this is my opinion only, and very non-objective.
i wonder if caroline zhang is being quietly held back because the usa stated this was her growing year- so when mirai, rachel get to the senior grand prix they can surpass her. i recall dick button stating it was okay for rachel to finished where she did at national because she was going to be in the senior grand prix.
caroline way back in april, may stated in a article she wanted to skate in junior ranks to get her stuff up and corrected. She was on vacation when the assignments came out. The assignments came out she was put in senior ranks, the usfsa stated is was because the juniors who won last year won everything and no need for them to stay in juniors.
i think that way because they are keeping caroline down in jumps, pcs scores. like the usfsa wants to push kimmie, emily, and alyssa above her. it is almost like they want it handed to kimmie and emily and alyssa- but they want caroline to fight for it or not give it to her.
yes she skated slow but so did other skaters, and even with carolines time deduction the pcs still should been about mid 6's not 23. or 5's. she should be in the mid- to high 6.25 to 6.75 now not much lower.