US Nationals Senior Dance Preview

Davis and White are shoo-ins for another national title after going undefeated for nearly two seasons.  They have won a record number of Grand Prix Finals and currently hold the world record for short dance, free dance and total scores.  Their Scheherazade free dance is full of innovative lifts, their signature speed and precise edges and lots of nuances.  This is their final tune up in their quest for Olympic gold and I don’t expect them to put out any less than 110% in their performances.

After a bit of a struggle last season where they lost their spot as the number 2 US team, the Shibutanis seem to be back with a vengeance.  They took home bronze from both of their Grand Prix assignments and have the 2nd best international scores of any US team.  They started this season with an injury but haven’t had any problems since.  Their Michael Buble short dance is good and shows off their sparkling personalities on the ice but their Michael Jackson free dance has had a few trouble spots and should be cleaned up here.

Hubbell and Donohue had a compressed international season, winning a gold medal at Nebelhorn and the bronze at Skate Canada.  They didn’t have a lot of time to make adjustments to their programs but improved their scores at each event.  They’ve had lots of time to tweak their programs since then and should have improved speed, edges and levels at nationals.  Their short dance is their big strength this season and internationally they proved they’re ready to regain their spot as the 3rd US team and earn their tickets to Sochi.

Chock and Bates seemed to be on the rise last season, taking the silver medal at nationals and winning the bronze at Four Continents.  They won bronze at both of their Grand Prix assignments this season but their scores were not as good as Hubbell and Donohue’s.  Their free dance is very strong their season but their short dance doesn’t rank in the top 10 internationally.  If they can improve their short dance, they could reclaim their spot on the podium and a trip to Sochi.

Kriengkrairut and Giuletti-Schmitt have long been known for their innovative programs and are one of the favorite teams at nationals but they haven’t been able to put all the pieces together and crack the top 3.  They moved to Igor Shpilband this season in hopes of improving their technical elements and making the Olympic team.  While their international scores have been good, they haven’t been quite good enough to bump them into the upper echelon just yet and they’ll need to pull out all of the stops.

Aldridge and Eaton are making their senior national debut this season after winning the Lake Placid Ice Dance Championships and finishing 5th at Cup of China.  They have two Junior Worlds medals to their credit and have great programs.  While they’re not ready to challenge for a spot on the Olympic team this season, they’re likely to earn a spot at Four Continents and set themselves up for 2018.

 

My podium predictions:

Gold: Davis/White

Silver: Shibutani/Shibutani

Bronze: Hubbell/Donohue

Pewter: Chock/Bates

 

Bios of the competitors:

Aldridge/Eaton: She is 19 and he is 21.  They represent the Detroit Skating Club.  They are the reigning World Junior Bronze Medalists.  They placed 5th at Cup of China.  They are the reigning and 2012 World Junior Bronze Medalists.  They are the reigning Junior Champions, 2012 Junior Champions, finished 5th in juniors in 2011 and are the 2010 Novice Champions.  They won gold at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.   They have the best short dance, free dance and total scores from qualifying.

Aronow/Brubaker: She represents the Arctic Figure Skating Club and he represents the All Year Figure Skating Club.  They finished 8th last season.  They won gold at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 5th best short dance, 5th best free dance and 5th best total scores from qualifying.

Bynum/Deveikis: She represents the All Year Figure Skating Club and he represents the Ann Arbor Figure Skating Club.  They won bronze at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.

Cannuscio/Bramante: She is 23 and represents the University of Delaware Figure Skating Club.  He represents the Skating Club of Boston.  They finished 9th last season.  They won silver at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 3rd best short dance, 6th best free dance and 4th best total scores from qualifying.

Cannuscio/McManus: She is 21 and represents the University of Delaware Figure Skating Club.  He is 23 and represents the Skating Club of Boston.  They finished 6th last season, 6th in 2012, are the 2011 Junior Bronze Medalists, finished 7th in juniors in 2010 and 10th in juniors in 2009.

Chock/Bates: She is 21 and represents the All Year Figure Skating Club.  He is 24 and represents the Ann Arbor Figure Skating Club.  They finished 7th at Worlds and are the reigning Four Continents Bronze Medalists.  They won bronze at Cup of China and Rostelecom Cup.  They are the reigning Silver Medalists and finished 5th in 2012. Internationally they have the 8th best free dance and 9th best total scores.

