By Brandon Penny | Jan. 25, 2016, 4:57 p.m. (ET)
Madison Chock and Evan Bates compete in the short dance at the 2016 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Jan. 22, 2016 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.


Update: As of Jan. 28, Nathan Chen (who was originally selected to the team) withdrew from the world championships due to injury. His replacement, Grant Hochstein, is reflected below.

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- After more than 130 programs were performed over the course of four days, a new class of national champions was crowed at the 2016 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships. The competition at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota, also determined which athletes will represent the United States at the 2016 World Figure Skating Championships, held March 28-April 3 in Boston.

The world championships returns to the U.S. this year for the first time in seven years, and Team USA has high hopes for its performances on home ice. Boston’s TD Garden holds a special place in the hearts of many of the world team members as it is where 15 athletes qualified for the Sochi Olympic Winter Games just two years ago, and where such current stars as Gracie Gold and Alex Shibutani were born.

With storylines aplenty – such as which men will land quads (and how many) and will the women end their medal drought – there is no shortage of reasons to follow Team USA as it competes against the best the world has to offer in two months’ time.

Here’s everything you need to know about the 16 athletes competing in Boston:


Ladies:

Polina Edmunds

Hometown: San Jose, California

Training town: San Jose, California

Age during world championships: 17

Boston will mark: Third world championships (2014, ’15)

Major accomplishments: Gold medal at 2015 Four Continents Championships; Eighth at 2014 and ‘15 world championships; Ninth at Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games; Silver at 2014 and ‘16 U.S. championships

Last time in Boston… At age 15, Edmunds was the surprise silver medalist at the 2014 U.S. championships and qualified for her first Olympic Games.

On her progress since her senior debut in 2014: “In 2014 I was 15 years old, so I it was a bit easier than it is now. Of course I've been going through growth changes the past two years and it has its ups and downs. I've still felt very strong and able to land my jumps in competition, regardless of everything else.”

Gracie Gold

Hometown: Chicago

Training town: El Segundo, California

Age during world championships: 20

Boston will mark: Fourth world championships (2013, ’14, ’15)

Major accomplishments: Six grand prix medals (two golds, two silvers, two bronzes); Fourth at 2014 Olympic Winter Games; Fourth at 2015 world championships; Gold at 2014 and ‘16 U.S. championships; Bronze at 2014 Olympic team event

Last time in Boston… In her second year as a senior skater, Gold won the U.S. title, scoring what was then the highest-ever short program and free skate scores in event history. Gold’s win qualified her for her first Olympics.

On competing at this year’s world championships: “Boston is where I was born. I’ve had skating success there, it’s where I won my first title and therefore qualified for the Olympics, and I’m really excited to bring my ‘A game’ to worlds this year in Boston. No one’s standing in my way and so I really want to snag a medal and be on that podium at worlds.”

Ashley Wagner

Hometown: Alexandria, Virginia

Training town: Artesia, California

Age during world championships: 24

Boston will mark: Sixth world championships (2008, ’12, ’13, ’14, ’15)

Major accomplishments: Twelve grand prix event medals (four golds, three silvers, five bronzes); Silver at 2013 Grand Prix Final; Bronze at 2014 and ’15 Grand Prix Finals; Gold at 2012 Four Continents Championships; Fourth at 2012 world championships; Fifth at 2013 and ’15 world championships; Seventh at 2014 Olympics; Gold at 2012, ’13 and ’15 U.S. championships; Bronze at 2014 Olympic team event

Last time in Boston… Wagner’s experience at the 2014 U.S. championships was less than ideal. She faulted in both programs and finished fourth, putting her Olympic dreams in jeopardy for the second time. Her international achievements helped her case and she was named to the Olympic team.

On reaching that elusive world championships podium: “The international scene is so strong and it’s getting stronger every single year and I think that it is never a question of whether or not the U.S. ladies are capable of being on that podium; it’s more a question of when we’re going to step up to that challenge. … This year is going to be about going out there and nailing those triple-triple combinations, nailing those technical marks, performing the hell out of those programs. That is what’s going to get us onto the world podium, and that is a lot to ask of one person, but I think we’re definitely capable of putting that out.”

