final spin
  • Just a rough middle of the program after a missed salchow take off
  • Level 4 on the steps and all spins

Hannah Miller: 39.29 TES + 53.28 PCS -1.00 = 91.57 Total: 149.14 and into 4th place

  • Nice double axel right on the music
  • I love the opening choreography in this Hunger Games program
  • Doubled lutz
  • Triple toe + double axel sequence two footed the landing on the second jump
  • Triple flip + double toe
  • Good speed and centering in her camel spin
  • I’m finding her step sequence to be a bit too smiley for a Hunger Games program and would like to see more fierceness from her and some of the choreographic musics she used earlier to really carry the theme
  • Triple flip
  • Triple toe two foot and fall
  • Double salchow turnout + double toe + double loop

Caroline Zhang: TES + PCS -2.00 =  96.09 Total: 156.38 and into 3rd place

  • Nice triple flip + double toe
  • Triple lutz (edge call)
  • Triple toe (under-rotated)
  • A bit of a bobble on the entry to the flying camel which didn’t effect the actual spin but did slow it down
  • Very slow in the step sequence
  • Triple loop fall
  • Triple flip fall
  • Both those jumps were intended to be combos
  • Double axel + double toe + double loop
  • Good for her for tacking that on to get some points back
  • Double axel + single toe

Starr Andrews: 67.85 TES + 59.51 PCS = 127.36 Total: 189.91 and into 1st place

  • Triple flip hangs on to it
  • Good triple toe + triple toe with a really nice landing position
  • Great donut position into a catch foot camel
  • Triple loop + double toe with one arm overhead
  • Triple loop
  • Triple salchow + double toe + double loop a little bit tight
  • Really nice sit spin position
  • I love how she really performs and feels her music
  • Good double axel
  • Double axel
  • She earned Level 4 on all of her elements
  • All positive GOEs for the program
  • What a debut for her at the senior level!
  • Standing ovation

Polina Edmunds: WD

Amber Glenn: 49.93 TES + 56.51 PCS = 106.44 Total: 168.06 and into 2nd place

  • Triple flip + triple toe
  • Triple Rippon lutz
  • Nice position in the sit spin
  • Good double axel
  • Three turns into a double loop
  • Double axel + double toe arms overhead
  • Triple flip two footed the landing
  • Popped salchow
  • This program started off so strong but she seems to have faded away a bit
  • Losing almost all of her speed in the Biellman and really fighting to get it back through the ending

 

GROUP 4

Mariah Bell: 65.42 TES + 62.74 PCS -1.00 = 127.16  Total: 192.34 and into 1st place

  • Triple lutz + triple toe taps the free foot
  • Triple loop
  • Triple salchow
  • This program just doesn’t really do anything for her and doesn’t play to her strengths of being super sassy or elegant; it kind of lives somewhere in the middle
  • Double axel + triple toe a little forward on the landing but hangs on
  • Triple flip + double toe
  • Triple lutz
  • Now she’s really coming alive and emoting this program
  • Double axel fall
  • I like the ending of this program to the America section
  • Really nice camel position
  • Ending with a nice layback spin
  • So close to a clean program
  • She earned positive GOEs on everything but the double axel

Ashley Wagner: 62.25 TES + 68.00 PCS = 130.25  Total: 196.19 and into 1st place

  • Nice double axel
  • Triple flip + triple toe good speed
  • Double axel + double toe with both arms overhead
  • Triple loop + single loop + single salchow
  • I love this costume and the light quality of her skating in this program
  • Triple flip
  • Triple loop
  • Triple lutz two footed the landing
  • She earned all positive GOEs except for an under-rotated lutz

Angela Wang: TES + PCS = 121.01 Total: 188.01 and into 4th place

  • Triple flip + triple toe a little down on one side on the landing but holds on
  • Triple lutz–such an ease to that jump for her
  • Triple Rippon loop
  • Triple loop + double axel sequence
  • Triple flip bad landing
  • Double salchow
  • Double axel + double toe really on her heel on the landing
  • The first half of this program was so strong and so clean but some costly mistakes right at the end

Mirai Nagasu: 73.33 TES + 67.42 PCS = 140.75 Total: 213.84 and into 1st place

  • Really trying to calm the nerves at the top of the program, talking to herself
  • Triple axel two footed and stepped out but she stood up on it
  • Triple flip + triple toe
  • Triple salchow
  • Great camel spin position
  • Double axel + triple toe + double toe
  • Triple lutz two footed + double toe
  • Triple flip
  • She has seemed very focused going through this program so far but there’s a bit of performance starting to come out now in the step sequence
  • Triple loop right on the music
  • Tom Z is beside himself next to the board
  • Standing ovation
  • Level 4 on everything
  • Triple lutz combo was under-rotated

Karen Chen: 59.53 TES + 69.58 PCS = 129.11  Total: 198.59 and into 2nd place

  • Really nice opening triple lutz + triple toe
  • Triple flip edge and under-rotated
  • Double axel + half loop + triple salchow
  • Triple lutz under-rotated
  • Triple loop
  • Triple salchow two footed and downgrade
  • Double axel + double toe
  • Really nice spiral
  • A lot of elements under review so we’ll have to see what holds up
  • Level 4 for all of the spins
  • Triple +triple was under-rotated

Bradie Tennell: 76.01 TES + 69.71 PCS = 145.72  Total: 219.51

  • Solid triple lutz + triple toe
  • Double axel
  • Triple flip
  • Nice speed and positions in the layback spin
  • Double axel + triple toe in the bonus
  • Triple lutz + double toe + double loop
  • Triple loop
  • Triple salchow
  • What a moment of her!  Clean program at nationals in an Olympic year.  She hasn’t put a foot out o place all season and truly has what no US girl has–the mental toughness to skate clean no matter what the pressure is
  • She earned Level 4 on all of her spins and step sequence  with all positive GOES
Place Start Name Short Program Free Skate Total Score
Place Score Place Score
1 22 Bradie Tennell, Skokie Valley SC 1 73.79 1 145.72 219.51
2 20 Mirai Nagasu, Pasadena FSC 2 73.09 2 140.75 213.84
3 21 Karen Chen, Peninsula SC 3 69.48 4 129.11 198.59
4 18 Ashley Wagner, SC of Wilmington 5 65.94 3 130.25 196.19
5 17 Mariah Bell, Rocky Mountain FSC 6 65.18 6 127.16 192.34
6 14 Starr Andrews, Los Angeles FSC 8 62.55 5 127.36 189.91
7 19 Angela Wang, Salt Lake Figure Skating 4 67.00 7 121.01 188.01
8 16 Amber Glenn, Dallas FSC 9 61.62 9 106.44 168.06
9 11 Courtney Hicks, All Year FSC 11 57.81 8 107.67 165.48
10 6 Tessa Hong, Los Angeles FSC 13 55.82 11 101.04 156.86
11 13 Caroline Zhang, All Year FSC 10 60.29 14 96.09 156.38
12 9 Franchesca Chiera, Panthers FSC 14 53.85 13 97.14 150.99
13 12 Hannah Miller, Lansing SC 12 57.57 16 91.57 149.14
14 10 Kaitlyn Nguyen, Los Angeles FSC 17 46.30 12 99.90 146.20
15 3 Brynne McIsaac, Broadmoor SC 20 43.97 10 101.57 145.54
16 1 Emmy Ma, SC of Boston 18 45.55 15 92.47 138.02
17 4 Megan Wessenberg, SC of Boston 22 40.90 17 90.83 131.73
18 7 Katie McBeath, Westminster FSC of Erie 15 48.53 18 76.11 124.64
19 8 Vivian Le, Los Angeles FSC 16 46.65 19 75.95 122.60
20 2 Emily Chan, Dallas FSC 19 44.79 20 59.64 104.43
WD Polina Edmunds, Peninsula SC 7 63.78
WD Ashley Lin, Dallas FSC 21 42.33

2018 US Nationals Senior Ladies Short Program

GROUP 1

Polina Edmunds: TES + PCS = 63.78

  • Triple loop + triple toe a little tight and probably under-rotated; not a lot of air or speed on the first jump
  • Triple salchow
  • Pretty good centering on the combination spin but not a lot of speed
  • She finally seems to be trying to express her program here in the step sequence and a little bit more of the fierceness is coming out to match the music and costume
  • Double axel not a lot of height or flow out but it was completed
  • While she landed everything this program just seemed to be missing some power and pizzaz to really sell it and the difficulty of her jumps might not hold up.
  • She earned Level 4 on all of her spins and Level 3 on the step sequence

Angela Wang: 36.91 TES + 30.09 PCS = 67.00 and into 1st place

  • Triple flip + triple toe nicely done
  • Feed went out
  • Came back in for the ending spin but she looks very happy
  • Nice double axel
  • Triple Rippon loop

Courtney Hicks: 29.46 TES + 28.35 PCS = 57.81 and into 3rd place

  • Triple flip + triple loop two footed the first landing, crooked on the second jump and has to step out
  • Nice haircutter position in her spin but I would like to see her complete the line with a straighter wrist
  • Triple lutz
  • Really wonky axel
  • Her step sequence seemed a bit labored and awkward in places but there is a better connection to the music then we’ve seen in the past

Emily Chan: 20.79 TES + 25.00 PCS -1.00 = 44.79 and into 4th place

  • Fall on her opening triple toe, just didn’t really tap in and get any height
  • Triple flip hung on to it
  • Really pretty layback into a nice Biellman with good speed
  • This is an odd choice of music for me…started so elegant and bird like and then just switches to a techno Swan Lake…but it’s hard to tell it’s Swan Lake into a bit in
  • Popped axel
  • These jump errors are really going to cost her and unfortunately she doesn’t have enough speed or performance quality right now to make up the difference in program components
  • Nice catch foot upright spin to end the program but could use more speed

Starr Andrews: 35.64 TES + 26.91 PCS = 62.55 and into 3rd place

  • Really nice triple toe + triple toe with both arms up over her head on the second jump
  • Really nice layback and Biellman with good speed
  • I love her musicality and how she is performing this program but I wouldn’t have picked this version of Fever for a skater this young
  • Her second spin lost some speed and it’s taken her a while to get it back
  • Triple loop and really has to hold on to it
  • I’d like to see her perform up to the rafters a bit more in the step sequence and really push through her edges to keep the speed
  • Nice double axel
  • Really solid program for her in her senior debut

 

GROUP 2

Hannah Miller: 30.43 TES + 27.14 PCS = 57.57 and into 5th place

  • Nice opening double axel
  • There’s so much to like about her skating; very expressive arms and full use of her body, even in transitional movements
  • She really feels all the different changes in the music and matches her emotions to them
  • Good triple flip
  • Triple toe + double toe not a lot of power
  • Although she didn’t have a triple + triple, she did have her two hardest jumps in the bonus giving her some extra points
  • Good end to her program with a nice step sequence

