USFS Qualifying Season Plans

Debbie S

Well-Known Member
Messages
12,402
I thought this should be its own thread but if mods want to merge into an existing thread, feel free.

USFS has announced their plan for the qualifying season: https://www.usfigureskating.org/news/press-release/us-qualifying-season-update-as-of-august-6

No Regionals or Sectionals; instead, skaters will compete in 2 of 8 "Championship Series" comps "in the location of their choice." Advancement to Nats/Development Team based on top score (they don't say how many yet), not placement.

Locations/disciplines:

Blaine, Minn. | Nov. 9-13, 2020 | Singles
Norwood, Mass. | Nov. 10-15, 2020 | Singles, Pairs
Spokane, Wash. | Nov. 10-15, 2020 | Singles
Alpharetta, Ga. | Nov. 17-20, 2020 | Singles
Fort Wayne, Ind | Nov. 17-20, 2020 | Singles, Ice Dance
Henderson, Nev. | Nov. 24-28, 2020 | Singles, Pairs
Leesburg, Va. | Dec. 1-6, 2020 | Singles, Ice Dance
Frisco, Texas | Dec. 1-6, 2020 | Singles
 

gkelly

Well-Known Member
Messages
15,478
It looks like the pairs and ice dancers don't have much "choice" of location, if skaters have to compete in two events to qualify for Nationals.

It says "a maximum of two."

Based on the registration process described, if many skaters, or teams, sign up for one competition in the first round, there may not be enough spaces left to allow everybody who would like to sign up for a second event.

"Advancement to the 2021 Toyota U.S. Figure Skating Championships, and assignment to the 2021 National High Performance Development Team, will be based on each skaters’ highest score earned rather than placement at each competition."

That sounds like it will not be necessary to enter two events in order to qualify. But those who do enter two will have an extra opportunity to earn a high enough score.
 
Last edited:

overedge

G.O.A.T.
Messages
28,765
It says "a maximum of two."

Based on the registration process describe, if many skaters, or teams, sign up for one competition in the first round, there may not be enough spaces left to allow everybody who would like to sign up for a second event.

"Advancement to the 2021 Toyota U.S. Figure Skating Championships, and assignment to the 2021 National High Performance Development Team, will be based on each skaters’ highest score earned rather than placement at each competition."

That sounds like it will not be necessary to enter two events in order to qualify. But those who do enter two will have an extra opportunity to earn a high enough score.

That's what I thought, so I'm glad I'm not the only one who interpreted it that way.

Even so, numerically the ice dancers and pairs have fewer opportunities to qualify than the singles skaters. And fewer geographical options too.
 

Sylvia

Wishing I could go back to the Lake Placid JGP
Messages
62,792
Locations/disciplines:

Blaine, Minn. | Nov. 9-13, 2020 | Singles
Norwood, Mass. | Nov. 10-15, 2020 | Singles, Pairs
Spokane, Wash. | Nov. 10-15, 2020 | Singles
Alpharetta, Ga. | Nov. 17-20, 2020 | Singles
Fort Wayne, Ind | Nov. 17-20, 2020 | Singles, Ice Dance
Henderson, Nev. | Nov. 24-28, 2020 | Singles, Pairs
Leesburg, Va. | Dec. 1-6, 2020 | Singles, Ice Dance
Frisco, Texas | Dec. 1-6, 2020 | Singles
For reference, here were the original, known dates/locations for qualifying competition season (9 Regionals for singles & 3 Sectionals) — 4 of the original locations are still hosting qualifying events:

Sept. 29-Oct. 3:
Eastern Great Lakes - Fort Wayne, IN (+ Midwestern Ice Dance Challenge)

Sept. 30-Oct.4, 2020:
South Atlantic - Alpharetta, GA (+ Eastern Pairs Challenge)
Central Pacific & Northwest Pacific- Wenatchee, WA (+ Pacific Coast Sectional Pairs Challenge)

Oct. 5-9:
New England & North Atlantic - location TBA (+ Eastern Sectional Ice Dance Challenge)

Oct. 7-11:
Southwestern - Allen, TX (+ Midwestern Sectional Pairs Challenge)

