Oh figure skating.
I think Estonia will be a horse race between Cesario, Shoji, and Shershak. But Gold could be the spoiler by grabbing a medal and scrambling the points that would be the downfall of one or more of the other 3. I can see a lot of scenarios where tiebreakers come into play, so these ladies must go for those scores, max out points, and execute out there on the ice if they want to get to the Final. I suspect 24 is going to be the minimum points that gets to go the Final, maybe even 26.
I think Gracie Gold will make a big splash. In fact, she's my pick for gold, with Cesario and Shoji rounding out the podium. Funny that Cesario has a bronze while Shoji and Shershak have silvers, but Cesario's score was the highest.
A) Neither Shoji nor Shershak gets 22 points or better (both would beat Samantha if all 3 had 22 points since Shoji/Shershak's silver+4th would beat Samantha with 2 bronzes)
B) Samantha's scores with a bronze are good enough to overcome Polina Agafonova. (Polina K automatically would be over a Samantha 2-bronze ranking due to her silver)
Then the finals would be Julia, Polina S, Vanessa Lam, Zijun Li, Polina K, and Samantha. (Samantha would be more safe if she got a silver or a gold, yes, but it's not impossible with a bronze)
If Gold skates like she did (or close to it) at GCFI at the beginning of September, she's going to be hard to beat. Not one negative GOE. 3F+3T, 3Lz, 2A in short, 3Lz+3T, 2A+3T, 3F, 3Lz, 3S, 3Lo, 2A+2T+2Lo in the long along with L3 steps, L4 spins....
If I had to guess Shershak will likely be 4th here, she's lovely but I think her limited tech content will hold her back more here than it did in Milan. And what that means is it really comes down to whether Cesario can beat out Shoji/Gold (or someone else - you never know) to come in 1st or 2nd. Because if she's 3rd, and Shershak is 4th, and Shoji is 1st or 2nd, then Samantha would be out of the final, and the last spot would come down to a tiebreaker between Shershak and Korobeynikova.
Shoji probably has the cushiest odds because she could still qualify with a 4th place finish and unlike Shershak she has so many triples planned that a mistake/UR or two shouldn't kill her chances. And if she's 3rd her chances are pretty good, and if 2nd she's definitely in. I think if she skates well she can definitely win this, but I am wary about what happened to Miyahara (though Risa's jumps aren't nearly as small and I find her overall quality superior to Miyahara as well, and in the past she's been consistent). In any event, it will be very exciting to see how it all plays out!
I find it interesting that the JFP finishes before the GP starts and the top Juniors have to wait two months to compete at the JGPF at the same time as the GPF. Meanwhile, the coaches are occupied with their Senior skaters. There are no competitions in these two months that I'm aware of, so the Juniors really have to prepare differently. Hard to tell if it's better or worse. I guess it depends on how they program themselves to use this time.