Team USA’s best opened 2016 in style at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Minnesota at the midway mark before the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
This year’s event will be without defending champion and former Olympic gold medalist Jason Brown, who continues to recover from a back strain. But Max Aaron and Adam Rippon will headline an exciting event on the men's side.
Gracie Gold, Ashley Wagner and Polina Edmunds—all of whom competed at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia—are the top-tier talent to keep an eye out for on the women’s side.
Here is a look at Saturday's results:
|US Figure Skating Championships 2016 — Saturday Results|
|Intermediate Dance – American Waltz and Fox Trot||Competitiors||Total Score|
|First||Elizabeth Tkachenko, Alexei Kiliakov||22.69|
|Second||Isabella Amoia, Cory Fraiman||21.43|
|Third||Isabel Blahunka, Will Shawver||19.21|
|Intermediate Dance – Fox Trot||Competitiors||Score|
|First||Elizabeth Tkachenko, Alexei Kiliakov||24.86|
|Second||Isabella Amoia, Cory Fraiman||22.00|
|Third||Isabel Blahunka, Will Shawver||21.84|
|Intermediate Ladies – Short Program||Competitiors||Score|
|Intermediate Men – Short Program||Competitiors||Score|
|Intermediate Pairs – Short Program||Competitiors||Score|
|First||Jasmine Fendi, Joshua Fendi||36.59|
|Second||Eliana Secunda, Blake Eisenach||33.17|
|Third||Berit Cummings, Jabe Roberts||33.14|
|Juvenile Boys – Free Skate||Competitiors||Score|
|Juvenile Dance – Hickory Hodown||Competitiors||Score|
|First||Layla Karnes, Jeffrey Chen||25.82|
|Second||Claire Cain, Andrei Davydov||25.16|
|Third||Maria Soldatova, Faddey Soldatov||24.96|
|Juvenile Dance – Ten Fox||Competitiors||Score|
|First||Layla Karnes, Jeffrey Chen||25.61|
|Second||Maria Soldatova, Faddey Soldatov||25.19|
|Third||Claire Cain, Andrei Davydov||20.69|
|Juvenile Girls – Free Skate||Competitiors||Score|
And here is a look at the rest of the event's schedule:
Elizabeth Tkachenko, 9, and Alexei Kiliakov Jr., 10, each followed up their gold medal performances from a year ago with another clean sweep in the intermediate dance in the juvenile category Saturday. And the Fendi twins, Joshua and Jasmine, continued their march among the intermediate pairs.
In the juveniles, Ilia Malinin won the boys' free skate, while Layla Karnes and Jeffrey Chen won the Hickory Hoedown and Ten-Fox, and Stephanie Ciarochi won the girls' free skate.
U.S. Figure Skating congratulated the group of winners:
The marquee events will take place next weekend, with Gold, Aaron, Evan Bates and Madison Chock set to hit the rink. Perhaps the most enticing event will pit Wagner against Gold next Saturday.
"Obviously, that battle is always interesting. They're both seasoned competitors now and they're always pushing each other to get better," gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi said about the event, per Chris Hewitt of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
This early-year event will be pivotal, as it's the final qualifying competition before Team USA names its official team for the junior championships and Four Continents Figure Skating Championships. The Americans will also send three women, three men, two pairs teams and three ice-dance teams to the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in March in Boston based on this week's results.