U.S. Men 2018-19 season (cont.) - news & updates

Sylvia

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Starting a thread for the second half of the season now that the 2019 U.S. Nationals men's entries are published...

Championship / Senior Men's Byes (8):
Jason Brown (Skokie Valley SC) [Team USA bio]
Nathan Chen (Salt Lake Figure Skating) [Team USA bio]
Tomoki Hiwatashi (DuPage FSC) [Team USA bio]
Alexander Johnson (Braemar-City of Lakes FSC) [Team USA bio]
Aleksei (Alex) Krasnozhon (Dallas FSC, Inc.) [Team USA bio]
Camden Pulkinen (Broadmoor SC, Inc.) [Team USA bio]
Andrew Torgashev (Broadmoor SC, Inc.) [Team USA bio]
Vincent Zhou (The Skating Club of San Francisco, Inc.) [Team USA bio]

Qualified via Sectionals (12):
Timothy Dolensky (Atlanta FSC) E1 [Team USA bio]
Sean Rabbitt (Glacier Falls FSC, Inc.) P1 [Team USA bio]
Jordan Moeller (Northern Ice SC) M1
Jimmy Ma (The SC of New York, Inc.) E2 [Team USA bio]
Sebastien Payannet (Los Angeles FSC) P2
Emmanuel Savary (Broadmoor SC, Inc.) M2
Kevin Shum (The Skating Club of Boston) E3
Daniel Kulenkamp (Coyotes SC of Arizona) P3
Ben Jalovick (Centennial 7k SC) M3
William Hubbart (St. Moritz ISC, Inc.) P4
Tony Lu (North Jersey FSC, Inc.) E4
Andrew Austin (Skokie Valley SC) M4

ETA:

Have both minimums for 2019 Worlds: Brown, Chen, Zhou, Dolensky, Johnson, Krasnozhon, Ma
Have both minimums for 4CC: Hiwatashi, Moeller, Pulkinen, Rabbitt, Torgashev
Age-eligible with minimums for Junior Worlds (competing senior at Nationals): Hiwatashi, Krasnozhon, Pulkinen, Torgashev
Age-eligible with minimums for Junior Worlds (4 are competing junior at Nationals): Ryan Dunk [Team USA bio], Dinh Tran [Team USA bio], Nicholas Hsieh [ISU bio], Eric Sjoberg [ISU bio (2017-18)], plus Matthew Nielsen (competing novice at Nationals)
 
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toddlj

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Let the prognosticating begin!

I'm rebooting my post from the other thread. Here are the top 10 US guys based on ISU Seasons Best. If I was a betting man, I'd bet the top three will end up as it is here. The 4th spot is totally up for grabs. A couple weeks ago I would have said Pulkinen... but then he had a disastrous LP at the JGPF. I wouldn't be shocked to see any of the 4-10 guys here (except perhaps Johnson and Ma) in 4th.

2 - 282.42 Nathan CHEN USA ISU Grand Prix Final 2018/19 07.12.2018
7 - 263.42 Jason BROWN USA ISU CS Golden Spin of Zagreb 2018 07.12.2018
17 - 234.25 Vincent ZHOU USA ISU CS Tallinn Trophy 2018 29.11.2018
30 - 223.95 Camden PULKINEN USA ISU JGP Cup of Austria 2018 31.08.2018
38 - 215.16 Tomoki HIWATASHI USA ISU JGP Ljubljana Cup 2018 05.10.2018
43 - 211.03 Alexei KRASNOZHON USA ISU GP Helsinki 2018 04.11.2018
47 - 209.02 Timothy DOLENSKY USA ISU CS Nebelhorn Trophy 2018 29.09.2018
54 - 206.10 Jimmy MA USA ISU CS US International FS Classic 2018 14.09.2018
60 - 201.63 Andrew TORGASHEV USA ISU JGP Amber Cup 2018 08.09.2018
62 - 199.75 Alexander JOHNSON USA ISU GP NHK Trophy 2018 10.11.2018
 
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RoseRed

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What are people thinking for JW? I expect Camden and Tomoki to be on the team, but I recall that Alexei K. said in an interview earlier in the season that he was interested/willing to go again this year despite competing seniors. His scores this season have been better than Andrew's, so we could get the same team as last year. I think in all likelihood it's those four guys in the mix.
 

