As with the men's predictions, I'll start with some trivia/stats:
Oldest competitor: With Alissa Czisny out, this easily goes to Joelle Forte (26)
Youngest competitors: I’m not certain about this, as I was unable to find information on a few new faces, but Hannah Miller is the youngest of three 16 year-old entrants. (If you know of anyone younger, please feel free to correct me!)
Most appearances as a Senior: Mirai Nagasu, Ashley Wagner, and Caroline Zhang are all in their 6th consecutive seasons (debuted in ’08)
Longest time competing at Nationals as a Senior: Add 22 year-old Becky Bereswill to the above list—she debuted in ’08, competed in pairs for the 2010-11 season, missed last year’s Nats... but returns this year, competing again in singles.
Senior Rookies: Ashley Cain (last year’s Junior silver medalist), Gracie Gold (last year’s Junior Champion), Courtney Hicks (2011 Junior Champion), Amanda Hoffmann, and Hannah Miller (last year’s Junior bronze medalist)
New Withdrawal: Post-Czisny, there have been two—Vanessa Lam (announced last week; replaced by Laney Diggs), and last year’s 12th place finisher Leah Keiser (announced yesterday—ankle injury).
Here’s what else I know:
+ The time is ripe for Wagner to do what no
lady has done since 2007: win back-to-back national senior titles. This is the
first time in ages that I think it would be a true upset if she doesn’t repeat.
+ A below-par SP doesn’t count out Wagner... likewise, an above-par SP doesn’t count IN Nagasu.
+ With Czisny out for the season, that battle for silver is fiercer than ever. Gold seems to have the momentum behind her to claim 2nd in her senior debut (!!), but we’d better not forget...
· Agnes Zawadzki, who won the SP last year and ultimately took bronze.
· Christina Gao, who is having her Best Season Ever and surely is poised for a breakthrough this weekend after three straight 5th place finishes.
· And Nagasu, my dark horse for this event.
Still, Gold gets my vote... she and Wagner at Worlds this year could be our best shot at getting three spots for the
ladies in Sochi.
As for the rest of the top ten—I’d enjoy seeing Angela Wang, Haley Dunne, Samantha Cesario, Ashley Cain, and Becky Bereswill get in there.
So, predictions are:
GOLD: Ashley Wagner
SILVER: Gracie Gold
BRONZE: Christina Gao
And with that—let the senior events begin!!
First up is Pairs SP, which you can find on IceNetwork.com starting at 5PM Eastern time later today.