The 2019 U.S. Championships take place January 18-27 in Detroit, Michigan. Little Caesars Arena will host the junior and senior competitions, which begin on January 24 with the pairs short program.
The novice, juvenile and intermediate practice sessions and competitions will be held at the Detroit Skating Club in Bloomfield, Michigan.
Nathan Chen′s victory at the 2018 World Championships ensured three men will have the opportunity to compete in Saitama. Other than Chen, there are no clear-cut contenders for the other two spots. Vincent Zhou failed to land on a podium at either of his Grand Prix assignments, while Jason Brown was the only other U.S. man to claim a medal on the Grand Prix circuit.
Two World berths are available in the ladies discipline. One will most certainly go to Bradie Tennell but who will claim the second? Mariah Bell is at the top of our list. She has shown huge improvement this season with strong showings at her two Grand Prix and Challenger Series events, capping off 2018 with a bronze at Golden Spin in early December.
Karen Chen racked up five withdrawals in the first half of the season, including her two Grand Prix assignments. She competed at one late-season Challenger Series event (Tallinn Trophy) but withdrew from the free (citing injury) after placing ninth in the short program. On Jan. 4, Chen announced that she would not be competing at nationals. ″I had planned to come back strong and confident at nationals, but I know that putting that determination towards recovery and preparing for next season is ultimately the best decision I can make to reach my goals.″
Gracie Gold announced her withdrawal on Jan. 9 via an Instagram Post. ″My goal is the 2022 Olympics in Beijing. With that being said, I have decided it is in my best interest to withdraw from the 2019 championships. This was an incredibly difficult decision, but ultimately the right one.″
Angela Wang withdrew on Jan. 13. ″Absolutely devastated to have to withdraw from the US Championships due to illness and injury…while I focus on my health and recovery…″
Only one pairs team will compete at Worlds in Saitama — which team that will be is anyone′s guess. Tarah Kayne and Danny O′Shea claimed silver at the final Grand Prix in France; Ashley Cain and Timothy LeDuc scored a bronze at Skate America; and Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim skated into third at NHK Trophy.
The ice dance title will be Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue′s to lose. Four other teams in the running for one of the remaining two places on the Worlds team are: Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker; Lorraine McNamara and Quinn Carpenter; Rachel Parsons and Michael Parsons; and Madison Chock and Evan Bates, who mined gold at Mentor Nestlé Nesquik Toruń Cup in mid-January, their first event this season. Chock had ankle surgery in the summer, which took a long time to heal.