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Five For Friday: Figure Skating

By Paul D. Bowker | Jan. 22, 2016, 12:01 a.m. (ET)

Ashley Wagner performs during the ladies' short program at the 2015 ISU World Figure Skating Championships at Shanghai Oriental Sports Center on March 26, 2015 in Shanghai.

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Championship free skates in all four disciplines will bring the 2016 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships to a breathtaking conclusion this weekend in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Among those skating in the women’s final Saturday night at the Xcel Energy Center are 2014 Olympians Ashley Wagner, Gracie Gold and Polina Edmunds.

Other finals are ice dance and pairs Saturday, and men’s on Sunday afternoon. The short programs in ice dancing and men’s are Friday, while women’s and pairs began Thursday.

The women’s competition features three-time U.S. champion Wagner, who finished seventh in the individual competition in the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, and Gold, the 2014 U.S. champion who finished fourth in Sochi. Wagner and Gold finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in the 2015 ISU Grand Prix Final in Barcelona, Spain. Others in the women’s field include 2010 Olympian Mirai Nagasu and 2015 U.S. bronze medalist Karen Chen.

Ice dance Olympians Madison Chock and Evan Bates are seeking their second consecutive national championship after winning the silver medal in the Grand Prix Final. Battling them are five-time U.S. medalists and 2014 Olympic teammates Maia and Alex Shibutani. The pairs competition includes 2015 champions Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim, who earlier this season became the first U.S. pairs team to make the Grand Prix Final since 2007.

Adam Rippon, the 2015 silver medalist, and Max Aaron, the 2013 champion, headline a men’s field that is missing reigning U.S. champion Jason Brown and Joshua Farris due to injuries.

The national championships will determine roster spots for the U.S. team in the 2016 ISU World Figure Skating Championships, which begin March 28 at TD Garden in Boston. The United States will send three women, three men, three ice dance teams and two pairs teams to the world championships.

Nearly 400 skaters are competing in the national championships in novice, juvenile, intermediate, junior and senior divisions.

TV: 3-6 p.m. and 8-11 p.m. ET Saturday, 4-6 p.m. Sunday, NBC

Webcast: 10 a.m., 3:30 p.m., 8:30 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday, icenetwork.com

Paul D. Bowker is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.