Dobre

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Go, Emmanuel!

What are people thinking for JW?
I think the top three overall scores at Nationals from those four guys will go if the top three are still interested in going. Might depend on 1. how the results shake out and whether any have an argument for 4CCs, and 2. how healthy everyone is, both among the junior men and the top senior men.

I think it is 100% impossible to predict which of Kraznozhon, Pulkinen, Hiwatashi, & Torgashev will end up with the three highest scores at Nationals.
 

Debbie S

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I believe the JW team will be selected after the post-Nats training camp this year, with invitations based on performance at Nats and JGP/GP. Krasnozhon could get an invite to the camp, but I suspect the 3 who competed on the JGP and qualified for JGPF will get preference. And the top Juniors at Nats will likely also be invited. The talent is deep, will be a tough decision.
 

Marco

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2 - 282.42 Nathan CHEN USA ISU Grand Prix Final 2018/19 07.12.2018
7 - 263.42 Jason BROWN USA ISU CS Golden Spin of Zagreb 2018 07.12.2018
17 - 234.25 Vincent ZHOU USA ISU CS Tallinn Trophy 2018 29.11.2018
So sad to see Vincent so much behind. He stood up on most of his jumps / quads so far this season.
 

Jammers

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He's also under-rotating most of his jumps this season.
I blame Tom Z for much of that. He's obsessed with jumps but nothing else. Vincent needed work on his basics such as his skating skills and especially his speed which would have helped with his jumps but instead they pushed him to do quads like Nathan but he didn't have the basics that Nathan had plus Nathan rotates his jumps and now it's caught up with him. Sure he did manage to make the Olympic team with those quads but now he's struggling to be competitive and to even make the World team which after last season and all the retirements should have been a done deal.
 

ilovepaydays

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I blame Tom Z for much of that. He's obsessed with jumps but nothing else. Vincent needed work on his basics such as his skating skills and especially his speed which would have helped with his jumps but instead they pushed him to do quads like Nathan but he didn't have the basics that Nathan had plus Nathan rotates his jumps and now it's caught up with him. Sure he did manage to make the Olympic team with those quads but now he's struggling to be competitive and to even make the World team which after last season and all the retirements should have been a done deal.
If Tom Z. is obsessed with jumps and nothing else, shouldn’t that mean he is obsessed with them being done right?

Also, I thought the main point of their new “academy” was to have a system of developing complete skaters? I thought that group was required to do a skating skills session every day. I’ve seen videos of that whole group doing their “workout sessions”.
 

Jammers

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Tom Z skaters have always have mediocre skating skills. Rachael Flatt, Brandon Mroz, Max Aaron for instance. I can't think of too many of his skaters that had good skating skills and speed. Max was fast but probably got that from playing hockey which was years before he went to Tom.
 
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ilovepaydays

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I can't think of too many of his skaters that had good skating skills and speed.
Jeremy Abbott and Joshua Farris were students for many years. Joshua was fairly young when Tom Z. was his coach - unless Christy Krall/Damon Allen deserves that credit. Yuka Sato is more of a “package” coach.
 

insideedgeua

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If Tom Z. is obsessed with jumps and nothing else, shouldn’t that mean he is obsessed with them being done right?

Also, I thought the main point of their new “academy” was to have a system of developing complete skaters? I thought that group was required to do a skating skills session every day. I’ve seen videos of that whole group doing their “workout sessions”.
This is correct. There is a skills class every day for elite skaters. Vincent is doing these classes.
 

aftershocks

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Probably one of the mistakes for Vincent was concentrating so heavily on quads post the advent of Nathan Chen's record-breaking quad successes. Vincent should maybe have concentrated more on trying to perfect 2 or 3 quads rather than thinking he needed to match Nathan by competing five quads in his programs. Vincent missed scaling the trees because he was looking too far up to the mountains. He's so far failed to reach incremental achievable goals of overall consistency and full mastery of a few quads for the bonehead desire of somehow matching Nathan's quad records.

