U.S. Nationals Novice Ladies Preview

This is shaping up to be an extremely competitive event with the Intermediate gold, silver, bronze and  pewter medalists from last year all competing.  Five of the girls have cracked the 114 point mark during the qualifying season and it’s anybody’s game for who will make the podium.

Morgan Flood improved from her regional performance to take home the gold from Midwestern Sectionals.  Her weakness seems to be her short program as she had to come from behind in both events but she still has the best total score of any novice lady this season on the strength of her free skate.  She only has a triple toe and a triple salchow which seems to be what’s holding her back in her short program.  She doesn’t attempt a lutz and only one double flip in her free skate but has smartly structured her program.  All of her combos in the free skate are in the bonus including a triple toe + double loop + double loop combo that’s worth 8.47 points.  Compared to the other ladies she doesn’t have the same technical content but uses the system to her advantage and is more likely to skate clean.


Ashley Shin beat Morgan Flood at Southwestern Regionals but dropped to third in her sectional event.  However, she has been very consistent pulling nearly identical scores in both segments as well as the total score.  If she can keep up this consistency, she can capitalize on any errors that others make.  She has a triple lutz and triple toe in her free skate and a triple flip in her short program but her programs might be a bit ambitious as she also pops jumps in her free skate.


Amy Lin won two golds in qualifying to earn her ticket to Omaha.  Her total score between events was consistent but her segment scores varied.  She’s going for a triple toe, triple loop and triple salchow in her programs.  She’ll need to put out her strongest performances in both portions of the events if she wants to challenge for gold.


Tyler Pierce struggled a bit in her sectional event, finishing 9 points below her regional score.  However, her regional score is the 2nd best score posted by a novice lady this season showing she has the goods to put up a large score and win the gold here.  She has a big combination in her free skate (triple salchow + double toe + double loop) worth 8.03 points.  She’ll also be attempting triple loops, triple toes and triple lutzes. 


Bradie Tennell is the only skater returning to the novice level this year.  Her short program is her strength and she found herself sitting in 1st after the short at both events.  She has tended to struggle in the free but has been able to hang on to the podium.  She has a triple lutz, salchow and toe in her programs.  If she can skate a clean free skate, she has a much better change of hanging on to the podium.


It’s going to be a tough event, but I give the edge to Morgan Flood as she was the only one of the top ladies to improve her scores from regionals to sectionals and is most likely to skate clean with less variety of triples in her free skate.  


My podium predictions:

Gold: Morgan Flood
Silver: Tyler Pierce
Bronze: Ashley Shin
Pewter: Amy Lin

Bios of the competitors:
Emily Mei-Lin Chan: She represents the Memorial Figure Skating Club of Houston.  She won bronze at Southwestern Regionals and pewter at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  She has the 4th best free skate and 6th best total scores from qualifying.
 
Sarah Feng: She is 12 years old and represents the Peninsula Skating Club.  She finished 8th in Intermediate Ladies in 2012.  She won silver at Central Pacific Regionals and pewter at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  She has the 7th best short program and 9th best total scores from qualifying.  
 
Morgan Flood: She is 13 years old and represents the Dallas Figure Skating Club.  She is the 2011 Juvenile Girls Pewter Medalist and finished 7th in Intermediate Ladies in 2012.  She won silver at Southwestern Regionals and gold at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  She has the 6th best short program, best free skate and best total scores from qualifying.
 
Amy Lin: She represents the Peninsula Skating Club.  She won gold at Central Pacific Regionals and gold at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  She has the 5th best short program, 2nd best free skate and 4th best total scores from qualifying.
 

Brynne McIsaac: She is 13 years old and represents the Washington Figure Skating Club.  She finished 11th in Juvenile Girls in 2010.  She won pewter at South Atlantic Sectionals and gold at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  


Elizabeth Nguyen: She is 13 years old and represents the All Year Figure Skating Club.  She is the reigning Intermediate Silver Medalist and finished 17th in Juvenile Girls in 2011.  She won silver at Southwest Pacific Regionals and silver at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  She has the 2nd best short program, and 7th best total scores from qualifying.

Rebecca Peng: She represents the Skating Club of Boston.  She won pewter at New England Regionals and bronze at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  
 
Tyler Pierce: She is 14 years old and represents the All Year Figure Skating Club.  She is the reigning Intermediate Bronze Medalist.  She won gold at Southwest Pacific Regionals and bronze at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  She has the 3rd best short program, 5th best free skate and 2nd best total scores from qualifying.

Dalia Rivkin: She is 13 years old and represents the North Jersey Figure Skating Club.  She is the reigning Intermediate Ladies Pewter Medalist and 2011 Juvenile Girls Champion.  She won gold at North Atlantic Regionals and silver at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  She has the best short program, best free skate and best total scores from qualifying.
 
Ashley Shin: She is 14 years old and represents the Dallas Figure Skating Club.  She is the reigning Intermediate Ladies Champion.  She won gold at Southwestern Regionals and bronze at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  She has the 4th best short program, 6th best free skate and 5th best total scores from qualifying.
 
Bradie Tennell: She is 14 years old and represents the Wagon Wheel Figure Skating Club.  She finished 10th in Juvenile Girls in 2010, 15th in Intermediate Ladies in 2011 and 10th in Novice Ladies in 2012.  She won gold at Upper Great Lakes Regionals and silver at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  She has the best short program, 7th best free skate and 3rd best total score from qualifying.

Megan Wessenberg: She is 13 years old and represents the Skating Club of Boston.  She finished 12th in Juvenile Girls in 2011.  She won gold at New England Regionals and pewter at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  She has the 10th best free skate and 10th best total scores from qualifying.