The 2019 Challenger Series returns to North American soil for the third event, the U.S, International Figure Skating Classic, which will be held in Salt Lake City, Utah, Sept. 17-22. All four disciplines will be contested. This competition overlaps with Ondrej Nepela Memorial (Sept. 19-21).
The U.S. is fielding four men to this competition headlined by Vincent Zhou, the reigning World bronze medalist. He will be joined by Tomoki Hiwatashi, the 2019 World Junior champion, Alexei Krasnozhon and Jimmy Ma. The American men have the potential to sweep the podium at this event, with the only challenges coming from Japan′s Keiji Tanaka and/or Sōta Yamamoto.
Japan′s Satoko Miyahara, 21, headlines a ladies field of 13 entries. She will be joined by teammate Yuna Shiraiwa. Podium challengers could include any one of the young guns — South Korea′s Young You, 15, the bronze medalist at Lombardia Trophy last week, and America′s Ting Cui, 17. Mongolia will have a representative in the line-up — Maral-Erdene Gansukh, 23, who lives and trains in Nagoya, Japan.
Pairs will be an exciting event with Russia′s Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov, who now train with Marina Zoueva in Florida, and China′s Peng Cheng and Yang Jin going head-to-head. Those two duos will be the only non-North American teams competing with three from Canada and four from the U.S. rounding out the roster.
Madison Chock and Evan Bates of the U.S. are the top-ranked ice dance team in a field of nine and should have no problem dancing away with the gold medal. The other two podium spots will be up for grabs with Christina Carreira and Anthony Ponomarenko of the U.S. and Canada′s Carolane Soucisse and Shane Firus at the top of the list.
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