Oct. 14-18:
Upper Great Lakes - Appleton, WI
Southwest Pacific- Artesia, CA (+ Pacific Coast Sectional Ice Dance Challenge)

-----

Nov. 10-15, 2020 - all Singles/Pairs & Dance Finals:

Eastern Sectional, Norwood, MA (+Pairs Final) - *this is the SC of Boston’s brand new facility that’s scheduled to open this fall

Midwestern, Traverse City, MI

Pacific Coast, Spokane, WA (+Ice Dance Final)
 
Last edited:

MacMadame

Staying at home
Messages
37,682
This is good. They should just do it this way every year...
Oh, I was thinking that!

Finally, our chance to see Novice skaters level up to Senior! (What in the actual hell, no)
I think the idea is that if you were going to test Junior but couldn't because of the crud, you can compete as Senior just as you would have if you had tested Junior and passed.

I doubt any actual Novice skaters will try to skate as Senior. It wouldn't help them.
 

concorde

Well-Known Member
Messages
547
You can compete up to 2 levels above where you have tested.
Remember Lindsey Thorngreen skated Intermediate at Nationals one year (I think she won) and the next year, she won Juniors at Nationals. So it can be done.
 

concorde

Well-Known Member
Messages
547
Locations/disciplines:

Blaine, Minn. | Nov. 9-13, 2020 | Singles
Norwood, Mass. | Nov. 10-15, 2020 | Singles, Pairs
Spokane, Wash. | Nov. 10-15, 2020 | Singles
Alpharetta, Ga. | Nov. 17-20, 2020 | Singles
Fort Wayne, Ind | Nov. 17-20, 2020 | Singles, Ice Dance
Henderson, Nev. | Nov. 24-28, 2020 | Singles, Pairs
Leesburg, Va. | Dec. 1-6, 2020 | Singles, Ice Dance
Frisco, Texas | Dec. 1-6, 2020 | Singles

I think Texas and Georgia will have alot of openings.
 

Sylvia

Wishing I could go back to the Lake Placid JGP
Messages
62,792
You can compete up to 2 levels above where you have tested.
Remember Lindsey Thorngreen skated Intermediate at Nationals one year (I think she won) and the next year, she won Juniors at Nationals. So it can be done.
Yes, Thorngren won the U.S. Intermediate Ladies title in 2019, was assigned to her first international (won silver in Adv. Novice) at the Bavarian Open in Feb. 2019, and then tested up to Junior for 2019-20.
This is good. They should just do it this way every year...
Jackie Wong agrees with you (can’t link to his latest tweet right now):

New qualification method for #USChamps21 - I’d actually love for at least some part of this to be the way USFS goes forward with qualifying. Regionals/Sectionals is antiquated. Qualifying based on actual points scored is fairer - provided that judging is calibrated across comps
 

Louis

Private citizen
Messages
15,145
"Provided that the judging is calibrated across competitions" is a pretty big caveat.

Individual callers could determine who goes to Nationals or not - we could see skaters flocking to events with "easy" callers. There's also too many other ways bias can creep in - high scores based on one or more elite skaters in an event, inflating all scores, etc.

I think this is a great solution for a *********, but some regional / sectional representation is still desirable. I for one don't want to see Nationals being 60-70% from one or two states.

I'd be fine with taking the top three from each regional or sectional, then using other spots at Sectionals/Nationals for wildcards with the highest scores.
 

Theoreticalgirl

your faves are problematic
Messages
1,121
I doubt any actual Novice skaters will try to skate as Senior. It wouldn't help them.

I was being snarky (it's my default mode!), but somewhere in America, the wheels are spinning in the mind of an overzealous skating parent upon reading this news. Someone like Isabeau Levito (who went Int -> Nov) would have jumped at the opportunity if it had been introduced last year.

My serious take: Overall, it's OK. (My personal opinion is that the season should be canceled, but there are plenty of other places on this board to have that conversation.)

I still think there's benefits to phased competitions like Regionals/Sectionals, especially in terms of providing more equitable access to skaters in underserved regions, but I get that the situation requires compromise. I think this is better than the NQS. (Maybe the plan moving forward is just merging the two concepts?) FWIW if anyone is curious about how these events exist geographically, I made a small map.

