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BOSTON%2C+MA+-+MARCH+31%3A++Maia+Shibutani+and+Alex+Shibutani+of+the+United+States+skate+in+Free+Dance+Program+during+Day+4+of+the+ISU+World+Figure+Skating+Championships+2016+at+TD+Garden+on+March+31%2C+2016+in+Boston%2C+Massachusetts.++%28Photo+by+Maddie+Meyer%2FGetty+Images%29
BOSTON, MA - MARCH 31:  Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani of the United States skate in Free Dance Program during Day 4 of the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2016 at TD Garden on March 31, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 31: Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani of the United States skate in Free Dance Program during Day 4 of the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2016 at TD Garden on March 31, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Getty Images

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 31: Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani of the United States skate in Free Dance Program during Day 4 of the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2016 at TD Garden on March 31, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Sophie Jeffery, Sports Editor

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The 2017 U.S. Figure Skating Championships commenced on Saturday, January 14, and will end on Sunday, January 22. Around 270 skaters of various levels and disciplines have make their way to Kansas City, Missouri and are competing to become the best in our country.

There are five different levels at the championships, ranging from juvenile, which is the lowest level, to senior, the highest level. Within these five levels there are four disciplines: the mens, ladies, pairs, and ice dance. The men and ladies compete alone, while ice dance is like ballroom dancing on ice, and pairs consists of basically what the single competitors do, except with a partner.

The senior competition is always interesting to watch because some of these skaters have medaled at the World Championships and even the Olympics! Although skating is an unpredictable sport, it’s hard not to pick people who you either want to win or think will definitely win.

Nathan Chen is by far the most predicted to win the men’s gold medal. His programs are some of the most technically advanced in the world. Adam Rippon, the reigning 2016 U.S. champion, was also a favorite to win gold, but was forced to withdraw from the competition due to a foot sprain and break.

Ashley Wagner, the reigning world silver medalist, is a heavy favorite to win gold, especially since last year’s national champion, Gracie Gold, is facing a rough season. Mirai Nagasu, typically not a favorite to win these championships, is attempting a triple axel, the hardest jump that ladies attempt today  (only a few do so), so it is possible that she could end up in second or third place. 2014 Olympian Polina Edmunds, is always a favorite to be on the medal podium, but has withdrawn with a bone bruise.

America is especially strong in ice dancing. Many are predicting that brother-and-sister team Maia and Alex Shibutani will prevail. The reigning world bronze medalists and 2015 U.S. champions Madison Chock and Evan Bates are this reporter’s predictions to win the silver. Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue are the three-time national bronze medalists, it seems likely that this year they’ll receive their fourth national bronze medal. Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus typically end up in fourth, and their placement shouldn’t change either.

Last year, Tarah Kayne and Daniel O’Shea shocked many people when they won over the 2015 champions, Alexa Scimeca-Knierim and Chris Knierim. Scimeca-Knierim and Knierim have withdrawn, however, to allow the former a full recovery from a stomach surgery. Don’t be surprised if Kayne and O’Shea win again this year! Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier are top picks for silver, and Marissa Castelli and Mervin Tran should retain their bronze medal from last year.

It will be a fun and interesting competition, so tune in to watch the best skaters in the country attempt to win some gold medals!

 

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The student news site of Pingree School in South Hamilton, MA
Spin and Skate