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US Figure Skating Championships 2019: Thursday TV Schedule, Top Contenders

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJanuary 24, 2019

Bradie Tennell of the US competes in the Ladies free skating during the Internationaux de France ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating in Grenoble, central-eastern France, on November 24, 2018. (Photo by JEAN-PIERRE CLATOT / AFP)        (Photo credit should read JEAN-PIERRE CLATOT/AFP/Getty Images)
JEAN-PIERRE CLATOT/Getty Images

The senior skaters will take to the ice for the first time at the 2019 U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Thursday, with the pairs and ladies short program getting under way.

After the junior competitors took centre stage on Tuesday and Wednesday, some more familiar faces will be looking to delight the crowd on Day 3 of the event at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan.

Starting the action off on Thursday will be the junior pairs free skate. Success at this competition will be key to skaters qualifying for upcoming competitions, including the Four Continents Championship, the World Junior Championships and the World Championships.

Here is the schedule for Thursday and a preview of some of the star names taking part.

     

Thursday Schedule

12 p.m. - Junior pairs free skate

4:30 p.m. - Pairs short program

8:05 p.m. - Ladies short program

   

The event will be shown live on NBC. The full schedule for the competition can be found here.

   

Thursday Preview

In 2018, Bradie Tennell sprung a surprise when she beat Mirai Nagasu and Karen Chen, neither of whom will be competing in this discipline this year due to a skating hiatus and injury, respectively.

There's no reason why Tennell shouldn't be confident as she gears up for the short program as a result, especially following her performance in this part of the competition at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

She posted a season's best score in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and in doing so helped the United States win bronze in the team event. 

Here's a reminder of what she conjured a year ago in the short program:

Speaking prior to the defence of her national crown, Tennell said she hadn't even considered the fact she's the favourite for victory, per the Dave Skretta of the Associated Press (h/t the Daily Herald).

"You know, honestly that never really crossed my mind," she said. "I don't think of things like that. I think every time I go out on the ice I want to do the best for myself, and as long as you do that, I'm happy."

Competition is poised to come in the form of Mariah Bell, who has made impressive progress this season, as well as 13-year-old Alysa Liu, who has been tipped for a bright future in the sport.

Broadcaster Jamie Edmonds noted that the youngster is definitely one to watch:

Jamie Edmonds @Jamie_Edmonds

Alysa Liu’s triple axel is 🔥 🔥 she’s got three planned at this championships. @USFigureSkating #2019USFigureSkatingChampionships https://t.co/QPExgD8i6O

In the pairs event, the duo of Alexa Scimeca-Knierim and Chris Knierim are back in a bid to become three-time national champions.

They've not had the most straightforward of seasons, although there were some signs of improvement when they won bronze recently at the NHK Trophy.

The duo are without a win in any of the major events this season, although they have traditionally been able to find their best at the national championships.

The couple reminded us in the buildup to this event that they've been on this stage plenty of times previously:

Alexa & Chris @Scimeca_Knierim

This is how excited we are to head to our 6th National Championship together! #Detroit #Dreamers #Excited #HaveFun #Believe #JustAnotherDay #uschamps19 https://t.co/LlHVKSh8ND

If they are to make it a third title in five years, they'll have to overcome 2016 champions Tarah Kayne and Danny O'Shea, who were second last year.

Others to look out for include Ashley Cain and Timothy LeDuc, who will be out to build on the bronze they picked up at Skate America.

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