US Nationals Junior Men’s Preview

Nathan Chen is back to defend his title and if he is successful, it will be his 4th consecutive national title.  He was finally old enough to compete on the Junior Grand Prix this season and set the pace in Austria with a gold medal.  He landed a triple axel there and has the 2nd highest score of the season for junior men by only a fraction of a point despite the fact that he doesn’t have a quad.  His international season was derailed by a growth injury that saw him withdraw from his second event.  Unfortunately, this is a long term injury that will limit his training time and effects his ability to perform a full jump repertoire.  He didn’t attempt a triple axel or a triple lutz at sectionals but has planned his programs to make up for that deficit.  He has a triple toe + triple toe and a triple flip planned in the bonus section of his short program and received all level 4s on his spins and steps in the free skate.

Vincent Zhou narrowly defeated Nathan Chen at sectionals and has done so at club competitions earlier this season.  He is the reigning Novice Champion and could pull the upset here.  He saw a slight decrease in his score from regionals to sectionals but that can be attributed to not receiving credit for a spin in his short program at sectionals.  He has some of the most difficult content planned including a triple lutz + triple toe and a triple flip in the bonus section of his short program and a triple flip + double toe + double loop combination as well as a triple lutz + triple toe planned at the end of his free skate.  He’s got the whole package with Level 4s on all his spins and steps at sectionals.  

Jordan Moeller stood on the novice podium just behind Nathan Chen in 2011 but failed to qualify to nationals as a junior last season.  He took home gold from both of his qualifying events and is a real medal threat here.  He has a triple lutz + triple toe planned in his short program along with a double axel in the bonus.  He also has a smart layout in his free skate with a triple flip + double toe + double loop and a double axel + double toe planned in the bonus.  He also received Level 4s on his spins.

Shotaro Omori did not qualify for nationals last season but was awarded two JGP events this season.  He has a triple lutz + triple toe in his repertoire and has three triple axels planned in his programs.  This gives him a huge technical advantage if he hits them as most of the men in this field do not have a triple axel planned at all.  However, he missed all three attempts at sectionals which greatly hurt his point total.  

Also in the hunt are Nix Phengsy, who finished ahead of Omori at sectionals, and Brian Krentz.  Jay Yostanto also has a triple axel but struggled with his triple lutz at sectionals which cost him valuable points.

There are three spots for the men for junior worlds up for grabs at nationals.  Unless they qualify for Worlds, two of those spots will likely go to Joshua Farris and Jason Brown who are competing as seniors.  Harrison Choate won a medal on the JGP this season and is also competing as a senior at nationals and is also in contention for the Junior Worlds team.  Vincent Zhou is not old enough to compete internationally but all of the other men will be looking for the top spot at the podium if they want a chance to make the team.

My podium predictions:
Gold: Nathan Chen
Silver: Vincent Zhou
Bronze: Jordan Moeller
Pewter: Shotaro Omori

Bios of the competitors:
Nathan Chen: He is 13 years old and represents the Salt Lake Figure Skating Club.  He is the reigning Junior Champion.  He won gold at JGP Austria.  He placed 10th in Juvenile in 2007, is the 2008 Juvenile Boys bronze medalist, 2009 Intermediate Men’s silver medalist and 2010 and 2011 Novice Men’s Champion.  He won silver at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  Internationally, he has the best short program, 2nd best free skate and 2nd best total score.  Nationally, he has the 2nd best short program, 2nd best free skate and 2nd best total score.

Brian Krentz: He is 18 years old and represents the Skokie Valley Skating Club.  He placed 6th in Novice Men in 2012.  He won silver at Upper Great Lakes Regionals and bronze at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  He has the 10th best short program, 6th best free skate and 7th best total score nationally.    

Lukas Kaugars: He is 17 years old and represents the Broadmoor Skating Club.  He placed 20th at JGP Slovenia.  He finished 6th in Intermediate Men in 2009, 8th in Novice Men in 2010, 5th in Novice Men in 2011 and 5th in Junior Men in 2012.  He won silver at Southwestern Regionals and pewter at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  He has the 8th best short program and 10th best total scores nationally.

Jimmy Ma: He is 17 years old and represents the Skating Club of New York.  He placed 14th in Intermediate Men in 2010 and 5th in Novice Men in 2012.  He won gold at North Atlantic Regionals and silver at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  He has the 9th best free skate and 9th best total scores nationally.

Marcus Mimidis: He represents the Skating Club of Wilmington.  He placed 11th in Novice Men in 2011 and 19th in Intermediate Men in 2009.  He won silver at South Atlantic Regionals and pewter at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.

Jordan Moeller: He is 17 year old and represents the Northern Ice Skating Club.  He is the 2011 Novice Silver Medalist and 2010 Intermediate Champion.  He finished 8th in Juvenile Boys in 2008 and 13th in Juvenile Boys in 2007.  He won gold at Upper Great Lakes Regionals and gold at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  He has the best short program, 3rd best free skate and 3rd best total scores nationally. 

Shotaro Omori: He is 17 years old and represents the Los Angeles Figure Skating Club.  He placed 4th at JGP Germany and JGP Turkey.  He is the 2009 Juvenile Boys Bronze Medalist.  He placed 9th in Junior Men in 2011, 9th in Novice Men in 2010 and 5th in Juvenile Boys in 2008.  He won pewter at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  He has the 4th best short program score, 5th best free skate and 5th best total scores nationally.

Nix Phengsy: He is 17 years old and represents the All Year Figure Skating Club.  He is the 2011 Novice Bronze Medalist and 2010 Intermediate Silver Medalist.  He finished 16th in Juvenile Boys in 2008.  He won silver at Southwest Pacific Regionals and bronze at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  He has the 6th best short program, 4th best free skate and 4th best total scores nationally.

James Schetelich: He is 16 years old and represents the Skating Club of New York.  He is the reigning Novice Men’s Silver Medalist.  He placed 18th in Intermediate Men in 2010 and is the 2009 Juvenile Boys pewter medalist.  He won bronze at North Atlantic Regionals and bronze at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals. 

Troy Tomasello: He is 18 years old and represents the Strongsville Skating Club.  He finished 19th in Intermediate Men in 2008, 12th in Novice Men in 2010, 8th in Novice Men in 2011 and 8th in Junior Men in 2012.  He won silver at Eastern Great Lakes Regionals and silver at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  He has the 5th best short program, 7th best free skate and 6th best total scores nationally.

Jay Yostanto: He is 18 years old and represents the Skating Club of New York.  He finished 6th at JGP Germany and JGP Austria.  He is the 2008 Intermediate Men’s bronze medalist, 2009 Novice Men’s pewter medalist and finished 7th in Junior Men’s in 2012.  He won gold at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.

Vincent Zhou: He is 12 years old and represents the All Year Figure Skating Club.  He is the reigning Novice Champion.  He placed 5th in Juvenile Boys in 2010 and is the 2011 Intermediate Men’s Champion.  He won gold at Southwest Pacific Regionals and gold at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  He has the 3rd best short program, best free skate and best total scores nationally.