Two-time U.S. champion Jeremy Abbott found his rhythm again at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. After a surprise and disappointing fourth place finish last year that took him off the World team, he skated the best short program of the evening to take a commanding lead into the free skate.
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PLAY-BY-PLAY: Men’s short program
Abbott hit all of his jumping passes with ease, opening with a triple flip-triple toe and a smooth triple axel. He impressed not only with his jumps but also with his character and performance throughout the program. And the judges rewarded his energetic short program with a score of 90.23, the only 90+ score of the competition, to catapult him into first place, over seven points ahead of the rest of the field.
Second to skate in the field of 20, Abbott’s training mate, Adam Rippon, set the standard early on, putting down a clean program that included a triple flip-triple toe and a clean triple axel, a jump that has given him trouble throughout his career. The highlight of his program was his trademark Rippon lutz – a triple lutz with both arms above his head – and he earned an 82.94 and sits in second.
A very recent coaching change seems to have reinvigorated Armin Mahbanoozadeh, who is currently in third after a clean short program. After struggling all season with his jumps, he made a move to Colorado Springs for a fresh perspective, and it paid off in the short. His score of 80.66 puts him just over two points behind Rippon.
Defending bronze medalist Ross Miner had some trouble on the landing of his triple lutz-triple toe combination, but he held on and skated the rest of his program cleanly. The slight error on the combination cost him points on execution, giving him a 78.90 going into the free skate.
Fourth at the past two World Junior Championships, Keegan Messing skated a clean short program to earn a 76.66, putting him in fifth. Max Aaron hit the only clean quad jump of the short program, landing a solid quad salchow to put him in sixth.
The reigning U.S. silver medalist, Richard Dornbush, had a disastrous short program and finds himself in 17th place going into the free skate.
MEN (after the short program)
1. Jeremy Abbott – 90.23
2. Adam Rippon – 82.94
3. Armin Mahbanoozadeh – 80.66
4. Ross Miner – 78.90
5. Keegan Messing – 76.66
6. Max Aaron – 76.01
7. Jason Brown – 75.68
8. Douglas Razzano – 72.50
9. Stephen Carriere – 71.82
10. Grant Hochstein – 67.89
11. Jonathan Cassar – 67.86
12. Brandon Mroz – 67.47
13. Scott Dyer – 66.49
14. Joshua Farris – 65.43
15. Alexander Johnson – 57.73
16. William Brewster – 55.70
17 Richard Dornbush – 51.59
18. Alexander Aiken – 49.05
19. Daniel Raad – 47.11
20. Wesley Campbell – 45.93
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