Julie Jacobson/Associated Press
Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim posted the best score in the senior pairs free skate Saturday to kick off the penultimate day of the 2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships at the SAP Center in San Jose, California.
Tarah Kayne and Danny O’Shea and Deanna Stellato and Nathan Bartholoma rounded out the top three finishers in the free skate.
The Knierims were also the overall winners when taking into account Thursday’s short program, which will likely earn them a berth in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Let’s check out the full results, which will be updated through the completion of Saturday’s competition, and the event’s schedule. That’s followed by a recap of the action.
Senior Pairs—Overall Results
1. Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim (206.60)
2. Tarah Kayne and Danny O’Shea (200.80)
3. Deanna Stellato and Nathan Bartholomay (197.65)
4. Ashley Cain and Timothy LeDuc (187.14)
5. Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier (186.32)
6. Marissa Castelli and Mervin Tran (182.38)
7. Chelsea Liu and Brian Johnson (167.47)
8. Jessica Pfund and Joshua Santillan (163.62)
9. Jessica Calalang and Zack Sidhu (162.23)
10. Erika Smith and AJ Reiss (159.03)
11. Nica Digerness and Danny Neudecker (154.10)
12. Winter Deardorff and Max Settlage (145.66)
13. Caitlin Fields and Ernie Utah Stevens (142.12)
14. Alexandria Yao and Jacob Simon (128.12)
15. Allison Timlen and Justin Highgate-Brutman (126.05)
Remaining Championship Schedule
Saturday: Senior men (free skate), 6:45 p.m. ET
Sunday: Senior dance (free dance), 3:30 p.m. ET
It’s the second national title for Alexa and Chris Knierim, who also won in 2015. The married couple didn’t put together a flawless free skate, lacking technical execution during the middle of the routine, but they still did enough to secure the gold medal.
The Ice Network passed along their reaction:
A win sealed with a kiss. @Scimeca_Knierim clinch their second U.S. title. #USChamps18 https://t.co/NNKS31FY17
Returning to the top of the podium, and likely earning an Olympic trip, is made more impressive by Alexa’s return from a life-threatening illness that forced her to undergo three abdominal surgeries and put their skating future in question.
Assuming they are selected as the pairs team for the 2018 Winter Games on Sunday—it would be a massive shock if they weren’t—they will have just over a month to iron out the mistakes that nearly cost them the American title in San Jose.
Meanwhile, Kayne and O’Shea returned after missing last year’s U.S. Championships after winning the 2016 gold medal and nearly produced a repeat. Failure to deliver on their triple lutz throw was the turning point, however, and left them without enough executed elements to keep pace with the Knierims.
Ashley Cain and Timothy LeDuc also had a strong showing in Saturday’s competition, finishing fourth after ranking eighth in the short program.
All scoring information is courtesy of the Ice Network.