So, with half of Nationals complete, the faves in Pairs did not win their respective competition and missed out on Olys. No big surprises in the Men's event. The judging has been surprisingly fair so far. Will this carry over into next weekend? That is yet to be seen.
With only 4 days until the ladies' SP, competitors are either in Spokane or are on their way. The big thing, though, is that Cohen has yet to WD. Nicks claims he's going back to get her, and FSO retweeted a Hersh tweet that said he texted Cohen to confirm her plans and she said everything's a go. So all indicators point to her being a show after all. As to whether she will compete, or WD before or after the SP is anyone's guess, but it's looking more like we have to start assuming that she's part of the equation. So with that said:
- The SP is critical. If everyone brings it, I say it's going to be close (within ~6 points) among the contenders. But realistically, some are going to bring it while others will likely fall short. The question, though, is whether this will be a competition decided in the SP or FS? I say the latter, unless someone skates a blinder while everyone else struggles.
So here's my sheet for the short program:
Cohen- This is her forte. This is where she needs to make her mark, make it known to the world that she is BACK. If she cannot deliver her SP, she may as well head on out of the arena, because she needs a buffer in case she falters in the FS, which is basically a given based on her competitive history. She cannot afford mistakes in both phases of the competition, particularly if the other ladies bring it in the SP.
Flatt- She just needs to stay upright here, although she might be able to get away with a stumble on that second triple like at SA- while that will keep her way behind the top international ladies, at Nationals it should be good enough to hang in there.
Wagner- Just avoid a repeat of last year...please. But she also must stop being tentative, something she admitted herself after the SP at the GPF. Just focus, go out and attack.
Czisny- I'd have her as the second strongest SP skater, behind Cohen. If she hits her SP she's in contention, no questions asked. She is that good. On the other hand, if she slips up, she will take herself OUT of contention because her FS simply is not strong enough to bump her up, particularly if everyone else brings it in the SP (or even two others- that will be enough to keep her off the Team)
Nagasu/Zhang- it's basically the same story for these two. Better watch those jumps.
There could be other ladies right in the mix after the SP. I would not be surprised to see some unfamiliar names sprinkled in there. The pressure is on The Big Six, and others could sneak right in and take advantage of that.