US Figure Skating Championships 2018: Thursday Results and Updated Schedule

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJanuary 4, 2018

Christina Carreira and Anthony Ponomarenko of U.S perform during the Junior Ice Dance Free Dance at the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships 2017 in Taipei, Taiwan, Saturday, March 18, 2017. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)
Chiang Ying-ying/Associated Press

Thursday's action at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships included the Dance Program in the Junior Free Dance competition, the Short Program in the Championship Pairs competition and the Short Program in the Championship Men competition.

Below, we'll post the schedule for Friday's action and break down the results from Thursday's events.


Friday Schedule

Championship Dance (Short Dance): 3:50 p.m. ET

Championship Ladies (Free Skate): 6:45 p.m. ET


Thursday Results

Championship Men (Short Program)

Nathan Chen stole the show during the championship men short program Thursday, finishing with a score of 104.45 points. He was nearly eight points clear of the second-place finisher, Adam Rippon, who posted a 96.52.

The race for the two spots behind Chen figures to be heated during Saturday's free skate, as Jason Brown tallied a 93.23 and Grant Hochstein finished with a 92.18. Considering Rippon won the 2016 U.S. championship and Brown captured the 2015 edition, there is plenty of star power fighting for medal position.

Still, the story was the 18-year-old Chen, who appears well on his way to the Olympic team. According to Nick Zaccardi of NBC Sports, Chen's score was the second-highest short program in nationals history behind only his own score from last year.

He is undefeated this season and will remain that way if he builds on his early momentum from Thursday's short program.


Championship Pairs (Short Program)

Alexa Scimeca-Knierim and Christopher Knierim finished the Short Program portion of the Championship Pairs competition atop the leaderboard, albeit by a somewhat tight margin, scoring a 71.10 to put them ahead of Tarah Kayne and Danny O'Shea in second (68.93) and Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Nathan Bartholomay in third (67.84).

Scimeca-Knierim and Knierim have won this competition before, taking home the top prize in 2015. They also placed second in 2016. Kayne and O'Shea are the defending champions in the competition and will have the chance to repeat when the pairs return to the ice on Saturday for the Free Skate program.

Last year, however, Kayne and O'Shea went into the second program atop the leaderboard. Still, they dominated the Free Skate last year, with their score of 142.04 dramatically outpacing the field and easily eclipsing Scimeca-Knierim and Knierim (196.80)


Junior Dance (Free Dance)

Christina Carreira and Anthony Ponomarenko won the Junior Dance program by a wide margin, earning both the top score in Thursday's Free Dance program (90.48) and the overall score (159.18). 

It was the pair's second consecutive medal at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, as the team took home silver last year. They also won bronze at the Junior Worlds in 2017.

Caroline Green and Gordon Green finished both second in the Free Dance (63.14) and overall (146.72), never threatening the dynamic scores posted by Carreira and Ponomarenko. Chloe Lewis and Logan Bye finished third overall (143.21) and third on Thursday (81.07).

The biggest climbers, meanwhile, were Avonley Nguyen and Vadym Kolesnik, who were seventh coming into Thursday before a routine that placed them fourth in Free Dance (80.29) and outside the medal podium at fifth overall (134.31).


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