Predictions start with Senior Pairs (SP starts at on the evening of Thursday 1/19):
GOLD: Haven Denney/Brandon Frazier
SILVER: Ashley Cain/Timothy LeDuc
BRONZE: Tarah Kayne/Daniel O’Shea
DARK HORSE: Marissa Castelli/Mervin Tran
Both Cain/LeDuc and Denney/Frazier have been bringing it competitively this season better than most U.S. teams, but I’m leaning Denney/Frazier for gold because they have more to draw on in terms of experience (Cain/LeDuc just formed over the summer).
In any case, keep an eye out for the team of Deanna Stellato/Nate Bartholomay… he’s formerly of the 2014 Olympic team (w/Felicia Zhang), she formerly of the singles skating world—if you remember skating at the most recent turn of the century, that is. Persistent injuries took her out of the sport at age 17, but 16 years later—yes, age 33 now—she’s back! I’m not sure of their chances this year, but then again, the good thing about the always-fluid state of
pair skating is that that Nats podium often appears wide open…
Pairs are followed by Senior Ladies (SP starts at Thursday evening, right after the Opening Ceremony):
GOLD: Ashley Wagner
SILVER: Mariah Bell
BRONZE: Gracie Gold
DARK HORSE: Amber Glenn
Wagner because it’s hers to lose this year.
Bell because it’s time for her to make a big move up the ladder. Skate
and the silver medal she earned there proves she’s got it in her; the injuries
keeping Edmunds and Pierce out are paving the way as well.
Gold for bronze because she’s had a rough year thus far and while recent reports indicate she’s ready to claw her way back, I don’t trust that she’ll be all the way there yet.
Glenn over Mirai Nagasu for that Dark Horse slot because she was a better competitor so far this year. Mirai’s programs this year I like better than any other recent season, and I’m always rooting for her to put it all together, especially at Nats, but… well… we’ll see.