Preview: 2024 U.S. National Championships
The spotlight of the figure skating world descends upon Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, for the 2024 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. Ohio has previously hosted U.S. Nationals on four other occasions, but this is the first opportunity for Columbus to roll out the red carpet for this annual competition. Previously, Cleveland was tapped in 1964, 2000 and 2009 and Cincinnati in 1979.
For the first time since 2019, novice level competitors will also participate with the top five teams earning the opportunity based on placement at the 2024 Ice Dance Final. Check out our preview on the novice teams competing in Columbus.
Due to the date proximity of the U.S. Championships and Four Continents Championships, the U.S. has already named the following athletes to represent the U.S. in Shanghai China:
Madison Chock & Evan Bates
Caroline Green & Michael Parsons
Christina Carreira & Anthony Ponomarenko
The senior event includes 13 teams and is headlined by four-time U.S. Champions and 2023 World Champions Madison Chock & Evan Bates. The field is very competitive as two-thirds of the teams competed at international events this season.
Last year, Chock & Bates won their third-consecutive U.S. title and have been undefeated since their silver medal result at the 2022 Grand Prix Final. They have consistently been a step above other competitors this season and should glide into Columbus to collect their fifth U.S. gold medal. Their programs this season have caught the attention of the audience and judges alike. Their free dance costumes are currently in the running for an ISU award.
Fans were hopeful that Kaitlin Hawayek & Jean-Luc Baker would return to competition and debut this week, however that was not to be. The duo posted the following statements to their social media accounts:
“After taking some time to reflect over the last few months, we have made the tough decision to take a step back from competing for the remainder of the season and reevaluate our options for future seasons.”
Hawayek & Baker have been on hiatus since December 2022 when they finished fifth at the Grand Prix Final and missed last year’s Nationals.
The remainder of the 2023 U.S. podium is returning to this competition.
Caroline Green & Michael Parsons nabbed the silver medal in 2023 and despite a slower start results-wise have gotten their feet under them. Starting with a fifth place finish at Lombardia Trophy, the team withdrew from their second Challenger Series event and changed their rhythm dance from selections by Paula Abdul to “Still Loving You” and “Rock You Like a Hurricane” by the Scorpions. This program was better received and performed and the team finished fourth at Skate America and won the bronze medal at Cup of China.
Christina Carreira & Anthony Ponomarenko, the 2023 bronze medalists, have finished no lower than fourth at their international competitions this season. They started the season with a fourth place result at Nebelhorn Trophy, followed by a silver medal result at Finlandia Trophy and two fourth place finishes at their Grand Prix series assignments.
2023 pewter medalists Emilea Zingas & Vadim Kolesnik withdrew from summer competitions, but capitalized on international opportunities competing at two Grand Prix events and two Challenger Series competitions. Their most recent result was a silver medal finish at Golden Spin of Zagreb. Their free dance is a unique concept set to music from The Beauty and the Beast film soundtrack.
Other teams in the mix for medals:
Eva Pate & Logan Bye started their Challenger Series events with a bang, winning the gold medal at Autumn Classic. They finished fourth and sixth at their Grand Prix events.
Oona Brown & Gage Brown are the 2022 World Junior Champions and in their second season at the senior level. The team finished fourth at Skate Canada International, ahead of both Zingas & Kolesnik and Pate & Bye. The Browns started working with Ice Academy of Montreal as supplemental coaches this season.
Two-time junior champions Leah Neset & Artem Markelov have had a strong season thus far, winning every event they have entered, including the 2023 Junior Grand Prix Final. They have been undefeated since finishing fifth at the 2023 World Junior Championships and are the team everyone is chasing.
Last year’s silver medalists, Helena Carhart & Volodymyr Horovyi, started the season in Lake Placid, but withdrew from competitions for the remainder of the season due to injuries. This is their final year of junior eligibility.
Jenna Hauer & Benjamin Starr started their season with a bronze medal at the Dallas Classic, but were forced to withdraw from their JGP events due to injury. The 2024 Ice Dance Final champions will look to have a strong finish in Columbus to make their second World Junior Championships team.
Jeffrey Chen, who finished seventh at the senior level at the 2023 U.S. Championships with former partner Katarina Wolfkostin, teamed up with Yahli Pedersen and returned to junior this season. Pedersen & Chen won two silver medals on the Junior Grand Prix series and qualified for the Final, where they finished sixth. The team has been plagued by mistakes at competitions, but when they skate well their points are within the medal mix.
Siblings Elliana Peal and Ethan Peal won the pewter medal at the 2023 U.S. Championships. They won two medals on the JGP series and were alternates for the JGP Final. The Peals were second at the Ice Dance Final in November.
After missing last season due to injury, Caroline Mullen & Brendan Mullen made their Junior Grand Prix series debut and won the bronze medal at the the 2024 Ice Dance Final.
Check out our Novice preview (Insert link).