Wednesday, January 20, 2010

U.S. Nationals Preview (Dance)

The Ice Dancers are set to take the ice tomorrow in Spokane. There are three Olympic berths up-for-grabs in Spokane. Well, up-for-grabs is maybe a strong terms as it seems pretty cut and dry who will and who won't be making the trip to Vancouver, but there are six teams to keep a watchful eye on nonetheless.

Meryl Davis and Charlie White - One of the 'Big Three' teams, they have been on a roll this season. They won both their Grand Prix Events and went on to become the first American Ice Dance team to win the Grand Prix Final. They are expected to go neck and neck for the title here in Spokane.

Kimberly Navarro and Brent Bommentre - This team seems forever stuck knocking on the door. They are, perhaps, the best chance to spoil what I'll call 'The Big Three.' This team has everything it takes to be one of the best but they have been unwilling or unable to load their programs with the extra difficulty the other teams have. They are always crowd favorites though.

Madison Hubbell and Keiffer Hubbell - This brother/sister duo was 4th last year in Cleveland in their senior debut but haven't been able to capture the same sizzle this season (although some sparks fly with their American Woman Free Dance). If other teams make grave mistakes, this may be one of the teams that capitalize on them.

Emily Samuelson and Evan Bates - Another 'Big Three' team, most believe this team will manage the third Olympic berth. They've shown a few signs of weakness however this season. At Skate Canada, a team slipped past them they have easily beaten in the past keeping hope alive for the other Ice Dance Teams.

Madison Chock and Greg Zuerlein - Last season's Junior World Champs, I had this team pegged as shaking things up this season but they've had some trouble cracking into the top ranks in senior. Still, this is a talented team that shouldn't be counted out.

Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto - The other 'Big Three' team, this team had an equally impressive Grand Prix season as Davis and White winning both their events. They had to withdraw from the Grand Prix Final due to some dental issues but look prepared to recapture their national title (they missed the '09 Championship with injury). It should be a very close race between them and Davis and White and it's anyone guess at this point who'll come out victorious.

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