Husband-wife pair of Chris Knierim and Alexa Scimeca-Knierim captured a national title at the U.S. Figure Skating championships Saturday, likely securing their Olympic berth for the Pyeongchang Games in South Korea.
The Knierims led the short program two days earlier and followed with another strong showing in their free skate, scoring 135.60 points Saturday and 206.60 total. That put them in prime position with the U.S. Figure Skating committee that will pick the top pair to represent the U.S. next month, looking to prove the Americans can make waves in the event despite constant scrutiny on the world stage.
They opened by pulling off a beautiful quadruple twist high above the ice with a minor flaw — the only pair to try it let alone nail it — but missed on their side-by-side triple salchows. It didn't matter.
Tarah Kayne and Danny O'Shea came into the free skate in second place, but Kayne fell on a throw triple lutz. That error came after a strong start to their program that featured nice double axels side by side in a beautifully choreographed performance to "Swan Lake." They scored 131.87 for a total of 200.80.
Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Nathan Bartholomay, a 2014 Sochi Olympian with a different partner, were third.