Isabelle Levito won her first U.S. figure skating title at age 15, cementing her status as the leading new American woman to open the new Olympic cycle.
Levito, the world junior champion, tallied 223.33 points between two strong programs in San Jose, Calif. She left behind the two-time United States champion Bradie Tennellwho went 19 months between competitions due to foot and ankle injuries in 2021 and 2022 and scored 213.12.
Tennell was just two-hundredths behind Levito after Thursday’s short, but made several jumping errors in the free skate.
Levito followed her as the last to compete in the freestyle and put in the most pressured performance of her young career, including the toughest jump combination of the entire field. She did not receive a single negative mark from a judge for her 19 technical elements in her two programs.
Moments later, she was in tears backstage.
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«I was so proud of myself for staying so calm and focused, doing exactly what I wanted to do,» Levito, who hasn’t finished on the podium in more than 20 events since November 2016, said on NBC. «I’m ready to start bouncing off the walls.»
Amber Glenn, 23, placed third and will likely become the oldest American women’s singles skater to make her world championship debut in at least 45 years. Glenn missed her 11th attempt to join the US women’s roster to land a clean triple Axel (count according to Skatingscores.com) but still dropped from fourth place after the short program, passing Star Andrews.
Last year, Glenn competed at the nationals as the fourth-ranked American woman and a prospect for the three-woman Olympic team. She placed 14th in the short program, unknowingly competing with COVID-19, then tested positive and pulled out before the free skate.
In 2021, Glenn was the silver medalist for the United States, but passed the baton for a spot on the two-woman world team to the more experienced. Karen Chenwho finished 35 hundredths behind Glenn at these national championships.
Levito, Tennell and Glenn are expected to make up the team for the world championships in March, decided by a committee.
Gracie Golda two-time United States champion who finished fifth after the short program, skipped a pair of scheduled triple Lutzes and fell to eighth place.
None of the three 2022 U.S. Olympians participated. Alysa Liu and Mariah Bell retired. Chen is a student at Cornell and may not return.
The national championships continue Saturday with the free dance and pairs free skate, live on NBC Sports and Peacock.
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