Gliding through the National Championships

Sarah Miner, Staff Writer

Over the course of the past week, the US Figure Skating National Championships were held in San Jose, California. Nationals are held every year in order to declare the best athletes in the country. Because it is an Olympic year, Nationals is also a big part of deciding which skaters compete in the Olympics. The competitors start with their short program and then end the competition with their free program. The scores are made up of two different parts: the technical, which involves the required jumps and spins and how well they executed the elements, and the component scores, which displays the artistic side of the program.

This season, the results were very surprising and didn’t go as planned. For the ladies’ event, Bradie Tennell stole the show with a big overall score of 219.51, becoming the 2018 Ladies’ National Champion. Tennell is relatively new to the spotlight after receiving a bronze medal during the international competition, Skate America. Mirai Nagasu, a veteran in the sport, won the silver after struggling for many years to find consistency. Nagasu won bronze at the 2014 National Championship; however, she was not selected for the Olympic team. Nagasu redeemed herself this season and earned a spot. Ashley Wagner, a crowd favorite, however. will not be competing in Pyeongchang. After missing the podium during the 2014 Olympic year and still being sent over Nagasu, Wagner missed the podium again this season. She came in fourth with a score of 196.19, just barely behind bronze medalist, Karen Chen with 198.59. Wagner was not very happy with her scores and believed she deserved better scores than what she received. Many are upset that Wagner will not be competing at the competition in Pyeongchang. Tennell, Nagasu, and Chen will be representing the United States in the Ladies’ Figure Skating event.  

Although the women’s event was very close and the ladies all skated clean programs, the men’s competition was the most eventful of Nationals. The well-known competitors crashed under the pressure, and other skaters skated the program of their life. The Men’s Champion title went to Nathan Chen, who landed five quads in his free program. He took a 40.72 point victory over the silver medalist, Ross Miner. This was Miner’s 7th Senior Nationals and many believed he was not an Olympic contender. Miner made the jump from sixth place after the short and with an incredible free program took the silver medal home. Unfortunately for Miner, the Olympic committee decided to take fourth place finisher, Adam Rippon, over the silver medalist. Another Olympic hopeful, Jason Brown, has been doing very well the past few seasons, so he was expected to go Pyeongchang this year. He took some falls and missed his jumps, landing him sixth place overall and making him the first alternate on the US Olympic Team. Representing team USA will be Chen, silver medalist, Zhou, and Rippon.

These six skaters and four pairs of skaters will be representing America in the Olympics next month. America will be cheering them on as they represent our country. Each athlete has worked years in order to make the team and will continue to train hard until February.