US Nationals Senior Men’s Preview

Jeremy Abbott is coming in as the reigning Champion, but this isn’t going to be an easy event.  After skating a stellar Spy themed short program at Skate America, he had a nerve injury in his back during the free skate and struggled with his jumps.  Physical therapy got him in better shape for Trophee Eric Bompard but he hasn’t been competing at the top of his game and has been limited in the training of his quad.  He’s planning on playing it safe in Omaha and if he can land his jumps, he’s one of the best skaters in the World.  His best performances of the season often come at nationals and he might be able to pull it off again here.  

Ross Miner has a higher international score than Jeremy Abbot this season.  The reigning Four Continents bronze medalist hit his first quad jump in competition at NHK Trophy en route to a bronze medal.  He is a great skater but seems to fly under the radar despite his solid and consistent finishes and this could be his breakout year.  If he skates clean and hits the quad he could upset Abbott for the title.  

Max Aaron has been tearing up the Senior B circuit this season and posted the highest qualifying scores by a 10 point margin.  He has a quad salchow + triple toe in a free skate and another planned quad salchow that he doubled at sectionals, so he still has room to improve in his scores.  He has great jumps and has been working on adding polish to his programs as well.  He wasn’t happy with his 8th place finish last season in his senior debut and wants to prove that he belongs with the best.  His international scores were some of the highest of any US man this season, but Senior B’s can be a little inconsistent in their scoring so this will be his first opportunity this season to see how he stands up to the rest of the pack.

One of the dark horses has to be Alexander Johnson.  He finished 15th at Nationals last season (also his highest finish as a senior) but had a stunning free skate.  He set the 2nd highest qualifying score this season.  He has a very interesting free skate lay out including a triple lutz + single loop + triple flip combination, two double axels and a double axel + triple toe.  It will be interesting to see what he does under the nationals spotlight, but he seems poised to make a big jump in the standings.

Richard Dornbush battled boot problems all last season and dropped to 13th place at nationals.  He’s since solved the problem and has regained consistency on his triple axel and has been including quads.  He has a great style on the ice but hasn’t been able to completely gain back the form and confidence that won him the silver medal in 2011.  His “Triple Dornbush” can’t be missed; a triple lutz + triple toe performed with both arms overhead. 

Joshua Farris has had another outstanding Junior season, hitting the triple axel and a quad toe consistently to claim two gold medals at his JGP events and the silver at the Final.  He hasn’t been able to put together the programs to make his mark nationally, and he faces the disadvantage of having to add time and elements to his programs and has had less mileage on them then the skaters who have been competing senior all season.  His place on the Junior Worlds team is likely secure regardless of his results here, but he could make a run for the podium and make USFSA consider giving him a senior competition invite.  

Keegan Messing is always a crowd favorite at nationals.  He is a skater who knows his strengths and structures his programs to take full advantage of them.  He has a wild abandon on the ice and goes for everything in his programs and is well known for his huge jumps.  He’s always a threat as he has the technical skills and consistency to put himself in medal contention but if everyone skates clean, he doesn’t have the program components to keep up.

Adam Rippon changed coaches in the off season but has yet to see that change pay off.  He finished 4th at Cup of China and 8th at NHK Trophy behind both Dornbush and Miner.  He’s struggled with his triple axel for several seasons and his signature jump, the Rippon Lutz, has even been failing him at events.  While he was once the only skater in the world who could land it, Richard Dornbush and Gracie Gold are now including it in their programs and have put their own spin on it.  He has a big hurdle to overcome if he wants to make the World team again.

There was a lot of talk last season after Armin Mahbanoozadeh won the pewter medal at U.S. nationals but did not receive a spot on the Four Continents team.  He has been given several Senior B assignments this season and has been solid but not among the top men internationally this season.  

Stephen Carriere made big improvements last season to qualify for nationals for the first time since 2009 and finished 6th.  He could not quite match his international results at Sectionals but he has consistently scored over the 200 mark this season and should easily be able to make the top 10.

Jason Brown could not quite replicate his results from last season falling to 4th at the Junior Grand Prix Final.  He has been working on his triple axel and landed it clean for the first time at the Junior Grand Prix Final.  He’s been scoring just under the 200 point mark and will need to pull his scores up to keep pace with the top senior men, but his spot at Junior Worlds is likely secure.

My podium predictions:
Gold: Jeremy Abbott
Silver: Ross Miner
Bronze: Richard Dornbush
Pewter: Max Aaron

Bios of the competitors:
Max Aaron: He is 20 years old and represents the Broadmoor Skating Club.   He is the 2005 Juvenile Champion, 2006 Intermediate bronze medalist, finished 5th in Novice in 2007, 13th in Juniors in 2008, is the 2010 Junior bronze medalist, the 2011 Junior Champion and finished 8th in Seniors in 2012.  He won gold at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  Nationally, he has the 2nd best short program, best free skate and best total scores.

