Championship-level competition kicked off today with the pairs and ladies’ short programs at the 2020 Toyota U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina. Alexa Knierim (DuPage FSC) and Chris Knierim (Broadmoor SC) lead the pairs contingent and Bradie Tennell (Skokie Valley SC) is the top lady after the first night of competition.
The Knierims secured the top score during their short program with 77.06 points, a personal best for the duo. Skating to “At Last” by Beyoncé, the reigning Greensboro champions (2015) had positive grades of execution on all their elements in their clean program.
“The last time in Greensboro we had a great short,” Chris said. “It’s nice to come back, be comfortable and put out, finally, a good short.”
Tarah Kayne (Broadmoor SC) and Danny O’Shea (SC of New York) sit in second place following their short program with 70.35 points. The team successfully executed two Level 3 and two Level 4 elements.
The Texas-based team and reigning U.S. champions, Ashley Cain-Gribble (SC of New York) and Timothy LeDuc (Los Angeles FSC) earned third place in the short program with 68.86 points. Skating to “A Storm Is Coming” by Tommee Profitt, the team showcased two Level 3 and two Level 4 elements.
Rounding out the top four, Jessica Calalang (DuPage FSC) and Brian Johnson (Detriot SC) notched 67.56 points for their short program. They completed two Level 3 and three Level 4 elements to “Light of the Seven” composed by Ramin Djawdi.
The pairs competition continues Saturday, Jan. 25, with the free skate.
In the ladies competition, Tennell performed a career-best 78.96-point program, setting a new U.S. Championships record for the short program. The 2018 U.S. champion had a clean skate set to “Chronos/Mechanisms” by Kirill Richter that featured a triple Lutz-triple toe loop combination and all positive grades of execution.
“I think it went really well. I am really proud of how I skated,” Tennell said. “I love this program so much. I really feel like it allows different sides of me to come through. I am excited that the audience can see that.”
Reigning U.S. champion Alysa Liu (St. Moritz ISC) claimed the second spot in the short program, scoring 75.40 points. Liu’s program set to "Don't Rain on My Parade" by Barbra Streisand included a clean triple Lutz-triple toe loop combination and four Level 4 elements.
In third place, Mariah Bell (Rocky Mountain FSC) scored 73.22 points for her Britney Spears-themed short program. Bell landed her four jumps, including a triple flip-triple toe loop combination.
Amber Glenn (Dallas FSC) rounded out the top four with 73.16 points. Skating to "Scars" by Madilyn Bailey, Glenn had a clean skate and secured Level 4s for her non-jumping elements.
The ladies competition concludes on Friday, Jan. 24 with the free skate.
The 2020 Toyota U.S. Figure Skating Championships will be featured on NBC and NBCSN and is also available live and on-demand on the Figure Skating Pass on NBC Sports Gold.