Bradie Tennell: 40.88 TES + 32.91 PCS = 73.79 and into 1st place

  • Triple lutz + triple toe so solid with great toe point in the air
  • Great position on the camel spin twisted to look at the ceiling
  • Good speed on her Biellman but her supporting leg could be stretched just a bit more
  • Triple loop has to squeak the free leg out a bit
  • I like the music for this step sequence and the sharp twists and turns but would like to see her really attack it
  • Gorgeous spread eagle into a double axel
  • Her camel spin positions are perfection
  • This girl has delivered over and over this season and has hardly made an error
  • She earned Level 4 on all of her spins and step sequence

Brynne McIsaac: 21.97 TES + 23.00 PCS -1.00 = 43.97 and into 8th place

  • Triple flip legs got tangled up underneath her and fell
  • Slow sit spin
  • Looked hesitant going into her triple loop with a two footed landing and barely gets out the double loop
  • Very slow Biellman
  • Ina Bauer into double axel with a lot of hesitation and not a lot of height
  • This whole program just seems a bit tight and hesitant

Ashley Lin: 21.80 TES + 22.53 PCS -2.00 = 42.33 and into 9th place

  • Really nice speed into her double axel
  • Weird position in the air on her triple toe with her legs bent up underneath her and a fall
  • Really nice camel spin position
  • Triple flip and just goes down on her hip
  • She has a lot of really nice lines and good qualities, the jumps were just not here for her today
  • She’s looking down at the ice on her step sequence but so much of this movement is full and elegant

Katie McBeath: 25.98 TES + 23.55 PCS -1.00 = 48.53 and into 7th place

  • Triple lutz + double toe a little tight on the landings
  • Sat down on her triple loop
  • Nice position in her sit spin
  • Good double axel
  • Completely losing her speed and centering on the catch foot position in her layback
  • The choreography feels very posy and I feel like she could do more to add some difficulty to really sell the transitions and step sequence

 

ICE RESURFACING

GROUP 3

Amber Glenn: 34.08 TES + 28.54 PCS -1.00 = 61.62 and into 5th place

  • Triple flip + triple toe really nice
  • Triple Rippon lutz fall
  • Nice overhead y spin position
  • Good twisted sit spin with nice speed into the back tuck position
  • There is a nice easy, light quality to her step sequence
  • Good double axel
  • Nice Biellman position
  • I love that she didn’t let the program get away from her even after a mistake on one jump

Mariah Bell: 34.75 TES + 30.43 PCS = 65.18 and into 3rd place

  • Triple lutz + triple toe a bit hesitant going into it and really tight on the landing
  • Gorgeous Biellman position
  • This program is lacking some of the sparkle it had last season when it really should be better
  • Triple flip
  • Nice double axel
  • This program is so smartly choreographed and every element matches the music perfectly

Mirai Nagasu: 41.90 TES + 31.19 PCS = 73.09 and into 2nd place

  • I love this burgundy lace dress on her and the french braids into the bun
  • Triple axel foot step out in a weird split position–too bad because she hit some gorgeous ones in the warmup but she just looked so nervous going into it
  • Great triple flip + triple toe
  • A bit awkward on the camel spin with not a lot of speed
  • Nice triple loop
  • Good positions in her combination spin
  • Stunning Biellman to end the program

Franchesca Chiera: TES + PCS = 53.82

Emmy Ma: TES + PCS = 45.55

  • I loved everything about her choreography, there was so much in there that was unique and she truly felt every beat of her music

Tessa Hong: TES + PCS = 55.82

  • Triple lutz + triple toe in the second half of the program
  • Triple flip lands it and then puts a knee down getting tripped up on the ride out
  • Very nice double axel and then a really weird awkward fall on the transition out of the jump

GROUP 4

Ashley Wagner: 33.00 TES + 32.94 PCS = 65.94 and into 4th place

  • Triple flip + triple toe two footed and hangs on, under-rotated
  • Nice double axel right on the music
  • Good triple loop
  • Very fun program, great command of the audience, and a fairly decent Biellman for her to end the program

Caroline Zhang: 33.52 TES + 26.77 PCS = 60.29 and into 9th place

  • Triple flip a bit of a high kick on the entry
  • Triple loop + triple loop steps out of it
  • Very pretty overhead Y spin
  • Nice double axel
  • Very good program for her

Vivian Le: 23.62 TES + 24.03 PCS -1.00 = 46.65 and into 15th place

  • Triple flip hand down
  • Big triple lutz but just slightly off in the air and she sits down
  • Good double axel right on the music
  • Nice camel spin and not a bad illusion
  • Great speed and power through her step sequence
  • Good speed in her layback

Kaitlyn Nguyen: TES + PCS = 46.30 and into 16th place

  • Triple lutz + double toe with both arms overhead–not a lot of height on the second jump
  • This music is way too big for her and she is having trouble connecting the choreography to the music and really emoting with it
  • Triple loop squeaks out the free leg
  • Good double axel
  • Stumble and fall on a transition step
  • Finished after her music

Megan Wessenberg: TES + PCS = 40.90 and into 21st place

  • Single toe + Triple toe sequence step out
  • Single salchow no points
  • Double axel awkward step out
  • This program really got away from her and she just seemed really tight and nervous going into the first jump and never really got her legs underneath her

Karen Chen: 35.68 TES + 33.80 PCS = 69.48 and into 3rd place

  • Triple lutz + triple toe two footed the landing and really had to fight to hold on
  • I really do enjoy her choreography and the little details she puts into everything
  • Good triple loop
  • Good double axel with good flow out of it
  • Ending with a very nice Biellman
  • There is so much to like about her skating if she could just land her jumps consistently
Place Start Name Score
1 7 Bradie Tennell, Skokie Valley SC 73.79
2 13 Mirai Nagasu, Pasadena FSC 73.09
3 22 Karen Chen, Peninsula SC 69.48
4 2 Angela Wang, Salt Lake Figure Skating 67.00
5 17 Ashley Wagner, SC of Wilmington 65.94
6 12 Mariah Bell, Rocky Mountain FSC 65.18
7 1 Polina Edmunds, Peninsula SC 63.78
8 5 Starr Andrews, Los Angeles FSC 62.55
9 11 Amber Glenn, Dallas FSC 61.62
10 18 Caroline Zhang, All Year FSC 60.29
11 3 Courtney Hicks, All Year FSC 57.81
12 6 Hannah Miller, Lansing SC 57.57
13 16 Tessa Hong, Los Angeles FSC 55.82
14 14 Franchesca Chiera, Panthers FSC 53.85
15 10 Katie McBeath, Westminster FSC of Erie 48.53
16 19 Vivian Le, Los Angeles FSC 46.65
17 20 Kaitlyn Nguyen, Los Angeles FSC 46.30
18 15 Emmy Ma, SC of Boston 45.55
19 4 Emily Chan, Dallas FSC 44.79
20 8 Brynne McIsaac, Broadmoor SC 43.97
21 9 Ashley Lin, Dallas FSC 42.33
22 21 Megan Wessenberg, SC of Boston 40.90

2018 US Nationals Senior Ladies Preview

As a group, these ladies have won 68 national medals.  They hold one World medal, seven Four Continents medals and seven Junior Worlds medals.  They won 2 medals on the Grand Prix and three medals in the Challenger Series along with one JGP medal.  The entire podium from last season is returning, along with the 5th, 7th-10th, 12th, 14th-16th, and 18th place finishers.  The entire Junior Ladies podium from last season along with the 8th place finisher have qualified to compete as seniors.  The short program will be held on Wednesday, January 3rd with the free skate on Friday, January 5th.