The spacing between events, particularly for ice dance and pairs, doesn't really allow for a 14-day quarantine, should a skater decide to compete in more than 1 competition. However, I wonder if USFS did this intentionally to minimize the temptation to compete in more than 1 event.

Is a 3-4 day event enough time, when we are factoring in cleaning breaks, social distancing, etc into regular practice environments?

Regardless of event, there will be significant travel for any competitor and their team, and with it a lot of risk for bringing YKW to regions with lower rates of infection and vice versa. It's also entirely possible for someone to get sick in transit (or an asymptomatic carrier).

A majority of cities/states have limitations on gatherings, and if a specific location has a significant number of entries, that might make things complicated very fast. For example, allowing skaters to jump ahead 2 levels could encourage more people to enter. Or a skater interested in one event might not be permitted to travel there based on inter-state quarantine/travel bans, so they have no choice but to pick an event with a higher number or entries.

It will be interesting to see what USFS's safety protocols will be for the events. Reassuring that USFS stated a date for the announcement, as opposed to the ISU.
 

concorde

Well-Known Member
Messages
547
"Provided that the judging is calibrated across competitions" is a pretty big caveat.

Individual callers could determine who goes to Nationals or not - we could see skaters flocking to events with "easy" callers. There's also too many other ways bias can creep in - high scores based on one or more elite skaters in an event, inflating all scores, etc.

I think this gives all skaters the closest to level playing fields than then traditional Regionals set-up. Last year they used the NQS to qualify for Sectionals and there was ALOT of uneven scoring there. At one NQS competition last year, GOE scores ranged from +10 to -10 but those scores were still used to qualify for Sectionals.

We register for the events in September so I don't think there is any way of knowing where the "easy" callers will be assigned come November.

And yes there is always a lot of bias in skating score. Some skaters don't get unrotated jumps called and others do not get falls called.
 

haribobo

Well-Known Member
Messages
8,154
I am curious how many skaters will be allowed to make Nationals- I would guess 18 per field. I would imagine that all Grand Prix skaters get a bye to Nationals, but we shall see...
 

HeManSkaterDad

Well-Known Member
Messages
410
I think this gives all skaters the closest to level playing fields than then traditional Regionals set-up. Last year they used the NQS to qualify for Sectionals and there was ALOT of uneven scoring there. At one NQS competition last year, GOE scores ranged from +10 to -10 but those scores were still used to qualify for Sectionals.

We register for the events in September so I don't think there is any way of knowing where the "easy" callers will be assigned come November.

And yes there is always a lot of bias in skating score. Some skaters don't get unrotated jumps called and others do not get falls called.
I share the concern of scoring bias (without suggesting whether intentional or not), as it has always appeared to me that there were a couple of location based biases occurring. One was geographic biases, where one region or section scored higher or lower than another. I think that is inevitable, but so long as it is uniform throughout the event, mostly harmless. The second is familiarity bias, at least partially based on geography, where officials who have seen more of 'local' skaters tend to give them a little better marks, kind of a localized 'reputation' scoring.

I worry about these, and thus have to disagree with this statement.

QUOTE="concorde, post: 5843039, member: 55221"]
I think this gives all skaters the closest to level playing fields than then traditional Regionals set-up.
[/QUOTE]

The NQS was an alternative route to Sectionals, so anyone who was the 'victim' of scoring bias could negate it with a good showing at Regionals, knowing a top 4 finish against skaters scored by the same panel guaranteed a trip to Sectionals. This system, while perhaps necessary, puts a skater at the mercy of panels who will never see them skate.

Just to see how it would work, I looked at last year's senior ladies scores at Sectionals. If you assume that since 12 qualified from Sectionals last year, 12 will advance from these qualifiers this year, and compare scores, 2 of the 3 4th place finishers do not make it (Midwest and Pacific) and both the 5th and 6th place finisher from the east do make it. More interestingly, the 4th place finisher from the Midwest, who would not make it in this scenario, at the US Championships, beat ALL of the Sectional champions and the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finishers from the East.

