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Team USA Weekend Preview: March 15, 2013

By Paul D. Bowker | March 15, 2013, 2 p.m. (ET)
Ashley Wagner 
Ashley Wagner skates in the ladies short program during the Skate America competition at the ShoWare Center on Oct. 20, 2012 in Kent, Washington.

It’s that time of the year … winter sports are wrapping up with the World Figure Skating Championships in Canada, the World Women’s Curling Championships in Latvia and some World Cup ski races taking place around the world, while summer sports — baseball, judo, triathlon, diving and more — are starting to kick into season. Check out this week’s Team USA Weekend Preview for all of the details.

FIGURE SKATING

World Figure Skating Championships, March 10-17, London, Ont., Canada

Olympic silver medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White hit a world-record score Thursday at the World Figure Skating Championships in London, Ont. Their short dance score of 77.12 put them in first place and also was the best short dance score in world championship history.

The five-time U.S. champions are attempting to reclaim the world championship they last won in 2011.

U.S. men’s champion Max Aaron, who is making his world championship debut, enters the free program Friday in eighth place. He landed a quad en route to scoring 70.24 points in the short program. Ross Miner is in 14th place. The top U.S. pairs entering the free program are national silver medalists Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim, who are in 12th place. U.S. champions Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir are in 13th with the free skate today.

Ashley Wagner was in fifth place in the women’s competition following a short program score of 63.98 on Thursday. Gracie Gold, making her worlds debut, was in ninth place. The women’s free program is Saturday.

TV: 8:30 a.m.-10 p.m. and 11 p.m.-12:30 a.m. ET Friday; 4:30 p.m.-6 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.-11:30 p.m. Saturday, Universal Sports

SKIING

Audi FIS Alpine World Cup Finals, March 13-17, Lenzerheide, Switzerland

Ted Ligety, who has already clinched the World Cup title in giant slalom, will go after yet another podium finish in the event on Saturday at the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup Finals in Switzerland. Ligety finished his super-G season Thursday with a seventh-place spot in the standings.

Teen skiing star Mikaela Shiffrin will race in the women’s slalom Saturday. She is in second place in the season standings. The World Cup Finals conclude Sunday with Ligety and David Chodounsky racing in the men’s slalom, and Julia Mancuso and Shiffrin in the women’s giant slalom. Mancuso finished second in the super-G standings after Thursday‘s race was canceled due to poor weather conditions.

TV: 9 a.m.-10 a.m. and 11 a.m.-noon ET Saturday, Universal Sports

Also in skiing:

FIS World Cup Freestyle Skiing, men and women, March 15-17, Are, Sweden

Webcast: 5 a.m. ET Saturday and 9:30 a.m. Sunday, universalsports.com

FIS World Cup Ski Jumping, men and women, March 14-15, Trondheim, Norway, and March 16-17, Oslo, Norway

Webcast: 9:30 a.m. ET Sunday, universalsports.com

FIS World Cup Nordic Combined, March 15-16, Oslo, Norway

Webcast: 4:30 a.m. ET Saturday, universalsports.com

FIS World Cup Cross Country, men and women, March 16-17, Oslo, Norway

Webcast: 9:15 a.m. ET Saturday and 6:45 a.m. Sunday, universalsports.com

IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup, March 14-21, Sochi

CURLING

Titlis Glacier Mountain World Women’s Curling Championship, March 16-24, Riga, Latvia

The United States rink, captained by Olympian Erika Brown, will begin play Saturday against Italy in the 2013 Titlis Glacier Mountain World Women’s Curling Championship, presented by Ford Motor Company of Canada. Team USA is one of 12 nations competing at the Volvo Sports Centre in Riga, Latvia.

Brown is a 1998 Olympian and a two-time world medalist. She is competing at the worlds for the seventh time. Also on the team: Debbie McCormick, a three-time Olympian and 2003 world gold medalist; Jessica Schultz, a 2006 Olympian; Ann Swisshelm, a 2002 Olympian and 2003 world gold medalist; and Sarah Anderson, a member of the 2012 Winter Youth Olympic team.

Following Saturday’s opening-round match, the United States will face Germany and Sweden on Sunday, Denmark and Canada on Monday, Switzerland and Japan on Tuesday, Latvia and China on Wednesday, and Scotland and Russia on Thursday. The medal round will be held March 24.

TV: 12:30 p.m. ET Monday, Universal Sports

Webcast: 1 p.m. ET Saturday, universalsports.com

Also in curling:

USA Curling Mixed National Championship, March 16-23, Willmar, Minn.

World Curling Tour, Pomeroy Inn & Suites Prairie Showdown, March 14-17, Grande Prairie, Alberta

SNOWBOARDING

FIS World Cup Snowboarding, men’s and women’s slopestyle, March 15-16, Spindleruv Mlyn, Czech Republic

The boarding begins Friday for slopestylers in the FIS World Cup in Spindleruv Mlyn, Czech Republic. The competition goes through Saturday.