 To be competitive internationally, they need short program scores above 70 points, free skate scores above 139 points, and overall scores above 206 points.  None of the US ladies rank on any of the top ten international lists this season.
Bradie Tennell held on to a spot in the top ten up until Skate America.  She is the only US lady to score over 200 points internationally this season, and has done so twice.  At Skate America, she landed a triple lutz + triple toe in her short program with a solo triple loop and double axel in the bonus.  She had all Level 4 spins with Level 3 steps.  She earned all positive GOEs worth 5 points and had program components in the low to mid 7s.  Her free skate had a triple lutz + triple toe, triple lutz + double toe + double loop, and a double axel + triple toe.  She earned Level 4 on her spins and Level 3 on the step sequence with all positive GOEs netting her 10 points.  Her program components ranged from the mid 7s to mid 8s.  At Lombardia Trophy, she also had a clean short program but her program components were lower in the high 6s, but this was an earlier event in the season.  Her free skate was mostly clean with only a slight negative GOE on her solo loop.  Again, her program components were slightly lower.
Ashley Wagner rebounded from a 7th place short program at Skate Canada to take home the bronze medal.  She hasn’t had the greatest season this year as she then had to withdraw from Skate America during her free skate due to an infection.  She is reusing two old programs, yet did not skate them cleanly.  After Skate America, she decided to scrap her free skate and has gone back to La La Land which she had choreographed over the summer but never competed.  It is a big gamble, but she didn’t have many competitions under her belt anyway and her programs weren’t seeing huge successes.  Her short program had an under-rotated triple flip + triple toe and a double axel and triple loop (under-rotated) in the bonus.  She earned Level 4 on one of her spins with Level 3 on everything else.  Her program components were in the low to mid 8s.  Her free skate has a triple flip + triple toe, double axel + double toe, and triple loop + double toe.  She under-rotated three jumps at Skate Canada, the triple + triple, triple loop, and triple loop combo, while receiving an edge call on her triple lutz.  She received Level 4 on two spins and Level 3 on the other and her step sequence.  Her program components were in the low to high 8s.  At Skate America, her combination and solo jump were under-rotated although she did earn Level 4 on everything in the short program.
Mirai Nagasu has a big wild card in her programs this season: the triple axel.  She has been hitting it consistently in practice this week, but she is not known for being able to perform under pressure.  She has quite the perseverance, however, considering that she is very much in the mix for the Olympic team and she last qualified for the Olympics 8 years ago, and won her only US title 10 years ago.  At Rostelecom Cup, she stood up on her triple axel attempt but it was under-rotated.  She also fell on a downgraded triple flip + triple toe and under-rotated the triple lutz in the bonus.  She earned Level 4 on her spins and Level 3 on the step sequence with program components in the mid to high 7s.  In her free skate, she again stood up on an under-rotated triple axel, and landed a triple flip + triple toe and triple loop + double toe + double toe.  She under-rotated a triple salchow and her double axel + triple toe.  She received Level 4 on all of her spins and Level 3 on her step sequence.  Her program components were in the mid to high 7s.  At NHK Trophy, she received full credit for the triple axel in her short program, but under-rotated her other two jumps.  She again stood up on the axel in the free skate, but it was under-rotated.  Otherwise, the rest of the program was clean with program components in the mid 7s to low 8s.
Karen Chen has seemed a bit unsettled this season after winning her first national title last year.  She has changed her free skate several times this season, and when most skaters would be settling in and fine tuning their programs, she seems to be starting from scratch.  She has never medaled at a Grand Prix event, and while she finished 4th at Worlds last year, she did not skate cleanly, and benefitted from several other skaters imploding.  Her short program at Skate Canada included a triple lutz, triple loop + double toe, and a double axel.  She earned Level 4 on two spins and Level 3 on the other spin and her step sequence.  Her program components were in the mid 7s.  In the free skate, she had a triple lutz + double toe but under-rotated her double axel + single loop + triple salchow and only had two combinations.  She also under-rotated a triple flip with an edge call, under-rotated a triple lutz, and had a downgraded triple salchow.  She earned Level 4 on two spins and Level 3 on the other spin and step sequence.  Her program components were in the mid to high 7s. At Skate America, she went for the triple lutz + triple toe in her short program, but it was under-rotated and her triple loop was downgraded.
Angela Wang did not compete on the Grand Prix, but had two Challenger Series assignments.  Her short program has a triple flip + triple toe and a double axel and triple loop in the bonus.  She received Level 3 on two of her spins and the step sequence.  Her program components were in the low to mid 7s.  Her free skate has a triple flip + triple toe + double toe but she had problems with her other two combinations in Finlandia Trophy, singling the axel in her triple loop + double axel sequence and under-rotating her triple flip + double toe.  She earned Level 4 on one of her spins and Level 3 on the the others with program components in the mid to high 7s.  At Tallinn Trophy, she missed her triple + triple in the short program but earned all positive GOEs worth 5 points.  Her free skate was a bit of a mess, missing her opening combo after a fall, singling a loop, doubling a salchow, and under-rotating and falling on a planned triple flip combination.
Courtney Hicks just missed the podium at Skate Canada.  She landed a triple flip + triple loop in her short program in addition to a triple lutz and double axel in the bonus.  She received Level 4 on her layback spin and Level 3 on everything else.  Her program components were in the high 8s to mid 7s.  In the free skate, she hit a triple flip + triple loop and double axel + double toe, before botching her triple lutz + single loop + triple salchow combination (which she also missed at the Autumn Classic International.  She also under-rotated a double axel.  She earned Level 4 on two spins with Level 3 on the other and the step sequence.  Her program components were in the mid to high 7s.  At the Autumn Classic International, she only had a triple + double in her short program but she hit Level 4s on all of her elements.
Mariah Bell had her first trip to Worlds last season, finishing 12th.  At Rostelecom Cup, she under-rotated the triple lutz + triple toe in her short program but did land a triple flip and double axel.  She received Level 4 on her spins and step sequence with program components in the mid 7s.  In her free skate, she landed a triple lutz + triple toe, double axel + single loop + triple salchow, and a triple flip + double toe.  She received negative GOEs on two of her jumps but had Level 4 on two of her spins and Level 3 on the other spin and the step sequence.  Her program components were in the mid 7s.  At NHK Trophy, she under-rotated her combo in the short program and doubled her flip, receiving no credit.  She re-arranged the layout of her free skate with some different combinations, opting for a triple lutz + single loop + triple salchow.  She under-rotated that combo and a solo triple flip, falling on both, and missed her opening triple + triple, having to tack on a double toe later in the program.  She received Level 4 on her layback spin and step sequence with Level 3 on her flying camel spin.
Emmy Ma is the lone US lady to win a medal on the Junior Grand Prix this season.  Her short program includes a triple lutz, triple flip + double toe, and a double axel.  She earned all positive GOEs at JGP Latvia with program components in the mid 6s to low 7s.  Her free skate includes a triple loop + double toe + double loop, triple lutz + double loop, and a triple flip + double toe.  She only has three jumps in the bonus, and no combinations.  She under-rotated her solo loop and double axel at JGP Latvia.  Her program components were in the mid 6s to mid 7s.  At JGP Poland, she missed the second half of the combination and fell in her short program but earned Level 4 on all of her spins and Level 3 on the step sequence.  Her program components were in the high 5s to mid 6s.  In the free skate, she under-rotated her first combination and had the second downgraded.  She did earn Level 4 on all of her spins and Level 3 on the step sequence with program components in the mid 6s.  At Golden Spin, she had errors on all of her jumps in the short program, under-rotating her lutz; under-rotating, downgrading, and falling on her combination, and under-rotating her axel.  She had a rough opening to her free skate at Golden Spin with her first two combinations under-rotated, but the program was clean after that.
Starr Andrews holds the top score from qualifying events this season.  At Pacific Coast Sectionals, she landed a triple toe + triple toe in her short program, with her triple loop and double axel in the bonus.  She earned Level 4 on all of her spins and the step sequence.  She had all positive GOEs worth nearly 7 points and program components in the high 6s to mid 7s.  Her free skate has a triple toe + triple toe, triple loop + double toe + double loop, and triple salchow + double toe.  She has five jumps in the bonus, including two combinations.  Her only error at sectionals was popping a solo loop into a double.  She earned Level 4 on her step sequence and spins with all positive GOEs worth nearly 10 points.  Her program components were in the mid 6s to low 7s.  At Golden Spin, she upgraded some of jumps in her free skate, going for a triple lutz + double axel sequence and replacing one of the double axels.  However, she under-rotated two jumps and got an edge call on her lutz in addition to falling.
Tessa Hong set the second highest score during qualifying.  Her short program is backloaded with all of her jumps in the bonus.  Her solo triple lutz was a bit messy and her triple flip + triple toe had the first jump under-rotated and the second downgraded.  She earned Level 4 on her spins and step sequence with program components in the mid 6s to mid 7s.  Her free skate is set up to have most of the jumps in the bonus, including all three combos, but she seemed to rush a bit on her first combo and missed the mark to receive credit for the bonus.  Her triple lutz + triple toe was downgraded but she did hit a triple flip + double toe and a triple salchow + double toe.  Everything but the triple + triple received a positive GOE, netting 8 points.  She earned Level 4 on her spins with program components in the high 6s to mid 7s.

Mirai Nagasu has the highest base value for jumps in the short program with 24.70 points.  This is thanks to her triple axel, however, she has not landed it cleanly with positive GOEs in any of her programs this season, and it has often effected her other jumps.  Courtney Hicks and Tessa Hong both have short programs with a base jump value of 20 points.  While Bradie Tennell’s short program base value is 19.54 points with five ladies having a base value equal to or higher than hers, she is the only one to skate a clean short program all season with positive GOEs.

In the free skate, Nagasu again has the most difficult short program planned with a base value of 48.79.  However, even with the advantage of the triple axel, the rest of the program is not as difficult as some of the other competitors.  Tennell has a base value of 47.72, Hicks has a base value of 47.91, and Bell has a base value of 47.41.  Again, Nagasu hasn’t hit a clean triple axel and Hicks and Bell have yet to skate clean programs.

Wagner starts off at a disadvantage on the technical side, with a total base value 12 points behind Nagasu and 6 points behind Tennell.  She also has been plagued with popped jumps and under-rotation calls in the past.  So while she needs to skate as cleanly as possible to keep up, she has an advantage on the program component side.  Only she and Tennell have received 8s on program components this season, and Wagner’s have been higher.  Wagner and Tennell have only skated head to head once this season, at Skate America.  Wagner had problems with most of her jumps but still had all 8s on her program components totaling 33.68 points.  Tennell had a completely clean program but her program components only totaled 29.38.  If Wagner skates clean, expect her program components to be even higher.  However, Tennell’s PCS scores have been rising throughout the season and she will be skating in front of a national audience.

In a field that has been wildly inconsistent over the last few seasons, my money is on Tennell who hasn’t made a mistake yet.  This will be the true test though, to see how she handles the pressure of skating cleanly at nationals when Olympic team spots are on the line.  With a lot of the attention on Tennell and not having skated great this year, Wagner is in her favorite spot as the underdog having to fight to earn her place.

 

My podium predictions:

Gold: Bradie Tennell

Silver: Ashley Wagner

Bronze: Mirai Nagasu

Pewter: Karen Chen

 

Bios of the competitors:

Starr Andrews: She is 16 years old and represents the Los Angeles Figure Skating Club.  She placed 12th at Junior Worlds last season.  She finished 5th at JGP Austria.  She placed 6th at Golden Spin of Zagreb.  She is the reigning Junior Silver Medalist, finished 6th as a novice in 2016 and is the 2014 Juvenile Girls Pewter Medalist.  She won gold at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  She has the best short program, best free skate and best total scores from qualifying.

Mariah Bell: She is 21 years old and represents the Rocky Mountain Figure Skating Club.  She finished 12th at Worlds and 6th at Four Continents last season.  She placed 6th at Rostelecom Cup and 9th at NHK Trophy.  She finished 5th at the US International Figure Skating Classic.  She is the reigning Bronze Medalist, finished 11th in 2016, 6th in 2015, 13th in 2014, is the 2013 Junior Silver Medalist, finished 5th in juniors in 2012, is the 2011 Novice Bronze Medalist and finished 8th in intermediate in 2010.

Emily Chan: She is 20 years old and represents the Dallas Figure Skating Club.  She is the 2016 Junior Champion, 2015 Novice Champion, finished 9th as a novice in 2014, and 6th as a novice in 2013.  She won silver at Southwestern Regionals and bronze at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.

Karen Chen: She is 18 years old and represents the Peninsula Skating Club.  She placed 4th at Worlds and 12th at Four Continents last season.  She placed 7th at Skate Canada and 8th at Skate America.  She won bronze at the US International Classic.  She is the reigning National Champion, placed 8th in 2016, is the 2015 Bronze Medalist, 2013 Junior Pewter Medalist, 2012 Novice Champion, 2011 Intermediate Champion and the 2010 Juvenile Pewter Medalist.

Franchesca Chiera: She is 20 years old and represents the Panthers Figure Skating Club.  She finished 15th last season, 12th in 2016, 16th in 2015 and 17th in 2014.  She won silver at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  She has the best short program, best free skate and best total scores from qualifying.

Polina Edmunds: She is 19 years old and represents the Peninsula Skating Club.  She placed 10th at Internationaux de France.  She placed 13th at Finlandia Trophy.  She is the 2015 Four Continents Champion.  She is the 2016 Silver Medalist, 2015 Pewter Medalist, 2014 Silver Medalist, 2013 Junior Champion, finished 6th in juniors in 2012, 7th in juniors in 2011 and 6th in novice in 2010.

Amber Glenn: She is 18 years old and represents the Dallas Figure Skating Club.  She finished 10th at Cup of China.  She placed 8th at Lombardia Trophy.  She finished 8th last season, 13th in 2015, is the 2014 Junior Champion, finished 5th as a junior in 2013, is the 2012 Novice Ladies Silver Medalist, finished 10th as an intermediate in 2011 and 12th as a juvenile in 2009.

Courtney Hicks: She is 22 years old and represents the All Year Figure Skating Club.  She placed 4th at Skate Canada.  She placed 4th at the Autumn Classic International and won bronze at the Warsaw Cup.  She finished 12th last season, 9th in 2016, 8th in 2015, 6th in 2014, is the 2013 Pewter Medalist, 2011 Junior Champion, finished 5th in novice in 2010, is the 2009 Intermediate Silver Medalist and finished 6th in juvenile in 2008.

