The field at the 2013 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships is beginning to take shape with the Eastern, Midwestern and Pacific Coast sectional figure skating championships well under way. Here are some of the big stories from Sunday at the sectional championships at the senior level. The sectionals were shown live on icenetwork.com and will be on Monday as well beginning at 10 a.m. ET.
The top four finishers in each discipline (where applicable) qualify for the 2013 U.S. Championships in Omaha Jan. 20-27.
Visit icenetwork.com for results from each discipline at every level.
Behind a performance that consisted of each element earning a posting Grade of Execution, Haley Dunne posted the top score of the day of anyone attempting to qualify as a senior lady. Dunne leads in the East with 58.20 points. She is followed by Samantha Cesario, who has battled injuries the last two years and hasn’t made it to the U.S. Championships since 2010, with 57.80 points and then a big gap to Yasmin Siraj, 8th in 2011, with 48.88 and Joelle Forte with 48.18 points. Places five-through-nine are separated by less than seven points.
A familiar name tops the leaderboard after the short program as Stephen Carriere is in first with 67.87 points. Carriere finished in third in 2008 and is a two-time medalist on the Grand Prix circuit. Following Carriere is two-time Collegiate champion Grant Hochstein with 67.63 points, Harrison Choate, who earned the pewter medal as a junior last year, with 64.08 points and Wesley Campbell with 63.12 points. Timothy Dolensky, the 2012 U.S. junior silver medalist is in fifth with 60.06 points and 2012 U.S. Championships competitors Alexander Aiken and Daniel Raad are in seventh and ninth respectively.
The Cannuscio sisters top the section in ice dancing, but it’s the older sister, Isabella, with her new partner Michael Bramante, who leads the pack of seven couples. Cannuscio and Bramante, who teamed up prior to this season, earned 56.91 points. Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus, who skated at 2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America earlier this year, are in second with 51.18 points. Ginna Hoptman and Pavel Filchenkov are in third with 42.90 points and Danielle Gamelin and Alexander Gamelin are in fourth after the short program with 41.97 points.
A U.S. junior champion in pairs, Ashley Cain is looking to make her name as a singles skater. The 2012 U.S. junior silver medalist took her first steps towards qualifying as a senior with the top score at the Midwestern Sectional Championships. All of Cain’s elements earned a positive GOE as she racked up 55.83 points and is in first place. In second, Becky Bereswill is attempting to write a comeback story as the 2008 JGP Final titlist earned 51.69 points. She hasn’t competed at a U.S. Championships since a 13th place finish in 2010. Kiri Baga, who looks to qualify in ladies and pairs, is in third with 51.06 points and Morgan Bell is in fourth with 49.04 points.
In fifth place in the section is Carly Gold, the twin sister of Gracie Gold, the 2012 U.S. junior champion, with 46.92 points and in seventh is Nina Jiang, a champion at the juvenile and intermediate levels, who finished 11th at the 2012 U.S. Championships.
In a highly competitive section, Max Aaron leads after the short program with 75.88 points. Aaron has two international medals, including a gold at the inaugural U.S. Figure Skating Classic, this season and earned more than ten points on two different elements during his “Tron” skate. Alexander Johnson, a two-time U.S. medalist, is in second with 71.79 points and Brandon Mroz, the 2009 U.S. silver medalist and a two-time Grand Prix medalist, is in third with 70.76 points. After the top three, there is a more than 12-point gap to Timothy Koleto, in fourth, who has 58.28 points.
There are only three teams competing at this sectional, but Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim, who earned gold at Cup of Nice earlier this season and have been invited to skate at NHK Trophy in two weeks, are in first with 57.09 points. The newly formed team of Kiri Baga and Taylor Toth are in third with 45.10 points. Baga is looking to qualify as a senior in pairs and as a singles skater.
Competition will begin on Monday afternoon. This section includes 2011 U.S. junior champion Courtney Hicks and the 9th place finisher at the 2012 U.S. Championships, Vanessa Lam.
Competition will begin Monday night. This section is led by Keegan Messing, who just earned his second Cup of Nice gold medal this season. He finished in seventh at the 2012 U.S. Championships. Joining Messing are Scott Dyer, 10th at the 2012 U.S. Championships, Johnathan Cassar, 11th in 2012, Phillip Warren, the 2012 U.S. junior bronze medalist and Sean Rabbitt and Andrew Gonzales, who have previously skated at the U.S. Championships at the senior men’s level.
In the junior event, two-time novice and defending U.S. junior champion Nathan Chen, 13, is in first with 66.09 points while 2012 U.S. novice champion, Vincent Zhou, who recently turned 12, is in second with 61.91 points.