Another factor, which I think makes these less desirable competitions, is that it also will change strategy and encourage sloppier/more risky programs at these qualifiers. Skaters know what they need to advance and the decision of whether to go for their toughest jump (at Regionals or Sectionals) or strive for a super-clean, safe program is often decided based on how the competition is performing, but with this format, they must go for broke to get the top score.

That's just my ramblings, I wish I had a better idea, but I don't.
 

concorde

Well-Known Member
Messages
547
I share the concern of scoring bias (without suggesting whether intentional or not), as it has always appeared to me that there were a couple of location based biases occurring. One was geographic biases, where one region or section scored higher or lower than another. I think that is inevitable, but so long as it is uniform throughout the event, mostly harmless.

The nine regions were based on a 1960 skater census that has not been updated. Since that time, the number of skaters in the Eastern section has exploded whereas the number of skaters on the West has remained low. At the Juvenile and Intermediate levels (girls only), South Atlantics typically has 100+ skaters for each of those two levels whereas one region (Northwest I believe) tends to have only 1 group of skaters (< 24) for both of these levels. If you compare the content between the big vs small regions at those levels, you will see a discrepancy in content with the East Coast skaters tending to be doing harder tricks. What is interesting is that by the Junior and Senior level (women), the content level of the West Coast skaters tends to be higher than the content level of the East coast skaters. I looked closely at this several years ago and if I remember right, Midwest skater numbers were more the average the East/West.

I do not discount the unfairness of a judging panel. The second year my daughter skater Juvenile, Juveniles used two ice sheets and one set of judges scored 3 groups and a different set scored the other 3. Not sure if it was weird coincidence or due to different judging panel, but one sheet had scores about 10 points lower than the other sheet. In that case, it was all balanced out since the final used the same scoring panel.

I get your point but with this system, I think all have the same chance of moving on. Under the previous system, East Coast skaters were at a disadvantage due to sheer numbers.
 
Last edited:

MacMadame

Staying at home
Messages
37,682
Just to see how it would work, I looked at last year's senior ladies scores at Sectionals. If you assume that since 12 qualified from Sectionals last year, 12 will advance from these qualifiers this year, and compare scores, 2 of the 3 4th place finishers do not make it (Midwest and Pacific) and both the 5th and 6th place finisher from the east do make it. More interestingly, the 4th place finisher from the Midwest, who would not make it in this scenario, at the US Championships, beat ALL of the Sectional champions and the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finishers from the East.
Maybe she skated better at Nationals than at Sectionals.

Skaters know what they need to advance and the decision of whether to go for their toughest jump (at Regionals or Sectionals) or strive for a super-clean, safe program is often decided based on how the competition is performing, but with this format, they must go for broke to get the top score.
I consider this a plus.
 

haribobo

Well-Known Member
Messages
8,154
Well, she scored better at Nationals by 20 points. But I hate to say, several of those triples in the free at Nationals weren't around, but judged clean or just <. The toe loops were clean looking though. I'm not sure anyone else skated better so 11th place might still be justified and it was a good skate, but I feel like Audrey Shin and Julia Biechler were just as deserving of a place at Nationals based on Sectionals...so I am really ok with this.
 
Last edited:

concorde

Well-Known Member
Messages
547
Can anyone tell me what levels will be able to compete at these events.

I don't remember the announcement saying anything about levels.

In the past, qualifying competitions were for Juvenile through Senior. By "qualifying" they meant those that can move onto Sectionals and Nationals. I assume all of these levels can compete.

In the past, many Regions held non-qualifying "Regionals" for those skating pre-juvenile and below.


I am curious how many skaters will be allowed to make Nationals- I would guess 18 per field. I would imagine that all Grand Prix skaters get a bye to Nationals, but we shall see...
From what I read, there will be no Sectionals so these skaters are qualifying for Nationals and/or a spot on the developmental team.

Numbers were not mentioned but if USFS follows last year's model, then 12 skaters will go in both Juniors and Seniors + 6 Novices (which will skate as Juniors). It is unclear if these will be the top finishers or if USFS will try to preserve some type of Regional representation.

Top 5 Senior finishers at last year's Nationals at to get byes. Not sure who else could qualify for a bye.