Tessa Hong: She is 15 years old and represents the Los Angeles Figure Skating Club.  She placed 6th at JGP Belarus.  She finished 10th last season, is the 2014 Intermediate Champion, and 2012 Juvenile Silver Medalist.  She won silver at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  She has the best free skate and best total scores from qualifying.

Vivian Le: She is 17 years old and represents the Los Angeles Figure Skating Club.  She is the 2016 Junior Silver Medalist, 2015 Junior Bronze Medalist, and 2014 Novice Champion.  She won gold at Southwest Pacific Regionals and bronze at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.

Ashley Lin: She is 14 years old and represents the Dallas Figure Skating Club.  She finished 6th at JGP Latvia.  She is the reigning Junior Bronze Medalist, 2016 Novice Pewter Medalist, finished 7th in intermediate ladies in 2015 and 7th in juvenile girls in 2013.  She won pewter at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  She has the best free skate and best total scores from qualifying.

Emmy Ma: She is 16 years old and represents the Skating Club of Boston.  She won bronze at JGP Latvia and finished 5th at JGP Poland.  She placed 5th at the Golden Spin of Zagreb.  She is the reigning Junior Pewter Medalist, 2013 Intermediate Bronze Medalist and placed 9th in juvenile in 2012.  She won gold at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  She has the best short program, best free skate and best total scores from qualifying.

Brynne McIsaac: She is 18 years old and represents the Broadmoor Skating Club.  She finished 8th in juniors last season, 11th in juniors in 2016, 7th in juniors in 2015, 10th in novice in 2013 and 11th in juvenile in 2010.  She won gold at Southwestern Regionals and silver at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.

Katie McBeath: She is 23 and represents the Westminster Figure Skating Club of Erie.  She finished 16th last season, 13th in 2016, and 18th in 2015.  She won gold at North Atlantic Regionals and bronze at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.

Hannah Miller: She is 21 years old and represents the Lansing Skating Club.  She finished 8th at Golden Spin.  She placed 18th last season, 7th in 2016, 9th in 2015, 9th in 2014, 10th in 2013, is the 2012 Junior Bronze Medalist, 2011 Novice Champion, finished 5th in intermediate in 2010 and 8th in juvenile in 2009.  She won gold at Eastern Great Lakes Regionals and gold at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  She has the best short program, best free skate, and best total scores from qualifying.

Mirai Nagasu: She is 24 years old and represents the Pasadena Figure Skating Club.  She is the reigning Four Continents Bronze Medalist.  She placed 9th at Rostelecom Cup and 4th at NHK Trophy.  She won silver at the US International Figure Skating Classic.  She is the 2016 Four Continents Silver Medalist, 2011 Four Continents Bronze Medalist, 2007 World Junior Silver Medalist and 2008 World Junior Bronze Medalist.  She is the reigning Pewter Medalist, 2016 Pewter Medalist, finished 10th in 2015, is the 2014 Bronze Medalist, placed 7th in 2013, 7th in 2012, is the 2011 Bronze Medalist, 2010 Silver Medalist, finished 5th in 2009, is the 2008 Champion and 2007 Junior Champion.

Kaitlyn Nguyen: She is 14 years old and represents the Los Angeles Skating Club.  She placed 5th at JGP Australia and 5th at JGP Croatia.  She is the reigning Junior Ladies Champion and is the 2014 Juvenile Girls Bronze Medalist.  She won pewter at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  She has the best short program, best free skate, and best total scores from qualifying.

Bradie Tennell: She is 19 years old and represents the Skokie Valley Figure Skating Club.  She placed 7th at Junior Worlds last season.  She won bronze at Skate America.  She placed 4th at Lombardia Trophy.  She placed 9th last season, 6th in 2016, is the 2015 Junior Champion, 2014 Junior Pewter Medalist, 2013 Novice Bronze Medalist, finished 10th as a novice in 2012, 15th in intermediate in 2011 and 10th in juvenile in 2010.

Ashley Wagner: She is 26 years old and represents the Skating Club of Wilmington.  She finished 7th at Worlds last season.  She won bronze at Skate Canada and withdrew from Skate America.  She is the 2016 World Silver Medalist, 2012 Four Continents Champion and 2007 and 2009 World Junior Bronze Medalist.  She is the reigning Silver Medalist, 2016 Bronze Medalist, 2015 Champion, 2014 Pewter Medalist, 2013 Champion, 2012 Champion, finished 6th in 2011, is the 2010 Bronze Medalist, 2009 Pewter Medalist, 2008 Bronze Medalist, 2007 Junior Bronze Medalist, 2006 Junior Pewter Medalist, finished 7th in novice in 2005 and 17th in intermediate in 2003.

Angela Wang: She is 21 years old and represents the Salt Lake Figure Skating Club.  She finished 4th at Finlandia Trophy and 5th at Tallinn Trophy.  She placed 7th last season, 10th in 2016, 15th in 2015, 15th in 2014, 9th in 2013, 8th in 2012, 7th in juniors in 2010, is the 2009 Novice Bronze Medalist, 2008 Intermediate Pewter Medalist and finished 9th in intermediate in 2007.

Megan Wessenberg: She is 19 years old and represents the Skating Club of Boston.  She finished 14th last season, is the 2016 Junior Bronze Medalist, finished 9th in juniors in 2015, 10th as a junior in 2014, 9th in novice in 2013 and 12th in juvenile in 2011.  She won gold at New England Regionals and pewter at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  She has the best short program, best free skate and best total scores from qualifying.

Caroline Zhang: She is 24 years old and represents the All Year Figure Skating Club.  She finished 6th at Ondrej Nepela Trophy and 4th at Tallinn Trophy.  She is the 2010 and 2012 Four Continents Bronze Medalist, the 2007 Junior World Champion and the 2008 and 2009 Junior World Silver Medalist.  She placed 5th last season, 17th in 2015, 19th in 2014, 11th in 2013, is the 2012 Pewter Medalist, finished 12th in 2011, 11th in 2010, is the 2009 Bronze Medalist, 2008 Pewter Medalist, 2007 Junior Silver Medalist, finished 8th in juniors in 2006, is the 2005 Novice Pewter Medalist, 2004 Intermediate Bronze Medalist and 2003 Juvenile Pewter Medalist.

2017 Skate Canada Ladies Preview

Three of last season’s Grand Prix Final qualifiers are competing at this event while three ladies are making their Grand Prix debut, including World Junior Silver Medalist Marin Honda.  Honda is the youngest lady in the field at 16 years old, while Ashley Wagner is the oldest at 26.  Five of these ladies have scored over 200 points while two additional competitors have hit 199.

Interestingly enough, this event looks like a battle between Swan Lakes and Moulin Rouges.  Maria Sotskova is skating to Swan Lake for her short program, while Kaetlyn Osmond and Anna Pogorilaya are using Swan Lake for their free skate.  Karen Chen is using Moulin Rouge for her short program and Ashley Wagner and Kailani Craine are using Moulin Rouge for their free skate.

Kaetlyn Osmond has had a bit of an uneven career plagued with injuries.  She won a gold medal at her Grand Prix debut at this event in 2012, but did not compete on the Grand Prix again until 2015.  She has won three medals and qualified for the Grand Prix Final for the first time last season.  She won gold at the Autumn Classic International to start her season.  Her short program includes a triple flip + triple toe and a triple lutz.  She had all positive GOEs, earning her 8 points, and her program components were in the high 8s and low 9s.  Her free skate was largely clean with a triple flip + triple toe and a double axel + triple toe.  Her opening combination almost earned all positive +3 GOEs and netted her 11.56 points overall.  She only has four jumping passes planned in the bonus and she singled an axel at the end of her program.  She again earned all positive GOEs, earning 14 points and had PCS marks in the high 8s and low 9s.  She did lose a point for a fall outside of her required elements.  Her biggest issue in the past was skating a clean free skate, and skating two clean programs in the same event, so this was a big step for her coming off of her World medal, to be able to skate such solid programs at the beginning of the season.  She has the 2nd best short program, 4th best free skate, and 4th best total scores.

Maria Sotskova is starting her sophomore season on the Grand Prix, after winning two medals last season and qualifying for the Grand Prix Final.  She won gold at Finlandia Trophy with personal best free skate and total scores to kick off her season.  Her short program includes a triple lutz + triple toe and a triple flip.  She earned all positive GOEs and had program components in the mid 7s to low 8s.  She lost one point for going over time.  Her free skate includes a triple lutz + triple toe and a triple flip + single loop + triple salchow with five jumping passes in the bonus.  Her only error was under-rotating the double axel at the end of the program.  Her program components were better, in the mid 8s.  She has the 9th best short program, 6th best free skate, and 6th best total scores.

Marin Honda is making her Grand Prix debut after winning a World Junior Championship and the World Junior Silver Medal last season.  In her two seasons on the Junior Grand Prix, she won three silver medals and one gold, and qualified for the Final twice, winning bronze in 2015 and withdrawing last season due to illness.  She started her senior career with a gold medal at the US International Figure Skating Classic.  She landed a triple flip + triple toe and a triple loop in her short program with all positive GOEs and program components in the mid 7s.  Her free skate includes a triple flip + triple toe and a double axel + triple toe with five jumping passes in the bonus.  Her only major error was doubling a salchow near the end of the program.  She had all positive GOEs and her program components were stronger, ranging from 7.85 to 8.20.  She has the 10th best short program, 9th best free skate, and 8th best total scores.

Karen Chen will be competing for the third season on the Grand Prix, but she has never finished higher than 5th place.  She won a bronze at the US International Figure Skating Classic to start her season.  Her short program had an under-rotated triple lutz + triple toe and a triple loop.  Her program components were slightly better than Honda, who beat her at this event, in the high 7s and low 8s.  Her triple lutz + triple toe was again under-rotated in the free skate as was her triple flip (edge call), triple salchow at the end of her three jump combo and her triple lutz.  However, she has since scrapped this program and has a brand new free skate that she choreographed herself and has only been working on for two weeks.  In fact, this will be her third free skate program of the season.

Anna Pogorilaya will compete on the Grand Prix for her 5th season, where she has 6 total medals, and has qualified for the Final three times, winning the bronze medal last year.  She sat in 4th place at the World Championships after the short program but a 15th place free skate dropped her to 13th overall.  One of the most consistent Russian ladies since the last Olympics, she has been reportedly struggling with her performance at that event and hasn’t competed since.

Ashley Wagner is starting her 11th season on the Grand Prix, where she has won 13 medals, but she had her worst ever finish last year, placing 6th at Cup of China.  She has qualified for the Grand Prix Final five times, and had a four year streak which was broken last year.  She had a free skate to La La Land planned for this season, but decided to scrap it and go back to the Moulin Rouge program that won her a silver medal at the World Championships.  This will be her third time using this program in the last four years, but it is undeniably a signature piece and suits her style and personality like nothing she has skated before or since.

