All eyes in American figure skating were on Little Caesars Arena on Friday as the action at the 2019 U.S. Figure Skating Championships heated up in Detroit.
Everything was on the line for the competitors, as both the rhythm dance and ladies free skate championships were decided on the ice on Friday.
Below is a look at the standings from the latest competitions as well as a recap of the action.
Rhythm Dance Championship
1. Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue (84.56)
2. Madison Chock and Evan Bates (82.33)
3. Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker (76.77)
4. Christina Carreira and Anthony Ponomarenko (75.23)
5. Lorraine McNamara and Quinn Carpenter (74.42)
6. Rachel Parsons and Michael Parsons (72.52)
7. Karina Manta and Joseph Johnson (55.16)
8. Lydia Erdman and Yuri Vlasenko (45.99)
9. Elicia Reynolds and Stephen Reynolds (39.16)
10. Bailey Melton and Ryan O'Donnell (36.60)
11. Alannah Binotto and Shiloh Judd (34.87)
12. Nicole Takahashi and Oleg Altukhov (31.93)
*Leaderboard via USFigureSkating.org
Free Skate Championship
1. Alysa Liu (143.62 free skate; 217.51 total score)
2. Bradie Tennell (136.99; 213.59)
3. Mariah Bell (142.10; 212.40)
4. Hanna Harrell (134.95; 203.11)
5. Ting Cui (139.66; 194.30)
6. Megan Wessenberg (122.18; 182.55)
7. Amber Glenn (110.87; 180.73)
8. Starr Andrews (117.04; 175.70)
9. Emmy Ma (109.69; 174.82)
10. Akari Nakahara (109.04; 166.76)
11. Brynne McIsaac (100.88; 157.34)
12. Sierra Venetta (105.16; 152.93)
13. Rena Ikenishi (101.69; 152.70)
14. Heidi Munger (99.48; 151.85)
15. Hannah Miller (95.63; 148.38)
16. Courtney Hicks (92.91; 145.95)
17. Julia Biechler (82.90; 133.88)
18. Pooja Kalyan (WD; 58.64)
*Leaderboard via USFigureSkating.org
For the second consecutive year, Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue proved they are among the best in the world.
The reigning champs once again performed at a high level on Friday, receiving a score of 84.56 from the judges. Their routine was highlighted by the execution of a Sequential Twizzles Lady 4 + Sequential Twizzles Man 4 as well as a Midline Step Sequence 4.
Their scoring breakdown included a 46.22 score for executed elements and a 38.34 for program components. Just as notably, they had a fairly flawless performance, as judges did not deduct a single point.
Ultimately, Hubbell and Donohue were able to top their closest competitors, Madison Chock and Evan Bates, by more than two points. While Chock and Bates made it through deduction-free as well, their program components (37.27) and executed elements (45.06) scores were not quite enough.
Hubbell and Donohue have been among the top contenders since 2011-12. Since back-to-back fourth-place finishes in 2013-14, the pair took home three consecutive bronze medals before capturing gold in each of the past two years.
There was strong competition for bronze, as four pairs finished within approximately four points of each other in the 70s. In the end, Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker (76.77) placed third by besting Christina Carreira and Anthony Ponomarenko by more than a point and a half.
In the free-skating session, there was some movement in the standings as the competition reached its second stage.
Reigning champion Bradie Tennell sat in first place after posting a score of 76.60 in the short program. She put herself in good position to defend her crown after recording a 136.99 on Friday, putting her at 213.59 overall.
However, there were still two skaters to take the ice after Tennell—and one of those skaters happened to be 13-year-old Alysa Liu.
Liu stole the show by earning a 143.62 in free skate in a performance that featured back-to-back triple axels. That incredible routine helped her jump Tennell, whom she trailed by less than three points entering the day, for the No. 1 spot.
While Mariah Bell (142.10) posted the second-best score of the day, it wasn't enough to catch Liu. As a result, the 13-year-old made history, according to Team USA:
Meanwhile, the junior free dance competition crowned a champion earlier in the day:
Saturday's action will feature more championship events, as both the pairs free skate and the men's short program will be in the spotlight.