Jeremy Abbott: He is 27 and represents the Detroit Skating Club.  He placed 5th at Skate America and won silver at Trophee Eric Bompard.  He finished 9th in Juvenile in 1998, 6th in Intermediate in 2000, 6th in Novice in 2002, 7th in Juniors in 2004, is the 2005 Junior Champion, is the 2007 and 2008 pewter medalist, 2009 and 2010 Champion, 2011 pewter medalist and the reigning Champion.  Internationally, he has the 8th best short program and 10th best total scores.

William Brewster: He is 22 and represents the Detroit Skating Club.  He is the 2002 Juvenile Champion, 2003 Intermediate Champion, finished 6th in Novice in 2004, is the 2005 Novice bronze medalist, finished 14th in Juniors in 2006, 13th in Juniors in 2007, 9th in Juniors in 2008, 15th in Seniors in 2009 and 18th in 2012.  He won pewter at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.

Jason Brown: He is 18 and represents the Skokie Valley Skating Club.  He is the reigning Junior Worlds bronze medalist.  He won silver at JGP France and gold at JGP Turkey to qualify for the Junior Grand Prix Final where he finished 4th.  He is the 2007 Juvenile Champion, 2008 Intermediate Men’s silver medalist, 2009 Novice bronze medalist, 2010 Junior Champion, finished 7th in Seniors in 2011 and 9th in 2012.  Nationally, he has the 8th best short program, 3rd best free skate and 3rd best total scores.  Internationally as a junior he has the 5th best short program, 5th best free skate and 6th best total scores.

Wesley Campbell: He is 27 years old and represents the Colonial Figure Skating Club.  He finished 7th in Juvenile in 1997, is the 1999 Intermediate Champion, finished 7th in Novice in 2000 and 2001, is the 2002 Novice pewter medalist, finished 6th in Juniors in 2003, is the 2004 Junior bronze medalist, finished 14th in Seniors in 2005, 7th in 2008, 20th in 2010, 14th in 2011 and 17th in 2012.  He won gold at New England Regionals and bronze at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.
Nationally, he has the 5th best free skate and 7th best total scores.

Stephen Carriere: He is 23 and represents the Skating Club of Boston.  He is the 2007 World Junior Champion.  He finished 14th in Juvenile in 2001, 5th in Intermediate in 2002, 6th in Intermediate in 2003, is the 2004 Novice pewter medalist, finished 7th in Junior in 2005, is the 2006 Junior Champion, finished 9th in Seniors in 2007, is the 2008 bronze medalist, finished 9th in 2009 and 6th in 2012.  He won gold at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  Nationally, he has the 5th best short program, 4th best free skate and 4th best total scores.

Jonathan Cassar: He is 26 and represents the All Year Figure Skating Club.  He finished 12th in Juvenile in 2000, 5th in Intermediate in 2002, 8th in Juniors in 2006, 9th in Seniors in 2007, 16th in 2009, 12th in 2010, 11th in 2011 and 11th in 2012.  He won bronze at Southwest Pacific Regionals and silver at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  Nationally, he has the 9th best free skate and 10th best total scores.

Harrison Choate: He is 19 years old and represents the Skating Club of Boston.  He finished 4th at JGP France and won bronze at JGP Croatia.  He finished 5th in Juvenile in 2007, is the 2008 Intermediate Men’s pewter medalist, finished 6th in Novice in 2010, 8th in Juniors in 2011 and is the reigning Junior pewter medalist.  He won silver at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  Internationally as a junior he has the 7th best short program and 9th best total scores.  Nationally, he has the 9th best short program, 7th best free skate and 8th best total scores.

Richard Dornbush: He is 21 and represents the All Year Figure Skating Club.  He finished 6th at Rostelecom Cup and 5th at NHK Trophy.  He finished 11th in Juvenile in 2002, is the 2003 Juvenile Champion, finished 5th in Intermediate in 2004, 5th in Novice in 2005, 6th in Novice in 2006, 8th in Juniors in 2007, is the 2008 Junior pewter medalist, finished 11th in Seniors in 2010, is the 2011 silver medalist and finished 13th in 2012.

Joshua Farris: He is 18 and represents the Broadmoor Skating Club.  He is the reigning Junior Worlds silver medalist.  He won gold at JGP USA and gold at JGP Slovenia to qualify for the Junior Grand Prix Final where he won silver.  He is the 2006 Juvenile Champion, finished 9th in Intermediate in 2007, is the 2008 Intermediate Men’s Champion, 2009 Novice Champion, 2010 Junior silver medalist, finished 21st in Seniors in 2011 and 16th in 2012.  Internationally as a junior, he has the 2nd best short program, 3rd best free skate and 3rd best total scores.

