After a whirlwind Olympic season, Bradie Tennell remains the top U.S. lady heading into the 2019 U.S. Championships. With Mirai Nagasu, Ashley Wagner and Karen Chen not competing at nationals, the ladies podium in Detroit is wide open.
Tennell’s season opened on a strong note with a win at Autumn Classic in September but that high was short-lived. She finished fourth at Skate America and third at her second Grand Prix event in France. At both competitions, Tennell received various edge and under-rotation calls on her flip Lutz, loop, and toe jumps.
In early December Tennell won the final Challenger Series event, Golden Spin. Though her jumps were clean in the short, she again received under-rotation calls on three triples in the free skate. Nonetheless, Tennell said the win helped with her confidence.
“There have been some bright spots and not so bright spots, but overall I think it has been a very good stepping-stone coming off the Olympic year,” Tennell said. “In Croatia, I was a little disappointed with my (long program) performance on the artistic side. It was a little lacklustre in my opinion. But I think that having all this time afterwards to train it and really work on it I am really hoping to see some improvement at nationals.
“I have been working on my technique to jump higher. These things happen and obviously you don’t want to get those calls but all you can do is take the lesson learned and move on.”
Tennell plans to keep the same technical content as she had at Golden Spin and will only attempt the triple Lutz-triple loop combination in her free skate.
When asked about the junior Russian ladies landing quads and sweeping the senior podium at nationals, Tennell said she found it impressive “that they can do quads at such an early age, but I don’t really have an opinion on it.”
2019 U.S. CHAMPIONSHIPS