Nathan Chen ran away with his third consecutive U.S. title on Sunday afternoon at the 2019 U.S. Championships, outdistancing his closest competitor by 58.21 points. The reigning World champion was technically flawless in his “Land of All” free skate, landing four quad jumps — Lutz, flip, and two toe loops (one in combination) and six triple jumps en route to a new U.S. domestic record of 342.22 points.
The Ivy League freshman earned Level 4s across the board and high Grades of Execution for his elements, along with a series of perfect scores for performance and interpretation.
“The score definitely took me by surprise,” Chen admitted. “It was a lot bigger than I was expecting, but ultimately scores are scores. I’m happy with what I did and hopefully I can continue to do that in other competitions.”
Vincent Zhou claimed the silver medal despite two of his four quadruple jumps deemed under-rotated and a third downgraded. The 2018 Olympian earned full credit for five triple jumps, and was rewarded with a score of 284.01 points.
“My legs were definitely a little shaky because I was so nervous, but I thought I did a really good job today of staying in my own bubble and focusing on what I needed to do,” Zhou said.
Finishing in third place was 2015 U.S. champion Jason Brown with 273.08 points. The 24-year-old brought his usual charismatic charm to the ice in his free skate set to a Simon and Garfunkel medley, but was unable to keep pace with Chen and Zhou in terms of technical content.
Nonetheless, he was satisfied with his accomplishment. “I’m really proud of my fight out there. I think that’s the best way to put it,” Brown said. “I fought through the performance, and I am really proud of it.”
Tomoki Hiwatashi surprised himself and everyone else by finishing fourth, almost catching caught Brown in the free skate portion of the competition. The 18-year-old opened with a quad toe loop-triple toe loop combination and landed six more triples in his “Fate of the God” program. He landed in fourth with 253.28 points.
“This is my third year being in seniors, but I’ve never been in such a high place,” Hiwatashi said. “This is a great moment.”
Alexei Krasnozhon finished fifth with 234.52 points, ahead of Timothy Dolensky (228.94) — the best result for both skaters at a U.S. Championships.