Grant Hochstein: He is 22 and represents the Skating Club of New York.  He finished 10th in Juvenile in 2003, is the 2004 Intermediate pewter medalist, finished 8th in Novice in 2005, finished 12th in Juniors in 2007, 11th in Juniors in 2008, is the 2009 Junior pewter medalist, finished 7th in Seniors in 2010, 12th in 2011 and 12th in 2012.  He won pewter at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  Nationally, he has the 6th best short program and 9th best total scores.

Alexander Johnson: He is 22 and represents the Broadmoor Skating Club.  He finished 16th in Juvenile in 2002, 12th in Juvenile in 2003, 13th in Intermediate in 2004, 5th in Intermediate in 2005, 9th in Novice in 2006, is the 2007 Novice silver medalist, finished 7th in Juniors in 2008, is the 2009 Junior bronze medalist, finished 17th in Seniors in 2010, 16th in 2011 and 15th in 2012.  He won silver at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  Nationally, he has the 3rd best short program, 2nd best free skate and 2nd best total scores.

Armin Mahbanoozadeh: He is 21 and represents the Washington Figure Skating Club.  He placed 7th at Skate America He finished 16th in Intermediate in 2004, is the 2005 Intermediate silver medalist, finished 7th in Novice in 2006, is the 2007 Novice Champion, finished 8th in Juniors in 2008, 6th in Juniors in 2009, 8th in Seniors in 2010, 6th in 2011 and is the reigning pewter medalist.

Keegan Messing: He is 20 and represents the Alaska Association of Figure Skaters.  He placed 5th in Juvenile in 2004, 6th in Intermediate in 2005, 9th in Intermediate in 2006, is the 2007 Novice bronze medalist, finished 5th in Juniors in 2008, is the 2009 Junior silver medalist, finished 9th in Seniors in 2010, 8th in 2011 and 7th in 2012.  He won gold at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  Nationally, he has the best short program, 8th best free skate and 5th best total scores.

Ross Miner: He is 22 and represents the Skating Club of Boston.  He finished 5th at Skate Canada and won bronze at NHK Trophy.  He is the reigning Four Continents bronze medalist.  He finished 8th in Intermediate in 2005, is the 2006 Intermediate Champion, 2008 Novice silver medalist, 2009 Junior Champion, 2011 bronze medalist and reigning bronze medalist.  Internationally, he has the 6th best free skate and 8th best total scores.

Brandon Mroz: He is 22 and represents the Broadmoor Skating Club.  He placed 9th at Rostelecom Cup and NHK Trophy.  He finished 18th in Juvenile in 2002, 11th in Intermediate in 2003, 7th in Novice in 2004, is the 2006 Novice silver medalist, 2007 and 2008 Junior silver medalist, 2009 silver medalist, finished 6th in 2010, 7th in 2011 and 14th in 2012.  He won bronze at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  Nationally, he has the 4th best short program, 6th best free skate and 6th best total scores.

Douglas Razzano: He is 24 years old and represents the Coyotes Skating Club of Arizona.  He placed 9th at Skate America He is the 2003 Intermediate pewter medalist, finished 5th in Novice in 2004, is the 2005 Junior pewter medalist, finished 12th in Juniors in 2006, 5th in Juniors in 2007, 16th in Seniors in 2008, 14th in 2009, 15th in 2010, 10th in 2011 and 5th in 2012.

Sean Rabbitt: He represents the Glacier Falls Figure Skating Club.  He won silver at Southwest Pacific Regionals and pewter at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  Nationally, he has the 10th best short program score.

Adam Rippon: He is 23 and represents the Skating Club of New York.  He placed 4th at Cup of China and 8th at NHK Trophy.  He is the 2010 Four Continents  Champion and the 2008 and 2009 World Junior Champion.  He placed 7th in Juvenile in 2003, 6th in Intermediate in 2004, is the 2005 Novice silver medalist, finished 11th in Juniors in 2006, 6th in Juniors in 2007, is the 2008 Junior Champion, finished 7th in Seniors in 2009, 5th in 2010 and 2011 and is the reigning silver medalist.

Philip Warren: He is 19 years old and represents the All Year Figure Skating Club.  He finished 12th in Intermediate Men in 2008, is the 2010 Novice Men’s pewter medalist, finished 6th in Juniors in 2011 and is the reigning Junior bronze medalist.  He won gold at Southwest Pacific Regionals and bronze at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  Nationally he has the 7th best short program.