Even Nathan was smart enough to back off during his second senior season in realizing he couldn't bang out vast numbers of quads from beginning to end of a long season. It was only in Nathan's senior debut season that he went gung-ho with landing numerous quads at a time when quads were being over-rewarded. Nathan had nothing to lose in trying to make an impact at that time. By 2017 U.S. Nationals, Nathan was primed and confident and he made history, which then ended up making ISU honchos hurry to flip the IJS script.

So now with the new rules changes, why didn't Vincent and his team ratchet down his focus to concentrating on full-rotated mastery of just two (maybe three) quads, and also pay more attention to his artistic development? Vincent has previously landed a gorgeous quad-lutz triple combo! With the rules changes, he really only needed one additional fully rotated quad at the least, maybe two at the most to go along with the point-gathering quad-lutz triple combo. Quality vs quantity was the key message the ISU sent out. Why did Tom Z and crew fail to heed that message in their approach to Vincent's training? I think by scaling down his ambition to focus on two fully rotated quads (or at the outer limits, three) Vincent might be farther ahead now.

The point is that by trying to land many quads, Vincent began to falter on his rotations. The judges sent the message that would not be tolerated last season. So why not during the off-season focus mainly on 2 quads, with paying particular attention to ensuring the rotations were mastered?
 

Tahuu

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Have both minimums for 2019 Worlds: Brown, Chen, Zhou, Dolensky, Johnson, Krasnozhon, Ma
2 - 282.42 Nathan CHEN USA ISU Grand Prix Final 2018/19 07.12.2018
7 - 263.42 Jason BROWN USA ISU CS Golden Spin of Zagreb 2018 07.12.2018
17 - 234.25 Vincent ZHOU USA ISU CS Tallinn Trophy 2018 29.11.2018
43 - 211.03 Alexei KRASNOZHON USA ISU GP Helsinki 2018 04.11.2018
47 - 209.02 Timothy DOLENSKY USA ISU CS Nebelhorn Trophy 2018 29.09.2018
54 - 206.10 Jimmy MA USA ISU CS US International FS Classic 2018 14.09.2018
62 - 199.75 Alexander JOHNSON USA ISU GP NHK Trophy 2018 10.11.2018
It looks like Brown, Chen and Zhou will be on the world team considering their competitions. Though nearly all of Vincent's quads were < so far, he could land them and have a chance to beat Jason at nationals.
 

Jammers

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Probably one of the mistakes for Vincent was concentrating so heavily on quads post the advent of Nathan Chen's record-breaking quad successes. Vincent should maybe have concentrated more on trying to perfect 2 or 3 quads rather than thinking he needed to match Nathan by competing five quads in his programs. Vincent missed scaling the trees because he was looking too far up to the mountains. He's so far failed to reach incremental achievable goals of overall consistency and full mastery of a few quads for the bonehead desire of somehow matching Nathan's quad records.

Even Nathan was smart enough to back off during his second senior season in realizing he couldn't bang out vast numbers of quads from beginning to end of a long season. It was only in Nathan's senior debut season that he went gung-ho with landing numerous quads at a time when quads were being over-rewarded. Nathan had nothing to lose in trying to make an impact at that time. By 2017 U.S. Nationals, Nathan was primed and confident and he made history, which then ended up making ISU honchos hurry to flip the IJS script.

So now with the new rules changes, why didn't Vincent and his team ratchet down his focus to concentrating on full-rotated mastery of just two (maybe three) quads, and also pay more attention to his artistic development? Vincent has previously landed a gorgeous quad-lutz triple combo! With the rules changes, he really only needed one additional fully rotated quad at the least, maybe two at the most to go along with the point-gathering quad-lutz triple combo. Quality vs quantity was the key message the ISU sent out. Why did Tom Z and crew fail to heed that message in their approach to Vincent's training? I think by scaling down his ambition to focus on two fully rotated quads (or at the outer limits, three) Vincent might be farther ahead now.