 

My podium predictions:

Gold: Kaetlyn Osmond

Silver: Ashley Wagner

Bronze: Maria Sotskova

 

Bios of the competitors:

Kailani Craine, AUS: She finished 24th at Worlds and 16th at Four Continents.  This is her Grand Prix debut.  Her personal best is 167.45.  She is 19 years old.

Larkyn Austman, CAN: This is her Grand Prix debut.  Her personal best is 136.82.  She is 19 years old.

Alaine Chartrand, CAN: She placed 11th at Four Continents.  She finished 5th at Skate Canada and 10th at NHK Trophy last season.  Her personal best is 186.11.  She is 21 years old.

Kaetlyn Osmond, CAN: She is the reigning World Silver Medalist and placed 4th at Four Continents.  She won silver at Skate Canada and silver at Cup of China last season to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where she finished 4th.  Her personal best is 218.13.  She is 21 years old.

Laurine Lecavelier, FRA: She finished 18th at Worlds and 5th at Europeans.  She placed 6th at Trophee de France last season.  Her personal best is 188.10.  She is 21 years old.

Marin Honda, JPN: She is the reigning World Junior Silver Medalist.  She won silver at JGP Japan and silver at JGP Slovenia last season to qualify for the Junior Grand Prix Final.  This is her Grand Prix debut.  She is the 2016 World Junior Champion.  Her personal best is 201.61.  She is 16 years old.

Rika Hongo, JPN: She placed 16th at Worlds and 10th at Four Continents.  She finished 6th at Skate Canada and 5th at Cup of China last season.  She is the 2015 and 2016 Four Continents Bronze Medalist.  Her personal best is 199.15.  She is 21 years old.

Anna Pogorilaya, RUS: She finished 13th at Worlds and is the reigning European Silver Medalist.  She won gold at Rostelecom Cup and gold at NHK Trophy last season to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where she won bronze.  She is the 2016 World Bronze Medalist, 2015 and 2016 European Bronze Medalist, and 2013 World Junior Bronze Medalist.  Her personal best is 216.47.  She is 19 years old.

Maria Sotskova, RUS: She placed 8th at Worlds and 4th at Europeans.  She won silver at Trophee de France and bronze at NHK Trophy last season to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where she finished 5th.  She is the 2016 World Junior Silver Medalist.  Her personal best is 205.30.  She is 17 years old.

Karen Chen, USA: She finished 4th at Worlds and 12th at Four Continents.  She placed 7th at Cup of China and 6th at NHK Trophy last season.  Her personal best is 199.29.  She is 18 years old.

Courtney Hicks, USA: She won bronze at Rostelecom Cup and placed 9th at Cup of China last season.  Her personal best is 183.12.  She is 21 years old.

Ashley Wagner, USA: She placed 7th at Worlds.  She won gold at Skate Canada and finished 6th at Cup of China last season.  She is the 2016 World Silver Medalist, 2012 Four Continents Champion, and 2007 and 2009 World Junior Bronze Medalist. Her personal best is 215.39.  She is 26 years old.

2017 World Championships Ladies Results

Short Program

Pl. Qual. Name Nation TSS
=
TES
+
PCS
+
SS TR PE CO IN Ded.
StN.
1 Q Evgenia MEDVEDEVA RUS 79.01 42.10 36.91 9.11 9.04 9.39 9.21 9.39 0.00 #32
2 Q Kaetlyn OSMOND CAN 75.98 41.23 34.75 8.61 8.43 8.86 8.71 8.82 0.00 #26
3 Q Gabrielle DALEMAN CAN 72.19 39.19 33.00 8.32 8.04 8.46 8.29 8.14 0.00 #33
4 Q Anna POGORILAYA RUS 71.52 37.21 34.31 8.54 8.36 8.64 8.64 8.71 0.00 #37
5 Q Karen CHEN USA 69.98 38.35 31.63 7.82 7.64 8.11 7.96 8.00 0.00 #28
6 Q Maria SOTSKOVA RUS 69.76 38.14 31.62 8.00 7.75 7.93 7.96 7.89 0.00 #35
7 Q Ashley WAGNER USA 69.04 35.27 33.77 8.50 8.14 8.61 8.39 8.57 0.00 #34
8 Q Carolina KOSTNER ITA 66.33 32.44 33.89 8.54 8.32 8.21 8.61 8.68 0.00 #8
9 Q Wakaba HIGUCHI JPN 65.87 36.84 29.03 7.39 6.96 7.36 7.21 7.36 0.00 #23
10 Q Elizabet TURSYNBAEVA KAZ 65.48 36.65 28.83 7.14 7.07 7.29 7.25 7.29 0.00 #31
11 Q Dabin CHOI KOR 62.66 35.46 27.20 6.89 6.64 6.86 6.86 6.75 0.00 #27
12 Q Rika HONGO JPN 62.55 31.45 31.10 7.82 7.61 7.75 7.86 7.82 0.00 #36
13 Q Mariah BELL USA 61.02 32.16 28.86 7.11 6.96 7.25 7.25 7.50 0.00 #19
14 Q Ivett TOTH HUN 61.00 33.60 27.40 6.79 6.54 7.00 6.93 7.00 0.00 #22
15 Q Mai MIHARA JPN 59.59 30.88 29.71 7.50 7.25 7.39 7.46 7.54 1.00 #24
16 Q Xiangning LI CHN 58.28 33.49 24.79 6.36 5.89 6.43 6.18 6.14 0.00 #10
17 Q Loena HENDRICKX BEL 57.54 30.71 26.83 6.71 6.43 6.86 6.68 6.86 0.00 #17
18 Q Nicole RAJICOVA SVK 57.08 29.93 27.15 6.79 6.54 6.86 6.79 6.96 0.00 #30
19 Q Kailani CRAINE AUS 56.97 31.54 25.43 6.29 5.96 6.64 6.36 6.54 0.00 #13
20 Q Zijun LI CHN 56.30 29.73 26.57 6.79 6.43 6.71 6.68 6.61 0.00 #21
21 Q Angelina KUCHVALSKA LAT 55.92 28.24 27.68 6.89 6.75 6.96 7.07 6.93 0.00 #29
22 Q Laurine LECAVELIER FRA 55.49 29.77 26.72 6.75 6.43 6.57 6.79 6.86 1.00 #20
23 Q Anastasia GALUSTYAN ARM 55.20 30.63 24.57 6.21 5.89 6.21 6.11 6.29 0.00 #5
24 Q Nicole SCHOTT GER 54.83 29.64 26.19 6.71 6.39 6.50 6.50 6.64 1.00 #25
25 Shuran YU SGP 52.87 30.31 22.56 5.89 5.25 5.68 5.68 5.71 0.00 #7
26 Joshi HELGESSON SWE 52.07 27.85 25.22 6.39 5.89 6.32 6.39 6.54 1.00 #2
27 Helery HÄLVIN EST 51.94 28.21 23.73 6.14 5.64 5.96 5.96 5.96 0.00 #14
28 Amy LIN TPE 51.86 28.03 23.83 6.04 5.64 6.04 6.00 6.07 0.00 #12
29 Emmi PELTONEN FIN 50.74 25.18 25.56 6.61 6.11 6.25 6.36 6.61 0.00 #6
30 Isadora WILLIAMS BRA 50.65 27.79 22.86 5.75 5.54 5.75 5.82 5.71 0.00 #18
31 Kerstin FRANK AUT 50.54 27.83 22.71 6.07 5.25 5.71 5.71 5.64 0.00 #16
32 Natasha MCKAY GBR 50.10 25.58 24.52 6.04 5.82 6.32 6.14 6.32 0.00 #15
33 Yasmine Kimiko YAMADA SUI 47.86 26.57 21.29 5.46 5.18 5.29 5.36 5.32 0.00 #11
34 Anne Line GJERSEM NOR 46.99 25.30 21.69 5.50 5.21 5.32 5.54 5.54 0.00 #1
35 Anna KHNYCHENKOVA UKR 46.98 26.30 21.68 5.64 5.07 5.39 5.50 5.50 1.00 #3
36 Dasa GRM SLO 46.63 25.03 22.60 5.79 5.39 5.61 5.68 5.79 1.00 #4
37 Michaela-Lucie HANZLIKOVA CZE 32.21 16.55 19.66 5.21 4.79 4.57 5.14 4.86 4.00 #9

Free Skate

Pl. Name Nation TSS
=
TES
+
PCS
+
SS TR PE CO IN Ded.
StN.
1 Evgenia MEDVEDEVA RUS 154.40 78.27 76.13 9.43 9.25 9.68 9.54 9.68 0.00 #22
2 Kaetlyn OSMOND CAN 142.15 70.21 71.94 8.93 8.68 9.14 9.00 9.21 0.00 #24
3 Gabrielle DALEMAN CAN 141.33 71.73 69.60 8.71 8.32 9.00 8.68 8.79 0.00 #23
4 Mai MIHARA JPN 138.29 74.40 63.89 8.18 7.46 8.29 8.00 8.00 0.00 #12
5 Carolina KOSTNER ITA 130.50 59.47 71.03 8.82 8.68 8.71 9.00 9.18 0.00 #17
6 Karen CHEN USA 129.31 65.98 64.33 8.25 7.64 8.21 8.04 8.07 1.00 #20
7 Dabin CHOI KOR 128.45 69.72 58.73 7.50 7.07 7.46 7.39 7.29 0.00 #13
8 Elizabet TURSYNBAEVA KAZ 126.51 68.36 58.15 7.39 6.89 7.32 7.39 7.36 0.00 #15
9 Mariah BELL USA 126.21 65.29 60.92 7.68 7.39 7.68 7.61 7.71 0.00 #11
10 Ashley WAGNER USA 124.50 56.33 68.17 8.54 8.32 8.43 8.57 8.75 0.00 #16
11 Maria SOTSKOVA RUS 122.44 58.65 64.79 8.29 7.89 8.00 8.18 8.14 1.00 #19
12 Wakaba HIGUCHI JPN 122.18 59.47 63.71 8.14 7.57 8.04 8.04 8.04 1.00 #18
13 Xiangning LI CHN 117.09 62.69 54.40 7.00 6.39 6.93 6.75 6.93 0.00 #9
14 Loena HENDRICKX BEL 115.28 58.65 56.63 7.11 6.71 7.32 7.07 7.18 0.00 #8
15 Anna POGORILAYA RUS 111.85 53.00 62.85 8.21 7.79 7.25 8.07 7.96 4.00 #21
16 Nicole RAJICOVA SVK 108.47 55.67 52.80 6.86 6.25 6.68 6.57 6.64 0.00 #7
17 Laurine LECAVELIER FRA 107.50 55.18 53.32 6.86 6.21 6.71 6.79 6.75 1.00 #2
18 Rika HONGO JPN 107.28 50.96 57.32 7.39 6.75 7.04 7.36 7.29 1.00 #14
19 Nicole SCHOTT GER 106.58 51.66 54.92 6.82 6.54 6.93 7.00 7.04 0.00 #5
20 Zijun LI CHN 103.50 53.96 49.54 6.46 5.93 6.18 6.14 6.25 0.00 #1
21 Ivett TOTH HUN 99.77 47.10 53.67 6.86 6.46 6.50 6.93 6.79 1.00 #10
22 Angelina KUCHVALSKA LAT 99.10 49.08 50.02 6.54 5.93 6.36 6.25 6.18 0.00 #4
23 Anastasia GALUSTYAN ARM 98.27 49.82 48.45 6.21 5.75 6.07 6.07 6.18 0.00 #6
24 Kailani CRAINE AUS 95.97 47.93 49.04 6.36 5.79 6.18 6.07 6.25 1.00 #3

