Tennell Catapults to the Top Spot in the Ladies Short Program
by Liz Leamy
Bradie Tennell Short Program Leader
(24 January 2020) Bradie Tennell, the steely and determined Chicago-area native who is the 2018 U.S. titlist, catapulted right to the top of the ladies leaderboard at the 2020 Toyota U.S. Championships in Greensboro in the short program Thursday night, proving she is indeed one heck of a first-rate force in this formidable field of talented contenders.
Wearing a red dress that seemed to explain much of her on-ice spirit at this showdown, Tennell, 21, flew around the ice with the confidence of a premiere world contender and knocked out elements such as a big triple Lutz-triple toe loop, triple flip from back power pulls and a double Axel from a spread eagle entry with terrific strength, speed and command.
These elements, along with her exceptional spins and fast, curvy footwork sequence helped earn Tennell the highest score of the night, a 78.96, something she was delighted about.
“I think it went really well,” said Tennell, who skated to the dramatic musical selection, ‘Chronos/Mechanisms’ by Krill Richter. “I love this program so much. I really feel likeit allows different sides of me to come through. I am excited the audience can see that.”
Alysa Liu, the 2019 U.S. gold medalist and Clovis, California native, scored the second-highest marks of the evening, a 75.40, for her high-powered program to Barbra Streisand’s ‘Don’t Rain on my Parade.’
Wearing a dark purple dress, Liu, 14, executed a lightning-quick triple Lutz-triple toe and double Axel, as well as some beautifully positioned spins and fast footwork.
Liu also executed a triple Axel, the element that helped put her at the pinnacle of U.S. ladies skating last season, but had a slight turnout on the landing in this overall stellar performance.
Mariah Bell, the two-time U.S. bronze medalist (in 2017 and 2019), racked up a 73.22 for her engaging Britney Spears-themed program, in which she did a triple Lutz, triple flip-triple toe loop and double Axel, among other impressive things.
Wearing a black dress that matched her sleek brunette ponytail, Bell, 23, snapped out some memorable spins as well, including a camel with lovely free leg foot turnout and balletic-like extension.
She did, however, experience a slight trip on her footwork sequence, which played a role in her final point tally.
Still, Bell was a huge crowd favorite and is in prime position, along with the other top finishers, to potentially claim the U.S. title on Friday night.
Amber Glenn, the amiable 20 year-old Plano, Texas native scored fourth for her clean and moving performance to ‘Scars’ by Madilyn Bailey, for which she was awarded a 73.16.
Glenn, who skates with both attack and power, executed a big triple flip-triple toe loop, triple loop and double Axel along with some beautifully formed spins.
Karen Chen, the 2017 U.S. champion, was fifth with her clean, compelling and lovely free skate to Lauren Daigle’s ‘You Say,’ for which she earned a 70.41.