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Tennell leads after stellar skate in Greensboro

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2020 U.S. Nationals

Ladies’ Short Program

Bradie Tennell took the lead after the Ladies’ Short Program on Thursday night in Greensboro, N.C. Defending champion Alysa Liu is currently in second followed by Mariah Bell.

Tennell put out a stellar performance to “Mechanisms” and “Chronos” by Kirill Richter, opening with a solid triple Lutz-triple toe and double Axel. The 2019 Skate America silver medalist also landed a triple flip and showed strong level 4 spins and footwork to earn 78.96 points.

“It’s fun and sassy, and that is kind of me with my family and friends and more open and fun, sarcastic and sassy,” said Tennell of her short program. “I like to put that into my skating necessarily, and I like to explore myself. I had been more reserved on the ice, and this opens up a new chapter with my skating. I lost myself in the performance. I hadn’t skated like myself all week, with the warm up, I felt kind of stressed, and I used the warm up to remind myself that I did this every day. Once the music started, I was like, ‘all right, I can breathe a little bit.'”

“I love the sport, it’s my passion, and that’s where my motivation comes from,” said the skater who turns 22 next week. “I need to take things one thing at a time, so this week I just need to focus on being here and doing my job. I love this program so much, it embodies me. It was a lot of work and trying different things. I am more comfortable now than when we were choreographing it in France. As the season has gone on, I feel more comfortable with it. When I am off the ice, I am more introverted, so it is not something that I am used to (being the center of attention). As soon as I landed the Lutz toe, I was like ‘all right I can do this.'”

Liu turned out her triple Axel in her show biz routine to “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” but quickly recovered to land a triple flip and triple Lutz-triple toe. The 2019-20 Junior Grand Prix silver medalist also showed very good level 4 spins and footwork, earning a score of 75.40 points.

“It (skating last) doesn’t matter to me, I don’t care where I skate,” said the 14-year-old. “I don’t mind skating last. I have learned a lot and grown as a person, but I am still the same. If I make a mistake, it’s not over, I still have to focus on my long, so I can’t be like ‘oh no, I made a mistake.’ I just have to focus and not think about the mistake. I really like the music, it’s just me and my personality. I didn’t have any expectations, but my goal was to do two clean performances.”

Bell had a very strong start in her performance to “Radar” and “Work” by Britney Spears, landing a double Axel, triple flip-triple toe, and triple Lutz. The only mistake came when the 23-year-old stumbled and fell during the footwork which was graded a level 4. She finished third with 73.22 points.

“It’s very different for me than what I did in the past,” said Bell of her short program, “but it’s taken some time to perform the way I want it to in competition. Today, maybe I felt a little too good, and that is why I had the mistake. It shows all sides of me and I think it’s great because it shows all sides of growth for me.”

“I’m still proud of what I did, and I will enjoy that for now,” said the skater who took bronze at both her Grand Prix events this season. “I love my long program, regardless of where you are in the short, you want to attack the long. My mentality is the same as it has been all season, and that is to really go for it in my long. I am looking forward to it. This has been my strongest season of my career. I had a solid year last year, and I was able to build on it.”

Amber Glenn sits in a close fourth with 73.16 points. The 2019 CS U.S. International Figure Skating Classic bronze medalist landed a triple flip-triple toe, double Axel and triple loop. She also was awarded a level 4 for all spins and footwork in her solid skate to “Scars” by Madilyn Bailey.

“I really got my priorities together and not focused on someone I’m not, not trying to be cookie cutter,” said the 20-year-old. “I’m not trying to fill in someone else’s shoes. I want to be a new role model for anyone who is starting skating. I had a very mediocre showing at Skate America. I wish I would have not taken it safe and really gone for it. Then, at Cup of China, I tried my hardest and put it all out there on the ice, and I kept that same mindset these three months that I prepared for this.”

“Being out has brought a weight off my shoulders,” said Glenn. “It was very scary, and not having to pretend I’m someone I’m not anymore.”

Karen Chen put out a solid skate to “You Say” by Lauren Daigle, landing a triple Lutz-double toe, double Axel and triple loop. She earned mostly +5 grades of execution (GOE) across the board for her level 4 layback spin and is in fifth place with 70.41 points.

“The first four weeks were really challenging for me,” said Chen of attending Cornell. “There were a lot of scheduling demands, but a month and a half in, I got it under control. Juggling school and skating made it tougher than what I was used to. I came here with no expectations, and that is how I skate best.”

Gabriella Izzo put a foot down on the landing of her triple flip-triple loop, but landed a triple Lutz  and double Axel while showing level 4 spins and footwork to place sixth (65.94).

“For the first time, maybe this season, I had fun out there,” said the 2019 CS Asian Open Trophy bronze medalist. “To have a more involved crowd. To skate after Mariah Bell, and to take the energy the crowd had for her, and to take it and skate and perform like I know I can, is really fulfilling. Just to go out there and have the best possible skate I can have would mean more than anything.”

Starr Andrews gave a clean performance which featured a triple toe-triple toe, double Axel and triple loop, and is in seventh place (65.86).

“I feel like I progressed from last year,” said the 18-year-old from Los Angeles, Calif. “I’ve been running more, swimming, more cardio, so I can keep up my stamina. My goal is to skate two programs that I have been skating in practice and show what I can do. They (competitors) are all doing quads, so I need to keep my game up.”

Gracie Gold landed a double Axel and showed level 4 spins in her routine, but popped a loop and two-footed the landing of a triple Lutz in combination with a double toe. She is in 13th place (54.51).

“Overall, I felt better than the qualifiers, but nationals is nationals,” said the former two-time national champion. “I couldn’t really do triple toe run throughs until Thanksgiving. For me, the short and long are two different entities. Someone can have the world’s greatest short program and botch the long. It’s different music, different set ups and different priorities. People are invested in my story and my comeback. No one wakes up and is an inspiration today. America loves a comeback story.”