Total

FPl. Name Nation Points SP FS
1 Evgenia MEDVEDEVA
RUS
233.41 1 1
2 Kaetlyn OSMOND
CAN
218.13 2 2
3 Gabrielle DALEMAN
CAN
213.52 3 3
4 Karen CHEN
USA
199.29 5 6
5 Mai MIHARA
JPN
197.88 15 4
6 Carolina KOSTNER
ITA
196.83 8 5
7 Ashley WAGNER
USA
193.54 7 10
8 Maria SOTSKOVA
RUS
192.20 6 11
9 Elizabet TURSYNBAEVA
KAZ
191.99 10 8
10 Dabin CHOI
KOR
191.11 11 7
11 Wakaba HIGUCHI
JPN
188.05 9 12
12 Mariah BELL
USA
187.23 13 9
13 Anna POGORILAYA
RUS
183.37 4 15
14 Xiangning LI
CHN
175.37 16 13
15 Loena HENDRICKX
BEL
172.82 17 14
16 Rika HONGO
JPN
169.83 12 18
17 Nicole RAJICOVA
SVK
165.55 18 16
18 Laurine LECAVELIER
FRA
162.99 22 17
19 Nicole SCHOTT
GER
161.41 24 19
20 Ivett TOTH
HUN
160.77 14 21
21 Zijun LI
CHN
159.80 20 20
22 Angelina KUCHVALSKA
LAT
155.02 21 22
23 Anastasia GALUSTYAN
ARM
153.47 23 23
24 Kailani CRAINE
AUS
152.94 19 24
Shuran YU
SGP
FNR 25
Joshi HELGESSON
SWE
FNR 26
Helery HÄLVIN
EST
FNR 27
Amy LIN
TPE
FNR 28
Emmi PELTONEN
FIN
FNR 29
Isadora WILLIAMS
BRA
FNR 30
Kerstin FRANK
AUT
FNR 31
Natasha MCKAY
GBR
FNR 32
Yasmine Kimiko YAMADA
SUI
FNR 33
Anne Line GJERSEM
NOR
FNR 34
Anna KHNYCHENKOVA
UKR
FNR 35
Dasa GRM
SLO
FNR 36
Michaela-Lucie HANZLIKOVA
CZE
FNR 37

2017 World Championships Ladies Preview

Evgenia Medvedeva has not lost an event since Rostelecom Cup in 2015.  She is the reigning World Champion, two-time European Champion and two-time Grand Prix Final Champion.  She holds world record scores for the short program, free skate and total.  Her personal best was set at Europeans where she scored 229.71.  She’s as close to a shoe-in as there is at these World Championships.  She has the top four total element scores in the short program, top three program component scores, top two total element scores in the free skate, and top two program component scores.  She is truly the complete package, with top levels, positive Grades of Execution, difficult jumps and top program component scores.  She backloads her short program, putting all the jumps in the bonus.  And while her free skate is not the most difficult technically being attempted at this event, she is so consistent and so good at all of her jumps that she is able to achieve top technical scores.  She has the best short program, best free skate, and best total scores.

Anna Pogorilaya entered this season with a new surge of confidence from her World Bronze medal last season.  She is the reigning European Silver Medalist.  She qualified for the Grand Prix Final with two gold medals and won bronze at the Final.  Her personal best came at the Final this year when she scored 216.47.  What is most striking is how she has developed as an artist this season.  She’s always been known as a strong jumper and flew a bit under the radar in a crowded Russian field.  But she used her consistency to consistently make World and European teams.  But this season, she’s really seen growth in her program component scores as she’s found her voice in her programs and learned to bring an audience in to the performance.  Her free program is slightly more difficult than Medvedeva’s but she isn’t as clean in her jumps and her progam components are still around 4 points less than what Medvedeva is receiving.  She has the 4th best short program, 3rd best free skate, and 3rd best total scores.

Carolina Kostner returned to competition after taking some time off after Sochi and then serving a suspension for her role in her former boyfriend’s doping case.  She is the reigning European Bronze Medalist.  Her personal best was sent in Sochi, where she scored 216.73.   Kostner has always been known for her strong artistic presence on the ice, and that hasn’t been lost in her time away.  In her first major competition back, she was keeping pace with Medvedeva on the program components side.  Where Kostner loses ground is on her jump content.  Her short program is worth about two points less than the other top ladies as she attempts the less difficult triple toe + triple toe combination.  She only has one triple+triple in the free skate, no lutz, and only one flip.  Because she is not doing the harder jumps, she’s starting off 5-6 points behind the rest of the top ladies.  She has the 7th best short program, 4th best free skate, and 5th best total scores.

Kaetlyn Osmond is having the best season of her career, winning two silver medals on the Grand Prix and placing 4th at the Grand Prix Final.  She finished 4th at Four Continents, her best career placement.  Her personal best came at the Grand Prix Final, where she scored 212.45.  She credits her success this season, to finally being healthy.  However, she hasn’t been able to put two clean programs together at an event.  She’s a very strong short program skater, and is often near the top of the leaderboard after that segment of competition.  But often she makes a mistake in the free skate and can’t quite seem to recover.  The layout of her programs gives her the technical ability to compete for the podium, it’s just the execution that’s holding her back.  She also has the capability to earn high program components, but when she makes mistakes, the performance side slips as well, so she gives up points on both sides.  She has the 2nd best short program, 5th best free skate, and 4th best total scores.

Maria Sotskova is in her first senior season.  She won a silver and bronze on the Grand Prix to qualify for the Final where she finished 5th.  Her personal best came at Trophee Eric Bompard where she scored 200.35.  She finished 4th at Europeans.  As deep as the Russian field is, just making the team is a huge accomplishment.  With Medvedeva and Pogorilaya the three spots for the next Olympics should be safe, so she’ll just be skating for herself to prove she can handle the pressure and try to secure her place in what is only going to be a deeper Russian pool next season.  Her scores have been bouncing back and forth throughout the season and her outing at Europeans was not the best.  She has a triple lutz + triple toe, giving her a bit of a technical advantage on paper.  She has the 8th best short program, 8th best free skate, and 8th best total scores.

Mai Mihara is also in her first senior season.  She won a bronze medal at Skate America and is the reigning Four Continents Champion.  Her personal best came at Four Continents, where she scored 200.85.  Unlike Sotskova, Mihara still skates very juniorish and her free program and costuming don’t do much to help that image.  In the short program, she’s scoring about 5 points less than Medvedeva in program components and between 10-12 points in the free skate.  She gives up a lot of points on the technical side in the grade of execution as well.  She has very difficult programs, but with the gap on the artistic side she can’t afford to be giving up any points technically with less than perfect landings.  With the withdrawal of Satoko Miyahara, she is the top ranked Japanese lady at this event, and the pressure is on her to place as high as she can to give Japan a chance at keeping three spots at next year’s Olympics.  She has the 7th best free skate and 7th best total scores.

Ashley Wagner ended the US ladies medal drought last season by winning the silver medal at Worlds.  She started her season with a gold medal at Skate America and had a pretty low bar to meet to qualify for the Grand Prix Final for the 5th consecutive season, but she had two disastrous programs and finished 6th overall and had to sit at home come December.  She had decent outings at US Nationals to win the silver medal and chose to sit out of Four Continents.  This is the spot she likes to be in though, coming in as an underdog and having to fight to prove she belongs with the top ladies.  Her personal best is 215.39, which she set last year at Worlds.  Her programs are very different from each other but really showcase her maturity and artistry.  Even in her tough outing at Cup of China, she was still receiving top program component marks.  Exogenesis is such a difficult piece of music to skate to and it almost demands perfection.  If she can skate a clean free skate, I expect her program components to go through the roof.  What you have to watch for with Ashley is two-footing and under-rotating jumps and little mistakes she’ll make toward the end of programs that just give points away here and there.  She has the 10th best short program and 10th best total scores.

Gabrielle Daleman is the reigning Four Continents Silver Medalist.  She set her personal best at that event, scoring 196.91.  She has slightly easier technical content, since she only does a triple toe + triple toe, however, her jump is good that she routinely receives +3 GOE from all the judges, making it worth as much as some of the more difficult combinations.  She has the 6th best short program and 9th best total scores.

Mariah Bell was the surprise silver medalist at Skate America.  She finished 6th at Four Continents.  She has such a sparkling, infectious personality on the ice and it’s hard not to fall in love with her.  Her short program to music from Chicago is absolutely perfect for her, however, where she really shines is in the free skate.  She tends to perform better when she competes alongside her training mate, Wagner, so I expect that this will be a good event for her.  She doesn’t have much international experience and almost no Championship experience.  She has the 10th best free skate score.

Other ladies in contention for the top 10 include Wakaba Higuchi (3rd at Trophee de France), Rika Hongo (10th at Four Continents), Karen Chen (US Champion), Laurine Lecavelier (5th at Europeans), Elizabet Tursynbaeva (8th at Four Continents), Da Bin Choi (5th at Four Continents), and Nicole Rajicova (6th at Europeans).

Those with top 10 scores not competing here include Satoko Miyahara (3rd best short program, 2nd best free skate, 2nd best total scores, 2nd at Grand Prix Final): injury; Elena Radionova (9th best short program, 6th best free skate, 6th best total score, 6th at Grand Prix Final): did not qualify for Russian team; Mirai Nagasu (5th best short program, 9th best free skate, 3rd at Four Continents): did not qualify for the US team.

