2014 US Nationals Senior Men’s Preview

With so many talented US men and only two spots in Sochi, it is going to be very difficult to make the Olympic team.  The quad is going to be important along with the triple axel and clean skates overall.  Program components could also make or break the skaters if they all go cleanly.  There are a lot of international assignments to go around for the skaters who don’t make the Olympic team with Four Continents up for grabs and some of these skaters still eligible for Junior Worlds if USFSA decides to go that route and depending on results.  This event is especially tough to call as there are no clear favorites and there are any number of combination of skaters that are qualified to go to the Olympics and would represent the US well.  Four U.S. men have international scores in the top 10 and it is a shame that we can only send two.

Adam Rippon revitalized his skating this season and came into the year looking fit and ready to compete.  He has two solid programs and his elements have largely returned.  The triple axel is still a bit of a trouble spot for him and he has been experimenting with different quad jumps in his free skate to different degrees of success.  The triple Rippon lutz has returned in full force and his free skate is choreographically brilliant.

Jason Brown had a solid debut senior season winning his first Grand Prix medal.  His triple axel is still a bit of a work in progress and he doesn’t have a quad but the rest of his jumps are solid and his program components keep him ahead of the pack.  Without the quad, he has a greater chance of completing a clean program and keeping himself in the podium mix.  His Riverdance free skate is high energy and a real crowd pleaser and if skated well should bring the house down in Boston.

Max Aaron is the reigning national champion but has had a bit of a struggle in his Grand Prix debut season.  After winning the bronze medal at his first event, he slipped to 7th place at NHK Trophy.  He’s completely reworked his free skate including the music selections and will be debuting it in Boston.  He has an extremely technically challenging free skate with three quads planned and a difficult triple + triple combination in the back half.  If he hits it, he should have a monster score but going clean could prove to be a challenge.

Jeremy Abbott returned to his Exogenesis free skate that took him to the US title in 2012.  He hit the quad in his short program in international competition for the first time in several years but wasn’t able to put together two clean programs.  If he hits all the jumps his free skate is breathtaking but he tends to let small mistakes get to him and the program can unravel.

Stephen Carriere had a great international outing at the U.S. International Classic where he won the silver medal, but he did not fare as well at sectionals, where he placed 3rd nearly 15 points behind his earlier outing.  He significantly changed his planned program components, omitting the 2nd quad, the triple axel in the bonus and a difficult triple + triple combination which he’ll need to stay on pace with the top men in the field here.

Richard Dornbush finished 5th at both of his Grand Prix assignments this season and has been more consistent than in years past.  He has a great style on the ice and is a great showman but his triple axel has been a source of problems in recent years that have kept him off the podium.

Joshua Farris is the reigning Junior World Champion but didn’t have the debut senior season he was hoping for.  He had to withdraw from one assignment due to injury and seemed to be getting a slow start to getting his feet wet competing at the senior level.  He has the quads and the artistry to be among the top US men and after his pewter medal at nationals last season should be in the running for Sochi but his confidence seemed to take a hit and the mental aspect might be what keeps him from the Olympic team this season.

Ross Miner had boot problems and an ankle injury that forced him to withdraw from one of his Grand Prix events this season and he had disappointing scores in the other.  He has changed back to his old boots and feels more comfortable and says the injury is behind him.  His Boston Strong free skate should play very well in front of the Boston audience and he always skates better toward the end of the season so he shouldn’t be counted out of the mix just yet.

 

My podium predictions:

Gold: Adam Rippon

Silver: Max Aaron

Bronze: Jason Brown

Pewter: Jeremy Abbott

 

Bios of the competitors:

Max Aaron: He is 21 years old and represents the Broadmoor Skating Club.   He placed 7th at Worlds and 4th at Four Continents last season.  He won bronze at Skate America and placed 7th at NHK Trophy.  He is the reigning Champion, finished 8th in seniors in 2012, is the 2011 Junior Champion, 2010 Junior Bronze Medalist, finished 13th in juniors in 2008, 5th in novice in 2007, is the 2006 Intermediate Bronze Medalist and the 2005 Juvenile Champion.  Internationally, he has the 7th best free skate and 10th best total scores.

Jeremy Abbott: He is 28 and represents the Detroit Skating Club.  He placed 6th at Skate Canada and won bronze at NHK Trophy.  He is the reigning Bronze Medalist, 2012 Champion, 2011 Pewter Medalist, 2010 Champion, 2009 Champion, 2008 Pewter Medalist, 2007 Pewter Medalist, 2005 Junior Champion, finished 7th in juniors in 2004, 6th in novice in 2002, 6th in intermediate in 2000, and 9th in juvenile in 1998.  Internationally he has the 9th best free skate.

Jason Brown: He is 19 and represents the Skokie Valley Skating Club.  He is the reigning Junior Worlds Silver Medalist and the 2012 Junior Worlds Bronze Medalist.  He placed 5th at Skate America and won bronze at Trophee Eric Bompard.  He finished 8th last season, 9th in 2012, 7th in 2011, is the 2010 Junior Champion, 2009 Novice Bronze Medalist, 2008 Intermediate Silver Medalist and 2007 Juvenile Champion.  Internationally, he has the 9th best short program, 10th best free skate and 7th best total scores.

Stephen Carriere: He is 24 and represents the Skating Club of Boston.  He is the 2007 World Junior Champion.  He placed 10th last season, 6th in 2012, 9th in 2009, is the 2008 Bronze Medalist, finished 9th in 2007, is the 2006 Junior Champion, finished 7th in juniors in 2005, is the 2004 Novice Pewter Medalist, finished 6th in intermediate in 2003, 5th in intermediate in 2002 and finished 14th in juvenile in 2001.  He won bronze at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  He has the 3rd best short program, 2nd best free skate and 3rd best total scores from qualifying.