 

Men:

Max Aaron

Hometown: Scottsdale, Arizona

Training town: Colorado Springs, Colorado

Age during world championships: 24

Boston will mark: Third world championships (2013, ’14)

Major accomplishments: Gold medal at 2015 Skate America; Bronze at 2014 Skate Canada; Bronze at 2013 Skate America; Gold at 2012, ’13 and ’14 U.S. International Figure Skating Classic; Seventh at 2013 world championships; Eighth at 2014 world championships; Gold at 2013 U.S. championships; Silver at 2016 U.S. championships; Bronze at 2014 U.S. championships

Last time in Boston… A year after vaulting from fourth in the short program to winning the U.S. title, Aaron was unable to defend his gold medal at the 2014 U.S. championships, instead finishing third and missing the two-man Olympic team.

On almost hanging up his skates after last season: “When I decided to continue in the sport, I decided I would do whatever it takes to be the best figure skater I can be. I have my struggles but I’m doing whatever it takes to be an artist, to be the best technical jumper I can be, the best spinner I can be. Nothing is easy about that but I’m doing whatever I can to be the best.”

Grant Hochstein

Hometown: Artesia, California

Training town: Artesia, California

Age during world championships: 25

Boston will mark: First world championships

Major accomplishments: Fourth at 2015 Cup of China; Fourth at 2015 NHK Trophy; Seventh at 2015 Nebelhorn Trophy; Silver at 2009 Junior Grand Prix Hungary; Fifth at 2010 junior world championships; Pewter (fourth) at 2016 U.S. championships

Last time in Boston… At the U.S. championships two years ago, Hochstein competed at his fifth consecutive senior nationals and finished 11th. 

On reaching the podium at U.S. championships and competing at worlds: “Finishing on the podium at nationals this year felt like a justification for all the hard work I've been putting in. I've been training myself both mentally and physically all season. My confidence has been building with each competition that I've done this year. I finally know how to compete at major high-level competitions. ... I'm very fortunate to have the opportunity to compete at worlds this year. I feel terribly that Nathan has his injury and required surgery and I wish him a speedy, but more importantly, full recovery. Being chosen as a substitute is a high honor for me and again, I feel a justification for the work I've done and consistency I've shown this season. I'm going to train just as hard and smartly as I did for the U.S. championships and I can't wait to compete for Team USA in Boston!”

Adam Rippon

Hometown: Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania

Training town: Artesia, California

Age during world championships: 26

Boston will mark: Fourth world championships (2010, ’12, ’15)

Major accomplishments: Gold medal at 2010 Four Continents Championships; Silver at 2013 Skate America; Bronze at 2010 Skate Canada; Bronze at 2009 Trophee Eric Bompard; Sixth at 2010 world championships; Eighth at 2015 world championships; Gold at 2016 U.S. championships; Silver at 2012 and ’15 U.S. championships

Last time in Boston… Rippon finished third and fourth at his two grand prix assignments in late 2013, appearing to be a strong contender for the 2014 Olympic team. However, his performances at the 2014 U.S. championships didn’t go as well and he ended the event in eighth.

On winning his first national title: “To be sitting here eight years after I won my junior title (also in St. Paul), I can only say that it has been a really long road filled with ups and downs. I talked with my coach before I came here, Rafael Arutunian, and he told me that I had one goal and that was to skate clean. … I was really glad that I was able to do that today and come out on top and finally be a national champion.”

 

Ice Dance:

Madison Chock and Evan Bates

Hometown: Novi, Michigan (Chock); Ann Arbor, Michigan (Bates)

Training town: Novi, Michigan

Age during world championships: 23 (Chock); 27 (Bates)

Boston will mark: Fifth world championships for Chock (2011 w/ Greg Zuerlein; 2013, ’14, ’15 w/ Bates); Sixth world championships for Bates (2009, ’10 w/ Emily Samuelson)

Major accomplishments: Six grand prix event medals (three golds, one silver, two bronzes); Silver at 2015 world championships; Silver at 2014 and ’15 Grand Prix Finals; Silver at 2015 Four Continents Championships; Fifth at 2014 world championships; Eighth at 2014 Olympics; Gold at 2015 U.S. championships; Silver at 2013, ’14 and ’16 U.S. championships

Last time in Boston… Chock and Bates won their second consecutive U.S. silver medal to Meryl Davis and Charlie White at the 2014 championships and qualified for the 2014 Olympic team, the first Olympic appearance for Chock and second for Bates.

On their performances in St. Paul and building on their 2015 world silver medal: “As far as performance goes, it was the best we’ve skated all season long and that was the main goal for us coming into here. So on that front, it was a success,” Bates said. “We’re definitely hungry for the world title this year. We’re going to keep pushing it for the rest of the season and we have a lot more room to grow still,” Chock said.

Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue

Hometown: Okemos, Michigan (Hubbell); Madison, Connecticut (Donohue)

Training town: Montreal

Age during world championships: 25 (Hubbell); 25 (Donohue)

Boston will mark: Third world championships (2012, ’15)

Major accomplishments: Five grand prix medals (one gold, four bronzes); Gold at 2014 Four Continents Championships; Sixth at 2015 Grand Prix Final; Tenth at 2015 world championships; Third at 2012, ’15 and ’16 U.S. championships

Last time in Boston… The 2013-14 season was plagued with injury for Hubbell, who suffered from a concussion early on in the season before sustaining a torn labrum. They managed to overcome both and finish fourth at the U.S. championships, falling just shy of a spot on the Olympic team.

On their growth this season: “We feel the most confident we've ever felt just in our own skating and how we can control our performance every time, our consistency,” Hubbell said. “That's a great feeling. I think that we're in the right place to reach all of our dreams. We're proud of what we did.”

Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani

Hometown: Ann Arbor, Michigan

Training town: Canton, Michigan

Age during world championships: 21 (Maia); 24 (Alex)

Boston will mark: Sixth world championships (2011, ’12, ’13, ’14, ’15)

Major accomplishments: Eleven grand prix medals (two golds, four silvers, five bronzes); Bronze at 2011 world championships; Silver at 2011 Four Continents Championships; Bronze at 2015 Four Continents Championships; Fifth at 2015 world championships; Ninth at 2014 Olympics; Gold at 2016 U.S. championships; Silver at 2011, ’12 and ’15 U.S. championships

Last time in Boston… Returning to the city where Alex was born, the Shibutanis finished third at the 2014 U.S. championships, behind Davis and White, and Chock and Bates. It was their fourth consecutive medal at senior nationals and helped them qualify for the 2014 Olympics.

On the trajectory of their career: “Maia and I have been skating for 12 years,” Alex said. “It's been a long time. When we started, the dream was always to go to the Olympics and we accomplished that in 2014. I think that experience really propelled us to where we are standing today. Once we accomplished that goal it was looking forward to how we could really grow ourselves. We were really confident in what we had accomplished but it was about figuring out how we could develop so we could be the best we could possibly be. The past two years has really been just that. Maia and I are finding ourselves."

 

Pairs:

Tarah Kayne and Daniel O’Shea

Hometown: Fort Myers, Florida (Kayne); Gurnee, Illinois (O’Shea)

Training town: Ellenton, Florida

Age during world championships: 22 (Kayne); 24 (O’Shea)

Boston will mark: First world championships

Major accomplishments: Silver medal at 2014 Four Continents Championships; Gold at 2015 U.S. International Figure Skating Classic; Bronze at 2014 and ’15 Golden Spin of Zagreb; Gold at 2016 U.S. championships; Bronze at 2015 U.S. championships

Last time in Boston… Kayne and O’Shea were sixth at the 2014 U.S. championships in only their second season together.

On making their first world team: “We’re really thrilled to have made the world team this year,” Kayne said. “It’s definitely been one of our goals, especially starting this season healthy after my surgery last year and especially because worlds is in America this year. It’s just a really exciting experience for us.”

Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim

Hometown: Addison, Illinois (Scimeca); San Diego (Knierim)

Training town: Colorado Springs, Colorado

Age during world championships: 24 (Scimeca); 28 (Knierim)

Boston will mark: Third world championships (2013, ’15)

Major accomplishments: Bronze medal at 2014 Four Continents Championships; Silver at 2015 Skate America; Bronze at 2015 NHK Trophy; Seventh at 2015 world championships; Seventh at 2015 Grand Prix Final; Gold at 2015 U.S. championships; Silver at 2013 and ’16 U.S. championships

Last time in Boston… One year after taking the silver medal at nationals, Scimeca and Knierim finished fourth at the 2014 U.S. championships in Boston, failing to earn either of the two spots Team USA had for the pairs competition in Russia.

On qualifying for their third world championships: “We’re totally pumped,” Scimeca said. “This is our third worlds together, and we’re looking at climbing the ladder there. And we are going to work together with Tarah and Danny to get three spots (for U.S. pairs teams) for next year. I think if we do that we’ll both have a really good showing and I’m totally excited.”