Davis/White: She is 27 and represents the Arctic Figure Skating Club.  He is 26 and represents the Detroit Skating Club.  They are the reigning World Champions and Four Continents Champions.  They won gold at Skate America and gold at NHK Trophy to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where they won gold.  They are the 2010 Olympic silver medalists, 2010 and 2012 World silver medalists, 2009 and 2012 Four Continents Champions, 2008 Four Continents silver medalists and 2006 World Junior bronze medalists.  They are the reigning Champions, 2012 Champions, 2011 Champions, 2010 Champions, 2009 Champions, 2008 Silver Medalists, 2007 Bronze Medaists, 2006 Junior Champions, 2004 Junior Silver Medalists, finished 7th in juniors in 2003, 2002 Novice Silver Medalists, finished 6th in novice in 2001, finished 6th in novice in 2000, are the 1999 Intermediate Champions and 1998 Juvenile Silver Medalists.  Internationally they have the best short dance, free dance and total scores.

Gamelin/Gamelin: They are 20 and represent the Skating Club of New York.  They finished 11th last season, 12th in juniors in 2012, 7th in juniors in 2011, 5th in novice in 2010, are the 2009 Intermediate Champions, 2008 Juvenile Bronze Medalists and finished 9th in juvenile in 2007.  They won bronze at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 9th best short dance, 3rd best free dance and 6th best total scores from qualifying.

Heritage/Fast: She is 19 and he is 22.  They represent the University Ice Skating Club of San Jose.  They finished 7th in juniors last season, 5th in juniors in 2012, 8th in juniors in 2011, 9th in novice in 2010, 8th in intermediate in 2009 and are the 2008 Juvenile Champions.  They won silver at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 7th best short dance, 9th best free dance and 9th best total scores from qualifying.

Hoptman/Filchenkov: She is 24 and he is 27 and they represent the IceWorks Skating Club.  They placed 10th last season, 11th in 2012 and 10th in 2011.  They won gold at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 2nd best short dance, 4th best free dance and 3rd best total scores from qualifying.

Hubbell/Donohue: She is 22 and he is 23 and they represent the Detroit Skating Club.  They placed 4th at Skate America and won bronze at Skate Canada.  They are the reigning Pewter Medalists and 2012 Bronze Medalists.  Internationally they have the 9th best short dance and 10th best total scores.

Kriengkrairut/Giuletti-Schmitt: She is 25 and represents the All Year Figure Skating Club.  He is 28 and represents the Ann Arbor Figure Skating Club.  They finished 5th last season, are the 2012 Pewter Medalists, finished 5th in 2011, 8th in 2010, 8th in 2009, 9th in 2008 and are the 2007 Junior Bronze Medalists.

Nardozzi/Traxler: They represent the Stars Figure Skating Club of Dallas.  They placed 12th last season.  They won bronze at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 8th best short dance, 7th best free dance and 7th best total scores from qualifying.

Olson/Lorello: She is 21 and represents the Detroit Figure Skating Club.  He represents the Detroit Skating Club.  They won silver at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 4th best short dance, 2nd best free dance and 2nd best total scores from qualifying.

Ponomaryova/Altukhov: She represents the Skokie Valley Skating Club and he represents the Escondido Figure Skating Club.  They placed 14th last season.  They won pewter at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 10th best short dance, 10th best free dance and 10th best total scores from qualifying.

Reynolds/Reynolds: They represent the IceWorks Skating Club.  They won pewter at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  They have the 6th best short dance, 8th best free dance and 8th best total scores from qualifying.

Shibutani/Shibutani: She is 19 and represents the Skating Club of New York.  He is 22 and represents the Arctic Figure Skating Club.  They placed 8th at Worlds and 4th at Four Continents.  They won bronze at Skate America and NHK Trophy.  They are the reigning Bronze Medalists, 2012 Silver Medalists, 2011 Silver Medalists, 2010 Junior Champions, 2009 Junior Silver Medalists, 2008 Junior Pewter Medalists, 2007 Novice Champions, 2006 Intermediate Champions and 2005 Juvenile Silver Medalists.  Internationally, they have the 8th best short dance, 9th best free dance and 8th best total scores.