The point is that by trying to land many quads, Vincent began to falter on his rotations. The judges sent the message that would not be tolerated last season. So why not during the off-season focus mainly on 2 quads, with paying particular attention to ensuring the rotations were mastered?
Because Tom Z is hung up on jumps and not the overall package of a skater. He should realize that Vincent is not Nathan and shouldn't have pushed him to do so many quads that he can't rotate.
 

aftershocks

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Well, it is also the skaters' choice to stick with such a coach.
:D Indeed. Max Aaron, Ryan Bradley, and Brandon Mroz all stayed with Tom Z, and really seemed to click with him, perhaps on a personal level. Ryan B was trained by Tom Z from a young age.

I lament that Ryan B didn't eventually leave Tom Z for someone who could have brought out his latent elegance, which was very much visible in him when he debuted at senior Nationals in 2000. Sadly, most vestiges of Ryan's very tempting long-legged graceful elegance were lost in subsequent seasons. :wuzrobbed
 

aftershocks

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Sure [Vincent] did manage to make the Olympic team with those quads
With a little bit of help from the judging, team selection committee, and less than expected fp performances at 2018 Nats by Adam, Max*, and Jason. *ETA :saint:

...[Vincent] could land them and have a chance to beat Jason at nationals.
Vincent will first have to fully rotate his quads before being able to land them successfully. :D And I doubt Vincent will be beating Jason Brown on components any time soon. ;)

layman said:
Alexei seems quite a bit taller than most male figure skaters (He is 177 cm/6 ft according to his ISU Bio page). Plus, he does not have the pencil thin physique of the top men. This affects the way his skating looks (it's easier for the elements to be perceived as messy)...
Yes, I understand, but in my conversation in the prior U.S. men's thread, I was referencing other skaters Alexei competed against who had messy performances at one GP event. I don't describe Alexei's skating as particularly 'messy.' As a poster mentioned in the previous thread, Alexei would simply benefit from polishing and refining his movements, and gaining more stretch and presence/ projection, which might come with maturity. Body type can be a barrier to mastering quads effectively. However, I don't think being tall completely prevents skaters from developing a more polished style. (Witness Robin Cousins, etc).
_____________________________________

Happy New Year, Ross! Here's a flashback to 2018 U.S. Nationals:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPm5c36Nqhg So cool :encore:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_roGSuAbbJo Not thinking about medals, just skating his heart out!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40IremoFSu0 :respec:

A wonderful view from On Ice Perspectives (May 2018):
https://www.instagram.com/p/Bi63JboDqXE/
 
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misskarne

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With a little bit of help from the judging, team selection committee, and less than expected fp performances at 2018 Nats by Adam and Jason.
Ahem. You forgot someone else who should have been considered ahead of Vincent if not for an uncharacteristic performance at Nats.

Vincent will first have to fully rotate his quads before being able to land them successfully. :D And I doubt Vincent will be beating Jason Brown on components any time soon. ;)
Precisely. The rotation is key. The tech panel will play a big role in which order Jason and Vincent finish. If they are a reasonably competent panel then Jason finishes ahead due to the UR calls, all things being equal. But if they are a traditional US Nats panel - ie lenient/blind - then there's still a possibility that Vincent finishes ahead. Add to this the stupidity that is US Nats PCS and the possibility that Vincent could be as few as six points behind Jason on FS PCS - remember, they gave him 89 last year - and there's every possibility that an incorrect result could occur. Fortunately it is unlikely to affect 4CC/Worlds selection, but still.
 

aftershocks

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Ahem. You forgot someone else who should have been considered ahead of Vincent if not for an uncharacteristic performance at Nats.
Maaaxxxx!!!! :wuzrobbed I'm missing Max Aaron big time. I looked at the U.S. men's line-up for the Detroit championships and my heart went pitter-patter as I took a deep sigh and wondered, what if Max had not decided to retire? Meanwhile Mr. Max Aaron has moved on, and he's enjoying his life post-competitive figure skating:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BqoExy4A4_C/
https://www.instagram.com/p/BnIGVeTnMA_/

https://www.instagram.com/p/BlL6aNTHwkd/
Max posts a picture with Carolina K and captions it: "#fbf with the legend"
A commenter replies: "You're the legend!" :encore: :respec:

I'm kind of pining for AdaRipp too:
https://www.instagram.com/p/Brxq2deHWCP/ Gorgeously filmed 7 days ago in Santa Monica, by Jordan Cowan :cheer2:
 

misskarne

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Maaaxxxx!!!! :wuzrobbed I'm missing Max Aaron big time. I looked at the U.S. men's line-up for the Detroit championships and my heart went pitter-patter as I took a deep sigh and wondered, what if Max had not decided to retire?
I like to think that even without my bias, he would have done very well this year. One less jumping pass eliminates the need for the 2A or to force the 3F, the rule changes favour a skater with a strong 3A like he had, the shorter FS time would be well-suited to a skater of his stamina, and he had good, clean, rotated jumps. So yes, I think he would have done very well, but he is obviously happy with his decision and that is all I wanted.
 

Sylvia

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Thanks for linking to Adam's 1-minute clip skating to Lady Gaga's "Shallow" last month:
https://www.instagram.com/p/Brxq2deHWCP/ Gorgeously filmed 7 days ago in Santa Monica, by Jordan Cowan :cheer2:
Adam was quoted in a recent article (linked in his fan thread) as follows:
“I’ll always be a skater,” Rippon vowed. “So I would love to have my own show in Vegas. I think that would be a lot of fun, and it would be a great opportunity for so many skaters, who are great performers, to showcase that.”
Here's hoping this idea comes to fruition at some point!
 

aftershocks

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Here's hoping this idea comes to fruition at some point!
Maybe with Adam's high profile recognition, there's the possibility the necessary interest and dollars can be raised. It takes moneyed investors to build what's necessary to produce a show. There are lots of creative ideas around and loads of talented skaters who would jump at the chance to be part of an exciting show, but deep pockets are needed for fruition. If they build it and promote it properly, starved U.S. skating fans will come!
 

Sylvia

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"He's only 18, but Olympic skater @govincentzhou answers reporters' questions with depth and intelligence. Here is the latest as Palo Alto teen prepares for @USFigureSkating championships in Detroit." Article by Elliott Almond based on Zhou's pre-Nationals media call yesterday: https://www.mercurynews.com/2019/01/09/are-the-jumps-clean-its-a-figure-skating-debate/

IFS' article: https://www.ifsmagazine.com/vincent-zhou-ready-for-u-s-nationals/
Excerpt:
Following his return from his last competition in Estonia, Zhou went to Toronto to make changes to his programs. “Shortly after Tallinn Trophy I was able to go to Toronto for a week to rework my programs with Lori Nichol on the short and Jeff Buttle on the free. We made some pretty significant changes to them and I feel they are much better than before. Not only have the programs improved but spending a week in Toronto without hammering away at the quads helped me kind of — I don’t want to say rediscover — but helped me kind of find out how much I really enjoy the creative process and the freedom and the flow that comes with just good skating.
“I value that much more and I hope that it shows when I skate. It is very difficult to be in the river current of just the pure unadulterated flow of a program to choreography because doing quads kind of snaps you out of that. But I am trying to integrate the two and it is a work in progress, for sure. There have been pretty significant changes and good ones too.”
Tweeted by Lynn Rutherford re. Zhou's media call:
He is working to "Redefine my standard of what is acceptable jump rotation" w/his coaching team; training is going well & he thinks change will be noticeable at nationals: "They (tech panels) are keeping an eagle-eye on my jumps but it doesn't bother me."
He is re-thinking past strategy of doing 4-5 quads in FS, because "They (judges) are rewarding cleaner, well-executed programs as opposed to (technically) ambitious programs that are not executed as well."
 

Willin

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It's good to hear he's rethinking his jump strategy. That's sorely needed in his case.

But this:
He is working to "Redefine my standard of what is acceptable jump rotation" w/his coaching team
:wall::wall::wall:
Why the **** would you need to "redefine" your standard of jump rotation? How is consistently not rotating your jumps "acceptable jump rotation" even under the old rule? Was his team never focusing on fully rotating his jumps or something? Did they just not care as long as it was within the old rules?
 

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