Five years have passed since Amber Glenn captured the U.S. junior ladies title in Boston. When she stood atop the podium back in 2014, she did so with the then highest ladies score in the history of the competition.
This week, Glenn, 19, believes she is ready to contend for a medal at the 2019 U.S. Championships in Detroit.
“Back when I won my title, I didn’t really know what was going on. I looked up to the seniors like they were so far away when in reality my scores were pretty close to what theirs were,” Glenn said. “I always thought of myself as this girl trying to prove myself, but this year I feel like I am established as a senior lady. I can just go out there and not worry about proving myself to other people, but just show them who I am now.”
In three appearances at the U.S. Championships, Glenn has finished no higher than eighth. This year, however, she said that she is in a great headspace to make a charge up the leaderboard in this depleted post-Olympic field of 18 ladies. “When I moved up from junior, there were skaters like Ashley Wagner and Gracie Gold who were at the top and then there was the younger group,” said Glenn. “Now it feels weird without having them here, and I feel like one of the older kids. I feel more confident this year. I feel more sure of myself. I miss the (other skaters), but I am excited to see where I stand.”
Darlene Cain, Glenn’s coach of nearly three years, agrees that her student is ready to be among the top echelon of American ladies, and is excited to see how she performs in Detroit. “I think Amber is just in a really good place in her life right now,” Cain said. “She’s well-rounded, she’s not just skating. She’s got a good group around her, and she’s really comfortable and confident in herself right now. I think that’s the big change. She’s always had the talent, and now she believes in herself more and can step forward and show that she really can be up there with the top skaters.”
Though Glenn exploded out of the gates early in May, earning more than 190 points at a local club competition in Houston, by the time she competed in her Challenger Series event in August, she had begun to lose momentum. Glenn finished in a distant sixth place at that assignment (Lombardia Trophy in Bergamo, Italy). “I hit a bit of a plateau in the middle of the summer, and the season felt so long for me. I just felt like the season had ended for me and I was barely halfway through,” she explained. “I feel like I am riding a wave back up again, and it’s great to feel like I’m getting back to where I was at the beginning of the season.”
Glenn believes that a top four placement is within her grasp in Detroit — as long as she competes as well as she has been practicing. “If we all skate clean, you never know what’s going to happen. I think it depends on who has their head on straight — someone could go out and skate absolutely flawless and score 200 points,” she said. “I just want to make sure that I have my mind on straight and perform like I do in practice. I feel like I have a pretty good chance of being in the top four as long as I skate like I know how. I feel really confident that I can be up there.”
Glenn will take the ice on Thursday evening in the short program, where she will skate 15th in a field of 18 competitors.
2019 U.S. Championships