The second night of championship-level competition at the 2022 Toyota U.S. Figure Skating Championships concluded Friday with Mariah Bell being crowned U.S. ladies champion. Madison Chock and Evan Bates lead the ice dance field with a 2.55-point lead heading into Saturday’s free dance competition.
Bell (Rocky Mountain FSC) won her first-career U.S. title with a combined 216.25 points. Her performance in the final segment, set to “Hallelujah” by k.d. lang, featured six triple jumps, three of which took place in the second half of the performance for a 1.1-point bonus. She received a Level 4 on each of her three spins en route to a segment score of 140.70 points.
“Obviously I’m very excited to finally be national champion,” Bell said. “It wasn’t a perfect skate. I was really fighting through a lot of it, but I really fought for every point, and the audience was so incredible. So I’m really looking forward to taking this and figuring out how I can make things a little more solid heading into what’s next.”
Karen Chen (Peninsula SC) won her first U.S. silver medal with 213.85 points. Skating to “Butterfly Lover Concerto” by Takako Nishizaki, the 2017 U.S. champion executed seven triple jumps. Earning a segment score of 139.30 points, Chen held onto her short program standing despite placing third in the final segment.
Isabeau Levito (SC of Southern New Jersey) made a stunning championship debut, placing second in the free skate to win the bronze medal in her first senior-level appearance at the U.S. Championships. Her technically ambitious “Swan Lake” free skate notched a personal-best 139.75 points, en route to a total score of 210.75. The 14-year-old 2021 U.S. junior champion completed seven triple jumps, including a triple flip-triple toe combination and triple Lutz-Euler-triple Salchow jumping series in the second half of the performance.
After notching the seventh-best short program, Gabriella Izzo (SC of Boston) rebounded with a 120.60-point free skate to finish in fourth place with 188.11 points.
Championship Ice Dance
Chock (All Year FSC) and Bates (Ann Arbor FSC) earned a U.S. record 91.94 points for their Billie Eilish rhythm dance, besting their previous personal best by 1.84 points. The duo earned a Level 4 on all five required elements with each receiving grades of execution of +3 or higher by judges. Their technical element score of 53.01 topped the field by an impressive 2.13 points.
“What a Nashville audience, I have to say,” Chock said. “It was so much fun performing for them. Their energy was amazing throughout the program, and we really felt it. Every second was so enjoyable, and to be out there with Evan and perform just like we practice at home – it was wonderful. It was very fun.”
Reigning U.S. champions Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue (Lansing FSC) are in second place with 89.39 points. Skating to a medley of hits by Janet Jackson, the team earned a Level 4 on their first three elements, including the required Midnight Blues pattern. Their program components score of 38.51 was less than a point behind Chock and Bates.
The top two teams have five U.S. titles between them, including each of the last four. Both teams train at the Ice Academy of Montreal under the direction of Patrice Lauzon, Marie-France Dubreuil and Romain Haguenauer.
Caroline Green (Pavilion SC of Cleveland Heights) and Michael Parsons (Washington FSC) round out the top three with a personal-best 80.85 points. Coached by Alexei Kiliakov and Elena Novak, the Leesburg, Virginia-based team put themselves in a position to earn their first U.S. medal in only their third U.S. Championships together. Earning all positive grades of execution, the tandem earned Level 4 on their final two elements.
Three-time reigning U.S. bronze medalists Kaitlin Hawayek (Detroit SC) and Jean-Luc Baker (Seattle SC) are in fourth place with 79.39 points.
Competition continues tomorrow with the first group of championship free dance. Results from the 2022 Toyota U.S. Figure Skating Championships are available here.