Webcast: 9 a.m. ET Saturday, universalsports.com

Also in snowboarding:

FIS World Cup, men’s and women’s snowboard cross, March 15-17, Veysonnaz, Switzerland

FIS World Cup, men’s and women’s parallel giant slalom, March 16, La Molina, Spain

Webcast: 7 a.m. ET Saturday, universalsports.com

SPEEDSKATING

American Cup Short Track Speedskating Final, March 15-17, Omaha, Neb.

The American Cup Short Track Speedskating Final will take place from Friday through Sunday at the Moylan Tranquility Iceplex in Omaha, Neb. The National Age Group Short Track Speedskating Championships will be held at the same time.

BASEBALL

World Baseball Classic, March 8-19, various sites

The United States will play Puerto Rico on Friday in an elimination game of the World Baseball Classic in Miami. A 3-1 loss Thursday to the Dominican Republic at Marlins Park placed Team USA in the elimination game.

If Team USA wins Friday night, it will move on to a seeding game Saturday at Marlins Park. The championship round of the tournament is Sunday through Tuesday at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

San Francisco Giants pitcher Ryan Vogelsong will start for Team USA in its game Friday, the second time in a week that it has faced an elimination game. The United States defeated Canada to move past the first round.

“We’ve done this before and I really don’t have to tell them anything,” Team USA manager Joe Torre said after Thursday’s loss to the unbeaten Dominicans. “It was a tough game tonight and they beat our closer (Craig Kimbrel of the Atlanta Braves). There’s not much you can say. … I mean, I’m not going to have to talk to our guys. They came ready to play and they continue to play hard.”

TV: 7 p.m. ET Friday, MLB Network and ESPN Deportes

BIATHLON

IBU World Cup, March 14-17, Khanty-Manslysk, Russia

Susan Dunklee finished 29th in the women’s 7.5-kilometer sprint Thursday, opening the final World Cup event of the season in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. Annelies Cook was 36th and Sara Studebaker was 66th.

Tim Burke, Lowell Bailey, Leif Nordgren and Russell Currier were to race in the men’s 10k sprint Friday. The men’s and women’s pursuits will be held Saturday, followed by the mass start races Sunday.

“Even though it is the final stretch of the season, I am still experimenting with different ways to pace my race,” said Dunklee, who will race in the women’s pursuit with Cook. “Today (Thursday) I learned a little more about when and where to push over the tops of the hills.“

FENCING

World Cup, women’s saber, March 15, Antalya, Turkey

Mariel Zagunis, who has won medals in each of her last four competitions including two individual golds, will be back in action Friday at the Antalya World Cup in Turkey. In the last two women’s saber World Cups, Zagunis has won individual gold and team bronze. A three-time Olympian, she is the world’s top-ranked women’s saber fencer. At the Bologna World Cup two weeks ago, U.S. teammate Ibtihaj Muhammad won silver.

Also in fencing:

World Cup, men’s epee, March 15, Tallinn, Estonia

Grand Prix, men’s foil, March 16, Venice, Italy

North American Cup, March 15-18, Reno, Nev.

JUDO

Pan American Open, March 16-17, Montevideo, Uruguay

Olympic gold medalist Kayla Harrison heads back into international competition this weekend at the Pan American Open in Montevideo, Uruguay. Harrison heads a U.S. team of 13 women and 12 men competing in Uruguay and Argentina the next two weeks.

Other athletes include two-time Olympian Travis Stevens, Angelica Delgado, Kathleen Sell, George Truong and Myles Porter, who earned a silver medal at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

TRIATHLON

ITU Sarasota Pan American Cup, March 16, Sarasota, Fla.

Kaitlin Donner, who placed third in the women’s race in last weekend’s ITU event in Clermont, Fla., and Kaleb VanOrt, who placed eighth, will battle an international field of 70 on Saturday in the ITU Sarasota Pan American Cup. Other U.S. athletes include Alicia Kaye, Katie Hursey, Sara McLarty, Luke Farkas, Joe Maloy, Tommy Zaferes and 2012 USA Triathlon Rookie of the Year Lukas Verzbicas.

The race will cover Olympic distances of a 1,500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike race and 10km run. Four Olympians are scheduled to compete, including Portugal’s Joao Pereira.

GYMNASTICS

French International, March 16-17, La Roche sur Yon, France

Olympic bronze medalist Danell Leyva and 2012 Olympian Jake Dalton will be among the U.S. gymnasts competing Saturday and Sunday at the French International. Dalton will compete in the floor exercise, still rings, vault and horizontal bar. Leyva will compete in the pommel horse, parallel bars and horizontal bar.

