Bradie Tennell competes in the women's free skate at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 on Feb. 23, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea.
The U.S. women have some ground to make up if they want to move into medal position and secure three spots for next year's figure skating world championships following the short program at this year's event in Milan.
Of the three skaters representing the U.S., 2018 national champion Bradie Tennell, 20, fared the best on Wednesday, finishing in seventh place. She skated a clean program, scoring 68.76, but sits nearly 12 points behind leader Carolina Kostner, of Italy, who scored a personal-best 80.27. Olympic gold medalist Alina Zagitova, 15, is in second place just .76 of a point behind Kostner, 31.
Tennell, who helped the U.S. win a team bronze and finished ninth in her Olympic debut last month, is competing at the senior world championships for the first time. She was seventh at the junior world championships in 2017.
Fellow Olympian Mirai Nagasu, 24, is in ninth place with a score of 65.21 in the short program. She performed a double axel rather than a triple at the beginning of the program and lost points when her triple-triple combination was downgraded.
Mariah Bell, 21, who was named as a replacement to the team after Karen Chen withdrew and Ashley Wagner declined an invitation, is in 17th with a score of 59.15.
The top two U.S. women’s finishes must equal no greater than 13 or Team USA will be allowed just two spots instead of the maximum three at the 2019 world championships.