 

My podium predictions:

Gold: Evgenia Medvedeva

Silver: Anna Pogorilaya

Bronze: Carolina Kostner

2017 US Nationals Senior Ladies Results

Place Start Name Short Program Free Skate Total Score
Place Score Place Score
1 17 Karen Chen, Peninsula SC 1 72.82 1 141.40 214.22
2 18 Ashley Wagner, SC of Wilmington 3 70.94 2 140.84 211.78
3 14 Mariah Bell, Rocky Mountain FSC 6 63.33 3 134.59 197.92
4 19 Mirai Nagasu, Pasadena FSC 2 71.95 4 122.95 194.90
5 13 Caroline Zhang, All Year FSC 7 62.55 5 120.27 182.82
6 15 Gracie Gold, Wagon Wheel FSC 5 64.85 9 114.77 179.62
7 9 Angela Wang, Salt Lake Figure Skating 11 58.16 7 116.97 175.13
8 6 Amber Glenn, Dallas FSC 12 56.34 8 116.29 172.63
9 10 Bradie Tennell, Wagon Wheel FSC 9 59.77 11 110.21 169.98
10 16 Tessa Hong, Broadmoor SC 4 65.02 14 103.72 168.74
11 12 Paige Rydberg, All Year FSC 8 61.60 12 105.32 166.92
12 3 Courtney Hicks, All Year FSC 18 46.02 6 119.17 165.19
13 11 Livvy Shilling, Sun Valley FSC 10 59.73 15 102.17 161.90
14 2 Megan Wessenberg, SC of Boston 16 48.96 10 112.81 161.77
15 7 Franchesca Chiera, Panthers FSC 13 53.97 13 104.44 158.41
16 8 Katie McBeath, Westminster FSC of Erie 15 49.33 17 91.87 141.20
17 4 Rebecca Peng, SC of Boston 19 41.08 16 93.28 134.36
18 1 Hannah Miller, Lansing SC 17 48.73 18 85.51 134.24
19 5 Ashley Shin, Dallas FSC 14 49.86 19 78.01 127.87

2017 US Nationals Senior Ladies Preview

As a group, these ladies have won 58 national medals.  They hold one World medal, five Four Continents medals and eight Junior Worlds medals.  They won three medals on the Grand Prix and six in the Challenger Series.  The podium from last season is competing (except for Polina Edmunds who withdrew due to injury) along with the 5th-13th place finishers.  The Junior Ladies Bronze and Pewter medalists along with the 10th place finisher from last season have qualified to compete as seniors.  The short program will be held on Thursday, January 19th with the free skate on Saturday, January 21st.

To compete internationally, these ladies will need a triple + triple in both programs, preferably two in their free skate, in addition to great program components and spins.

Ashley Wagner ended the US ladies medal drought last season, winning the silver medal at the World Championships.  She looked strong at the start of her season with a gold medal at Skate America, but fell short at her second assignment and failed to qualify for the Grand Prix Final.  She has shrugged this off as a bad day at the office and assures that she is ready to compete and win back the title she lost last season.  Her programs suit her perfectly with the sassy short program that is full of personality and fire and the free skate set to Exogenesis really shows off the full range of her artistic capabilities.  However, the music is so subtle yet powerful it demands a perfect program in order to really capture the audience.  She has the 10th best short program and 7th best total scores internationally.  At Skate America, her short program included a triple flip + triple toe (under-rotated), triple loop and double axel, giving her a base value for her jumps of 18.84.  Between her two events, she received 6 under-rotation calls on her triples in the free skate, one edge call, and one edge warning.  Her planned free skate includes a double axel, triple flip + triple toe (under-rotated at both events), double axel, triple loop + single loop + triple salchow (under-rotated at Cup of China and missed at Skate America), triple flip (under-rotated at both), triple loop (under-rotated at Cup of China), and triple lutz + double toe (missed combo and under-rotated at Cup of China, edge call at Skate America).  At Skate America she earned Level 3s and 4s on her spins and steps and had program components ranging from 8.43 to 9.04.

Mariah Bell was the surprise silver medalist at Skate America after being assigned to the event only a week prior.  She has the 7th best free skate score internationally.  Her short program to music from Chicago fits her to a tee and it is hard to tell what has more sparkle: her or her outfit.  She won the free skate at Skate America but hasn’t been able to replicate that effort elsewhere this season.  She trains alongside Wagner, and this was the one event where they competed together, so it’s possible that competing with Ashley again will give her the boost she needs to skate a clean long program.  Her short program includes a triple lutz + triple toe (under-rotated), triple flip and double axel.  Her free skate includes a triple lutz + triple toe, triple loop, double axel + double toe, triple flip + single loop + double salchow (intended triple), triple lutz, double axel, and triple flip.  She earned an impressive 8.5 points on GOE at that event with program components ranging from 7.75-8.32.

Mirai Nagasu has the 5th best short program score internationally, but it was set way back at the Autumn Classic International and she has not been able to repeat that since.  Her best short program came at NHK Trophy where she landed a triple flip + triple toe (under-rotated), triple loop and double axel.  Her free skates have been her biggest nemesis this season with eight under-rotated and one downgraded jumps in her free skates on the Grand Prix series; only four of her fourteen jumps were clean.  Her planned content is triple flip + triple toe, triple lutz, triple salchow, double axel + triple toe + double toe, triple loop, triple loop + double toe, and double axel.  None of the jumps were skated cleanly at both events.  Her spins earned mostly Level 3s, which is a bit of a downgrade for her.  At best, her program components ranged from 7.43-7.75.

Gracie Gold took her 4th place finish at Worlds exceptionally hard.  She did not train most of the summer and showed up at Skate America not fully trained and looking like her heart just wasn’t in it.  After two more poor assignments, she went back to Chicago to train with her old coach and has said that it has completely changed her skating.  She has forgiven herself for “failing” at Worlds and is ready to get back out there and defend her title.  Her package for the free skate is stunning from the nude/gold costume to the makeup and hair piece and it truly could be a good vehicle for her if she can project the performance qualities this piece demands.  Her planned short program includes a triple lutz + triple toe (under-rotated at Trophee de France, triple flip (under-rotated at Skate America, doubled at Trophee de France) and double axel (singled and under-rotated at Trophee de France).   Her free skate includes a double axel, triple lutz + triple toe (missed at both events), triple loop, double axel + triple toe + double toe (only two jumps at Trophee de France), triple lutz (singled at Trophee de France), triple flip (doubled and edge call at Skate America, under-rotated at Trophee de France) and triple salchow + double toe.  She earned Level 3s and 4s on her spins and steps between the two events.  She earned 4 points from GOE at Skate America despite two falls and had program components ranging from 7.93-8.21.

Karen Chen burst onto the scene at the 2015 nationals, where she won the bronze medal, but she was too young to compete at Junior Worlds.  She finished just 8th last season and has yet to medal on the Grand Prix.  Her short program includes a triple lutz + triple toe (under-rotated at both Grand Prix events), triple loop (under-rotated at Cup of China and singled at NHK  Trophy), and double axel.  Her free skate includes a triple lutz + triple toe (under-rotated at both events), triple flip (edge call at both events), double axel + single loop + triple salchow, triple loop (under-rotated at NHK Trophy), triple salchow + double toe, triple lutz (under-rotated at Cup of China), and double axel.  She earned Level 4 on all of her spins and Level 3 on the steps.  At best, she earned 4.5 points from GOE and had program components ranging from 7.32-7.71.

Courtney Hicks took home the bronze medal despite a strong Russian field at Rostlecom Cup.  Her short program includes a triple flip + triple toe, triple loop and double axel.  At Rostelecom Cup she skated a clean program with Level 4 spins and Level 3 steps with all positive GOEs, but she still found herself in 6th place overall after the short.  Her free skate was mostly clean at Rostelecom Cup with a triple flip + double toe (intended triple), triple salchow, double axel, triple lutz, triple loop + single toe (intended double), triple loop + double axel sequence, and a triple flip.  She had all Level 3s and 4s on her spins and steps and earned nearly 6 points from GOE.  Her program components ranged from 7.32-7.50.

Amber Glenn did not have the best outing at Sectionals, but she did set the 30th best total score internationally of the season, including juniors and seniors.  Her short program includes a triple lutz, triple flip + triple toe and double axel.  Her free skate includes a triple lutz + triple toe, triple flip, double axel + triple toe, triple loop, triple flip + double toe, triple salchow and double axel.

Caroline Zhang set the 2nd highest score during qualifying in her comeback season.  She was credited with a triple loop + triple loop in both of her programs.  The jump’s base value is 10.20 in her short program and 11.22 in the free skate where she executes it in the bonus.

Angela Wang had to withdraw from Skate America at the start of the season, but she set the highest score during qualifying.  She does not execute a triple lutz and she missed her three jump combo which is her sole triple + triple combination at sectionals.  She did however, receive Level 4 on all of her spins and steps and earned 9 points from GOEs.

These ladies all have jump base values that are remarkably similar.  For the short program, they’re between 18.84 and 19.76 points.  It’s a similar story in the free skate where the base values range between 44.162 and 47.28.  However, very few of these ladies have put a clean skate out this season and most of the GOEs are very slight positives or negatives overall.  The spin and step levels have also been concerning, with several Level 2s popping up as well as Level 3 spins.

Mirai Nagasu has been practicing and landing triple axels which could be a game changer for her.  While a double axel is worth a base value of 3.3 points, a triple axel is worth 8.5 points.  If she lands one in each program, that increases her technical score by 10 points overall.  She has not fully committed to going for the triple axel and it will be interesting to see what her strategy is in approaching the jump.  She hasn’t been skating cleanly this season without the triple axel, so the risk might not be worth the reward.

For all of these ladies fully rotated jumps are going to be the difference maker.  Under-rotation calls and doubling and singling jumps were killer at their international events.  But jumps alone are not going to cut it.  To compete with the Russians and get a spot on the podium, all of the technical elements need to be there, the Levels need to be 4 and the program components need to be at least in the 8s.  As Hicks showed, even a squeaky clean short program was barely enough to keep her in the final warmup group in a Grand Prix field, as her program components are so much lower.  Interestingly enough, she is known as a jumper yet she has an easier planned jump content than many of the other top ladies at this event.

 

My podium predictions:

Gold: Ashley Wagner

Silver: Gracie Gold

Bronze: Mariah Bell

Pewter: Mirai Nagasu

 

Bios of the competitors:

Mariah Bell: She is 20 years old and represents the Rocky Mountain Figure Skating Club.  She won silver at Skate America.  She won silver at the US International Classic, bronze at Ondrej Nepela Trophy and placed 4th at Tallinn Trophy.  She finished 11th last season, 6th in 2015, 13th in 2014, is the 2013 Junior Silver Medalist, finished 5th in juniors in 2012, is the 2011 Novice Bronze Medalist and finished 8th in intermediate in 2010.

Karen Chen: She is 17 years old and represents the Peninsula Skating Club.  She placed 12th at Four Continents last season.  She placed 7th at Cup of China and 6th at NHK Trophy.  She won bronze at the US International Classic and placed 7th at the Golden Spin of Zagreb.  She placed 8th last season, is the 2015 Bronze Medalist, 2013 Junior Pewter Medalist, 2012 Novice Champion, 2011 Intermediate Champion and the 2010 Juvenile Pewter Medalist.

Franchesca Chiera: She is 19 years old and represents the Panthers Figure Skating Club.  She placed 8th at the Autumn Classic International.  She finished 12th last season, 16th in 2015 and 17th in 2014.  She won gold at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  She has the 9th best short program, 5th best free skate and 5th best total scores from qualifying.