Timothy Dolensky: He is 21 and represents the Atlanta Figure Skating Club.  He is the 2012 Junior Silver Medalist, 2010 Novice Bronze Medalist, finished 15th in intermediate in 2007, 15th in intermediate in 2006 and 9th in juvenile in 2005.  He won gold at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  He has the 2nd best free skate, 3rd best free skate and best total score from qualifying.

Richard Dornbush: He is 22 and represents the All Year Figure Skating Club.  He placed 5th at Four Continents last season.  He finished 5th at Cup of China and 5th at Rostelecom Cup.  He placed 6th last season, 13th in 2012, is the 2011 Silver Medalist, finished 11th in 2010, is the 2008 Junior Pewter Medalist, finished 8th in juniors in 2007, 6th in novice in 2006, 5th in novice in 2005, 5th in intermediate in 2004, and is the 2003 Juvenile Champion.

Scott Dyer: He is 22 and represents the All Year Figure Skating Club.  He placed 10th in 2012, 13th in 2011, is the 2010 Junior Pewter Medalist, the 2007 Novice Pewter Medalist and the 2006 Novice Pewter Medalist.  He won bronze at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  He has the 9th best short program score from qualifying.

Joshua Farris: He is 19 and represents the Broadmoor Skating Club.  He is the reigning World Junior Champion and the 2012 Junior Worlds Silver Medalist.  He placed 5th at Skate Canada.  He is the reigning Pewter Medalist, finished 16th in 2012, 21st in 2011, is the 2010 Junior Silver Medalist, 2009 Novice Champion, 2008 Intermediate Champion, finished 9th in intermediate in 2007 and is the 2006 Juvenile Champion.

Grant Hochstein: He is 23 and represents the Skating Club of New York.  He finished 15th last season, 12th in 2012, 12th in 2011, 7th in 2010, is the 2009 Junior Pewter Medalist, finished 11th in junior in 2008, 12th in juniors in 2007, 8th in novice in 2005, is the 2004 Intermediate Pewter Medalist, and finished 10th in juvenile in 2003.  He won silver at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  He has the 4th best short program, best free skate and 2nd best total scores from qualifying.

Lukas Kaugars: He is 18 years old and represents the Broadmoor Skating Club.  He placed 11th in juniors last season, 5th in juniors in 2012, 5th in novice in 2011, 8th in novice in 2010 and 6th in intermediate in 2009.  He won silver at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  He has the 5th best short program and 9th best total scores from qualifying.

Keegan Messing: He is 21 and represents the Alaska Association of Figure Skaters.  He finished 16th last season, 7th in 2012, 8th in 2011, 9th in 2010, is the 2009 Junior Silver Medalist, finished 5th in juniors in 2008, is the 2007 Novice Bronze Medalist, finished 9th in intermediate in 2006, 6th in intermediate in 2005, and 5th in juvenile in 2004.  He won pewter at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  He has the 8th best free skate and 8th best total scores from qualifying.

Ross Miner: He is 23 and represents the Skating Club of Boston.  He placed 14th at Worlds and 9th at Four Continents.  He finished 9th at Skate Canada.  He is the 2012 Four Continents bronze medalist.  He is the reigning Silver Medalist, 2012 Bronze Medalist, 2011 Bronze Medalist, 2009 Junior Champion, 2008 Novice Silver Medalist, 2006 Intermediate Champion and finished 8th in intermediate in 2005.

Brandon Mroz: He is 23 and represents the Broadmoor Skating Club.  He placed 9th last season, 14th in 2012, 7th in 2011, 6th in 2010, is the 2009 Silver Medalist, 2008 Junior Silver Medalist, 2007 Junior Silver Medalist, 2006 Novice Silver Medalist, finished 7th in novice in 2004, 11th in intermediate in 2003, and 18th in juvenile in 2002.  He won gold at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  He has the best short program, 4th best free skate and 4th best total scores from qualifying.

Robert Przepioski: He won pewter at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.

Daniel Raad: He won pewter at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  He has the 7th best short program, 9th best free skate and 10th best total scores from qualifying.

Sean Rabbitt: He represents the Glacier Falls Figure Skating Club.  He finished 19th last season.  He won silver at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  He has the 10th best short program, 5th best free skate and 6th best total scores from qualifying.

Douglas Razzano: He is 25 years old and represents the Coyotes Skating Club of Arizona.  He placed 12th last season, 5th in 2012, 10th in 2011, 15th in 2010, 14th in 2009, 16th in 2008, 5th in juniors in 2007, 12th in juniors in 2006, is the 2005 Junior Pewter Medalist, finished 5th in novice in 2004 and is the 2003 Intermediate Pewter Medalist.  He won gold at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  He has the 6th best short program, 6th best free skate and 5th best total scores from qualifying.

Adam Rippon: He is 24 and represents the Skating Club of New York.  He won silver at Skate America and placed 4th at NHK Trophy.  He is the 2010 Four Continents Champion and the 2008 and 2009 World Junior Champion.  He placed 5th last season, is the 2012 Silver Medalist, finished 5th in 2011, 5th in 2010, 7th in 2009, is the 2008 Junior Champion, finished 6th in juniors in 2007, 11th in juniors in 2006, is the 2005 Novice Silver Medalist, finished 6th in intermediate in 2004 and 7th in juvenile in 2003.  Internationally, he has the 10th best short program, 8th best free skate and 8th best total scores.

Philip Warren: He is 20 years old and represents the All Year Figure Skating Club.  He placed 18th last season, is the 2012 Junior Bronze Medalist, finished 6th in juniors in 2011, is the 2010 Novice Pewter Medalist, and finished 12th in intermediate in 2008.  He has the 8th best short program, 7th best free skate and 7th best total scores from qualifying.