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Alexa Scimeca-Knierim and Chris Knierim Reclaim National Title

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It was a fight to the top in the pairs free skate today. So many of these teams have struggled with injuries and have been trying to come back strong this season. In the end it was Alexa Scimeca-Knierim and Chris Knierim who captured the gold and likely a spot on the Olympic Team.

Alexa and Chris opened their free skate with a huge quad twist. Their quad twist had some issues in the landing, but overall it was beautiful. Their main mistakes were once again in their side by side jumps. They just cannot manage to land those jumps. Chris dealt with a knee injury at Skate America which impacted how frequently he could train his jumps. The team told the media during a teleconference heading into the U.S. Championships, that Chris was injury free and landing his jumps consistently. It’s hard to know what happened here, but hopefully they will have time to get more repetitions and training under their belt before the Olympics.

Despite their mistakes, Alexa and Chris fought for each element and they did not give up. When they finished their free skate, they both looked a bit disappointed. Alexa looked shocked when their score came up and they realized that they won the U.S. Championships. Alexa sobbed in Chris’ lap as all of the emotion came pouring out. In the summer of 2016, Alexa faced a life-threatening illness and had to learn how to walk and how to skate all over again. Their journey has been long and the path has been tough, but they are finally reaping the rewards of their hard work, determination and love for the sport of figure skating.

Tarah and Danny Capture the Silver

Capturing the silver medal was 2016 U.S. Champions Tarah Kayne and Danny O’Shea. The team withdrew from nationals last year when Tarah suffered a concussion in the short program. They have had their fair share of  injuries, but came out strong and delivered a beautiful free skate. Their only major mistake was that Tarah fell on the landing of a throw triple flip, otherwise they gave a terrific performance. Hopefully Tarah and Danny will be named to the world team since there is only one spot available on the U.S. pairs Olympic Team.

Deanna and Nathan Secure the Bronze

It was so exciting to watch Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Nathan Bartholomay deliver two strong performances at this U.S. Championships. They have not had the best season, but they managed to pull it together for this event and they gave it everything that they had. Deanna and Nathan even attempted a throw quad in the free skate. Deanna was unable to land it, but it was still a fabulous showing for these two. They were given a total of 197.65 points along with the bronze medal.

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