Amber Glenn: She is 17 years old and represents the Dallas Figure Skating Club.  She placed 5th at Nebelhorn Trophy and 4th at Golden Spin of Zagreb.  She finished 13th in 2015, is the 2014 Junior Champion, finished 5th as a junior in 2013, is the 2012 Novice Ladies Silver Medalist, finished 10th as an intermediate in 2011 and 12th as a juvenile in 2009.  She won bronze at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  She has the 7th best free skate and 8th best total scores from qualifying.

Gracie Gold: She is 21 years old and represents the Wagon Wheel Figure Skating Club.  She placed 4th at Worlds and 5th at Four Continents.  She placed 5th at Skate America and 8th at Trophee de France.  She placed 6th at Golden Spin.  She is the 2012 World Junior Silver Medalist.  She is the reigning Champion, 2015 Silver Medalist, 2014 Champion, 2013 Silver Medalist, 2012 Junior Champion and 2010 Novice Pewter Medalist.

Courtney Hicks: She is 21 years old and represents the All Year Figure Skating Club.  She won bronze at Rostelecom Cup and placed 9th at Cup of China.  She placed 6th at Finlandia Trophy.  She finished 9th last season, 8th in 2015, 6th in 2014, is the 2013 Pewter Medalist, 2011 Junior Champion, finished 5th in novice in 2010, is the 2009 Intermediate Silver Medalist and finished 6th in juvenile in 2008.

Tessa Hong: She represents the Broadmoor Skating Club.  She placed 5th at JGP Estonia.  She is the 2014 Intermediate Champion and 2012 Juvenile Silver Medalist.  She won gold at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  She has the 3rd best free skate and 4th best total scores from qualifying.

Katie McBeath: She is 22 and represents the Westminster Figure Skating Club of Erie.  She finished 13th last season and 18th in 2015.  She won gold at North Atlantic Regionals and bronze at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.

Hannah Miller: She is 20 years old and represents the Lansing Skating Club.  She placed 7th last season, 9th in 2015, 9th in 2014, 10th in 2013, is the 2012 Junior Bronze Medalist, 2011 Novice Champion, finished 5th in intermediate in 2010 and 8th in juvenile in 2009.  She won gold at Eastern Great Lakes Regionals and silver at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  She has the 6th best short program, 9th best free skate and 7th best total scores from qualifying.

Mirai Nagasu: She is 23 years old and represents the Pasadena Figure Skating Club.  She finished 10th at Worlds last season and is the reigning Four Continents Silver Medalist. She placed 9th at Skate Canada and 5th at NHK Trophy.  She won bronze at Lombardia Trophy and gold at the Autumn Classic International.  She is the 2011 Four Continents Bronze Medalist, 2007 World Junior Silver Medalist and 2008 World Junior Bronze Medalist.  She is the reigning Pewter Medalist, finished 10th in 2015, is the 2014 Bronze Medalist, placed 7th in 2013, 7th in 2012, is the 2011 Bronze Medalist, 2010 Silver Medalist, finished 5th in 2009, is the 2008 Champion and 2007 Junior Champion.

Rebecca Peng: She is 17 years old and represents the Skating Club of Boston.  She is the reigning Junior Pewter Medalist, finished 6th in juniors in 2015, is the 2014 Novice Bronze Medalist and finished 7th in novice in 2013.  She won gold at New England Regionals and pewter at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.

Paige Rydberg: She is 17 years old and represents the All Year Figure Skating Club.  She placed 5th at the US International Figure Skating Classic.  She finished 10th in juniors last season, 8th in 2015, is the 2014 Novice Silver Medalist and finished 5th in intermediate in 2013.  She won pewter at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  She has the 4th best short program score from qualifying.

Livvy Shilling: She won gold at Northwest Pacific Regionals and bronze at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  She has the 3rd best short program, 6th best free skate and 3rd best total scores from qualifying.

Ashley Shin: She is 18 years old and represents the Dallas Figure Skating Club.  She finished 20th in 2015, is the 2014 Junior Bronze Medalist, finished 11th as a novice in 2013 and is the 2012 Intermediate Ladies Champion.  She won silver at Southwestern Regionals and pewter at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.

Bradie Tennell: She is 18 years old and represents the Wagon Wheel Figure Skating Club.  She placed 11th at Junior Worlds last season.  She won bronze at Tallinn Trophy.  She placed 6th last season, is the 2015 Junior Champion, 2014 Junior Pewter Medalist, 2013 Novice Bronze Medalist, finished 10th as a novice in 2012, 15th in intermediate in 2011 and 10th in juvenile in 2010.

Ashley Wagner: She is 25 years old and represents the Skating Club of Wilmington.  She is the reigning World Silver Medalist.  She won gold at Skate America and placed 6th at Cup of China.  She is the 2012 Four Continents Champion and 2007 and 2009 World Junior Bronze Medalist.  She is the reigning Bronze Medalist, 2015 Champion, 2014 Pewter Medalist, 2013 Champion, 2012 Champion, finished 6th in 2011, is the 2010 Bronze Medalist, 2009 Pewter Medalist, 2008 Bronze Medalist, 2007 Junior Bronze Medalist, 2006 Junior Pewter Medalist, finished 7th in novice in 2005 and 17th in intermediate in 2003.

Angela Wang: She is 20 years old and represents the Salt Lake Figure Skating Club.  She placed 10th last season, 15th in 2015, 15th in 2014, 9th in 2013, 8th in 2012, 7th in juniors in 2010, is the 2009 Novice Bronze Medalist, 2008 Intermediate Pewter Medalist and finished 9th in intermediate in 2007.  She won gold at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  She has the best short program, 2nd best free skate, and best total scores from qualifying.

Megan Wessenberg: She is 18 years old and represents the Skating Club of Boston.  She placed 6th at JGP Czech Republic.  She is the reigning Junior Bronze Medalist, finished 9th in juniors in 2015, 10th as a junior in 2014, 9th in novice in 2013 and 12th in juvenile in 2011.  She won silver at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  She has the 10th best short program, 10th best free skate and 10th best total scores from qualifying.

Caroline Zhang: She is 23 years old and represents the All Year Figure Skating Club.  She is the 2010 and 2012 Four Continents Bronze Medalist, the 2007 Junior World Champion and the 2008 and 2009 Junior World Silver Medalist.  She placed 17th in 2015, 19th in 2014, 11th in 2013, is the 2012 Pewter Medalist, finished 12th in 2011, 11th in 2010, is the 2009 Bronze Medalist, 2008 Pewter Medalist, 2007 Junior Silver Medalist, finished 8th in juniors in 2006, is the 2005 Novice Pewter Medalist, 2004 Intermediate Bronze Medalist and 2003 Juvenile Pewter Medalist.  She won gold at Southwest Pacific Regionals and silver at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  She has the 2nd best short program, best free skate and 2nd best total scores from qualifying.

2016 NHK Trophy Ladies Results

Short Program

Pl. Name Nation TSS
=
TES
+
PCS
+
SS TR PE CO IN Ded.
StN.
1 Anna POGORILAYA RUS 71.56 36.30 35.26 8.68 8.54 9.00 8.86 9.00 0.00 #2
2 Maria SOTSKOVA RUS 69.96 37.78 32.18 8.00 7.82 8.25 8.07 8.07 0.00 #3
3 Satoko MIYAHARA JPN 64.20 32.08 33.12 8.43 8.11 8.21 8.32 8.32 1.00 #5
4 Mirai NAGASU USA 63.49 32.42 31.07 7.82 7.54 7.75 7.86 7.86 0.00 #10
5 Wakaba HIGUCHI JPN 62.58 32.04 30.54 7.79 7.39 7.57 7.71 7.71 0.00 #9
6 Yura MATSUDA JPN 60.98 31.33 29.65 7.50 7.21 7.43 7.46 7.46 0.00 #8
7 Karen CHEN USA 58.76 28.52 30.24 7.61 7.29 7.57 7.61 7.71 0.00 #6
8 Alaine CHARTRAND CAN 58.72 29.44 29.28 7.29 7.18 7.21 7.43 7.50 0.00 #1
9 Elizabet TURSYNBAEVA KAZ 55.66 26.92 28.74 7.14 7.00 7.14 7.36 7.29 0.00 #11
10 Nicole RAJICOVA SVK 53.43 26.11 27.32 6.82 6.61 6.86 6.89 6.96 0.00 #4
11 Dabin CHOI KOR 51.06 25.54 25.52 6.50 6.29 6.36 6.39 6.36 0.00 #7

Free Skate

 Pl. Name Nation TSS
=
TES
+
PCS
+
SS TR PE CO IN Ded.
StN.
1 Anna POGORILAYA RUS 139.30 68.62 70.68 8.71 8.57 8.82 9.04 9.04 0.00 #9
2 Satoko MIYAHARA JPN 133.80 64.64 69.16 8.50 8.43 8.75 8.68 8.86 0.00 #10
3 Maria SOTSKOVA RUS 125.92 58.83 67.09 8.36 8.14 8.43 8.43 8.57 0.00 #11
4 Wakaba HIGUCHI JPN 122.81 61.62 61.19 7.82 7.39 7.61 7.64 7.79 0.00 #7
5 Karen CHEN USA 119.69 60.31 59.38 7.54 7.18 7.50 7.46 7.43 0.00 #3
6 Elizabet TURSYNBAEVA KAZ 119.45 60.80 59.65 7.57 7.25 7.46 7.54 7.46 1.00 #5
7 Yura MATSUDA JPN 117.28 57.15 60.13 7.68 7.36 7.54 7.50 7.50 0.00 #8
8 Mirai NAGASU USA 116.84 55.71 61.13 7.75 7.43 7.75 7.64 7.64 0.00 #6
9 Dabin CHOI KOR 114.57 61.93 52.64 6.64 6.36 6.68 6.68 6.54 0.00 #1
10 Nicole RAJICOVA SVK 106.27 52.23 54.04 6.89 6.46 6.82 6.82 6.79 0.00 #2
11 Alaine CHARTRAND CAN 101.50 43.53 57.97 7.36 7.18 7.04 7.36 7.29 0.00 #4

Total

FPl. Name Nation Points SP FS
1 Anna POGORILAYA
RUS
210.86 1 1
2 Satoko MIYAHARA
JPN
198.00 3 2
3 Maria SOTSKOVA
RUS
195.88 2 3
4 Wakaba HIGUCHI
JPN
185.39 5 4
5 Mirai NAGASU
USA
180.33 4 8
6 Karen CHEN
USA
178.45 7 5
7 Yura MATSUDA
JPN
178.26 6 7
8 Elizabet TURSYNBAEVA
KAZ
175.11 9 6
9 Dabin CHOI
KOR
165.63 11 9
10 Alaine CHARTRAND
CAN
160.22 8 11
11 Nicole RAJICOVA
SVK
159.70 10 10