I copied the following from a August 2019 announcement regarding how international skaters get byes to Nationals:
Specific situations when skaters will receive a bye to the U.S. Figure Skating Championships:​
  • A skater or team is selected to compete in three or more different international competitions, at the junior level, or the senior level, or at a combination of both junior and senior levels.
    • I don't see this happening.
  • A skater or team competes in two Senior Grand Prix events in the same season.
    • Somewhere I read that skaters can only complete in one GP event.
  • A skater or team is selected to compete at an international competition and their travel date is 14 days or less before the start date of their event at Sectional Singles Final or U.S. Pairs or Dance Final or less than 14 days before their event travel date at an international competition. Start date is defined as the date of the skater’s first segment of the competition.
    • Skate America is scheduled for October 23-25; Skate Canada is schedules for October 30-November 1. The USFS qualifying competitions take place November 9 - December 6. So I would say the 14 day criteria will not apply.
Unless USFS completely rewrites the rules (which could or could not happen) I don't see any international skaters getting a bye to nationals.

This is my guesstimate for Nationals:
Seniors will have 17 skaters (top 5 from last years + 12 qualifiers)
Juniors will have 18 skaters (12 Juniors + 6 Novices)
 
Last edited:

concorde

Well-Known Member
Messages
547
The rules are going to be different this year, obviously
Not so sure. Typically the skaters with 2 GP assignments are the top 5 finishers from the previous year and those skaters do get a bye.

17 vs 18 is not that much different EXCEPT for the 18th skater.

A couple of years ago, I attended a USFS parent seminar where they explained that they felt Nationals (at the Senior level) was too large and that Nationals should showcase the top talent. Hence, their rationale for setting Technical minimums.
 

Sylvia

Wishing I could go back to the Lake Placid JGP
Messages
62,792
The Chair of USFS’ Competitions Committee is in charge of setting the policies & procedures for international byes to Nationals each season. The document that was published last August (excerpted above) was the first time I recall it being made publicly available on the USFS website.

Byes to 2021 Nationals based on Senior top 5 finish (per USFS rulebook) at 2020 Nationals:
Nathan Chen, Jason Brown, Tomoki Hiwatashi, Vincent Zhou, Andrew Torgashev;
Alysa Liu, Mariah Bell, Bradie Tennell, Karen Chen, Amber Glenn;
Chock/Bates, Hubbell/Donohue, Hawayek/Baker, Carreira/Ponomarenko, Green/Parsons;
Calalang/Johnson, Kayne/O’Shea, Cain-Gribble/LeDuc (1 & 5 split).
 

GarrAargHrumph

I can kill you with my brain
Messages
19,094
I get your point but with this system, I think all have the same chance of moving on. Under the previous system, East Coast skaters were at a disadvantage due to sheer numbers.

Quite true, to the point where skaters I know who trained on the east coast would do things to allow them to compete in sectionals on the west coast, and coaches would actively discuss how this could be done.
 

concorde

Well-Known Member
Messages
547
Quite true, to the point where skaters I know who trained on the east coast would do things to allow them to compete in sectionals on the west coast, and coaches would actively discuss how this could be done.
Agreed!

Historically, I believe your Region was determined by:
  • At the lower levels, where you trained 50% or more of the time.
  • At the upper levels, formal residence or where you trained 50% of the more of the time.
About 3 years ago, these requirements were completely eliminated. I know one mom that called a California FSC about 2 weeks before the deadline to ask if her skater could become a member. The club said yes so that skater represented that club. I can understand if your family has links to an old club and you want to retain those links but represent a random club is different.

In ice dance and pairs, teams can skate represent either member's club. I know a team that has made it to Nationals twice since they use "his" affiliation. If they went with hers, they would have never gone.
 

Sylvia

Wishing I could go back to the Lake Placid JGP
Messages
62,792
I can understand if your family has links to an old club and you want to retain those links but represent a random club is different.
Those clubs could refuse to accept the membership money of skaters trying to switch to a less competitive or crowded region. “Switching regions” has been happening for as long as I can remember.
In ice dance and pairs, teams can skate represent either member's club.
It’s much less of a problem now that Pairs and Dance Finals were instituted last season.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top
Do Not Sell My Personal Information