Bradie Tennell performs at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating: Skate America on Oct. 20, 2018 in Everett, Wash.
It came down to execution for Bradie Tennell.
Always confident, the reigning U.S. national champion opened the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating season Saturday at Skate America in Everett, Washington, with a couple of glitches that are easy to clean up.
Tennell, who won a team bronze and was ninth individually at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, displayed great tempo and flow, but possibly lacking the flair of her peers. She had a significant hiccup on an opening combination and registered a score of 61.72, putting her in fifth place entering Sunday’s free skate. What was supposed to be a triple Lutz-triple toe loop combo ended up having just a single toe loop.
Defending Skate America champion Satoko Miyahara led a strong Japanese showing, grabbing the lead with a score of 73.86. Kaori Sakamoto of Japan is second at 71.29, with Russia’s Sofia Samodurova third with 64.41 and Japan’s Marin Honda fourth at 62.74.
Megan Wessenberg turned in a very good skate in her Grand Prix debut. The Massachusetts native stumbled on a triple Lutz early, but that was the only noteworthy flaw as she earned a score of 60.20, easily her best of the young season, and is in sixth place.
Skate America was Starr Andrews’ first time on the Grand Prix ice on the senior level. The 17-year-old is seen as the brightest future hope in the early preparations for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. However, she had a fall on a double axel in an otherwise solid performance and had to settle for a score of 56.03, putting her in ninth place.
Before Andrews was a figure skating sensation, she was a social media star. In 2010 — at just 9 years old — a YouTube video of her skating to Willow Smith’s “Whip My Hair” went viral, garnering 54 million views.
She made a splash at the U.S. Championships in January, where she flashed her potential and electrified the crowd during the free skate in San Jose, California. The Los Angeles-area native finished sixth in San Jose after taking second at the U.S. junior nationals.
During two previous events this season, Andrews performed better in the short program than the free skate. She was second after the short program in the Asian Open Figure Skating Trophy and fifth in the Autumn Classic International, before finishing fifth and seventh, respectively.
In the ice dancing rhythm dance, Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue, who finished fourth in PyeongChang, flashed the form that had them favored to win Skate America. With the only real flaw seeming to be when Hubbell fell at the end of the performance — her skate appeared to cut Donohue’s left middle finger — the pair surged into the lead with a score of 78.43 entering Sunday’s free skate.
Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri of Italy are second with a score of 75.01, while Tiffani Zagorski and Jonathan Guerreiro of Russia are third at 73.30.
Americans Lorraine McNamara and Quinn Carpenter, skating next-to-last, turned in a routine worthy of their positioning. The duo is fourth at 72.44, while Karina Manta and Joe Johnson showed a great spark and are 10th with a score of 51.89.
The short program was renamed rhythm dance since the Olympics, perhaps as a push to emphasize the rhythm part of the program.