Other U.S. athletes are Steven Legendre (floor exercise) and Alex Naddour (pommel horse). The competition will include Olympic pommel horse champion Krisztian Berki of Hungary and Olympic vault champion Yang Hak-Seon of South Korea.

Also in gymnastics:

2013 Acro Cup, March 16-17, Kearney, Mo.

Kyle Shewfelt Festival, March 15-17, Calgary, Canada

DIVING

FINA Diving World Series, March 15-17, Beijing

Troy Dumais, a bronze medalist at the London 2012 Olympic Games, and younger brother Dwight Dumais will team up to compete in the men’s synchronized 3-meter event Friday at the FINA Diving World Series season opener in Beijing. Troy Dumais also will compete Saturday in the individual 3-meter.

EQUESTRIAN

FEI World Cup Vaulting Final, March 14-17, Braunchweig, Germany

Gabe Aniello is competing against five other men vaulters in the FEI World Cup Vaulting Final in Braunchweig, Germany. He is the first U.S. vaulter to qualify for the World Cup Final. He will vault on Pino del Rio. Aniello placed 10th at the 2012 FEI World Vaulting Championship.

Also in equestrian:

WEF Dressage Classic, March 14-17, Wellington, Fla.

TRACK AND FIELD

NYC Half Marathon, March 17, New York City

Three-time Olympian Bernard Lagat will be among thousands of runners in the field at the New York City Half Marathon on Sunday. The 38-year-old Lagat, a two-time Olympic medalist, has never raced in a half marathon. He regained his American record in the indoor 2-mile race in February at the Millrose Games.

The 13.1-mile race goes from Central Park to South Street Seaport. Meb Keflezighi, an American who won the 2009 NYC Marathon, withdrew from the race earlier this week in order to recover from a calf injury and prepare for the Boston Marathon.

TeamUSA.org caught up with Lagat earlier this week.

Also in track:

Pan American Race Walk Cup Trials and USA Masters 20km Race Walk Championship, March 17, Huntington Beach, Calif.

WRESTLING

Armed Forces Wrestling Championships, March 16-17, Fort Dix, N.J.

Greco-Roman Olympic wrestlers Spenser Mango, Justin Lester and Oscar Wood will be among those competing Saturday and Sunday in the Armed Forces Wrestling Championships in Fort Dix, N.J. Mango, a two-time Olympian, will wrestle at 60 kilograms/132 pounds. Lester, a 2012 Olympian, will compete at 74kg/163 and Wood, a 2004 Olympian, will compete at 84kg/185. Competition will be held in freestyle and Greco-Roman. The U.S. Army is the defending team champion in both disciplines.

SHOOTING

ISSF World Cup, March 17-23, Acapulco, Mexico

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Vincent Hancock will be among 13 USA Shooting athletes competing in the first ISSF World Cup event of the year beginning Sunday in Acapulco, Mexico. The tournament is in the shotgun discipline only. The Acapulco stop is the first of four shotgun World Cups this year.

Other U.S. athletes include Jon Michael McGrath, Frank Thompson, Haley Dunn and Jaiden Grinnell. Five-time Olympic medalist Kim Rhode will not compete in the spring World Cup events because she is awaiting the birth of her first child. The tournament features the debut of new World Cup rules in which semifinalists compete on a reduced number of stations and targets, and qualification scores are not carried into the semifinal round.

BEACH VOLLEYBALL

USA Volleyball Beach Collegiate Challenge, March 14-17, Chula Vista, Calif.

Top-ranked Pepperdine University will battle Nebraska, Florida State, CSU Bakersfield and Grand Canyon University in the USA Volleyball Beach Collegiate Challenge through Sunday. The tournament is being held at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. Peppardine, which won the first-ever AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball National Championships in 2012, features All-Americans Summer Ross, Lilla Frederick and Kim Hill.

Pepperdine began the tournament Thursday with a 3-2 win over Florida State. Frederick and Hill combined for a 21-13, 21-15 win at No. 1. FSU defeated Nebraska, 4-1.

CYCLING

USA Cycling Pro Mountain Bike Cross Country Tour, US Cup Triple Crown-Bonelli Park, San Dimas, Calif.

The second stop on the USA Cycling Pro XCT will be Saturday in San Dimas, Calif., where the US Cup Triple Crown-Bonelli Park will be held. Daniel McConnell leads the men’s standings and Rebecca Henderson is the leading woman after one race.

Also in cycling:

Pro Mountain Bike Gravity Tour, Reaper Madness Downhill & Super D, March 15-17, Boulder City, Nev.

USA Cycling NCC, Cigar City Brewing Criterium, March 16, Tampa, Fla.

Story courtesy Red Line Editorial, Inc. Paul D. Bowker is a freelance contributor for TeamUSA.org. Material from various news services and press releases from National Governing Bodies was used to compile  this report. This story was not subject to the approval of any National Governing Bodies.

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