Karen Chen wins ladies short program at U.S. Championships with record-setting performance

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In 2015, Karen Chen surprised many when she claimed the bronze medal at the 2015 U.S. Championships in her first senior U.S. Championships. In Kansas City,  the 17-year-old surprised everyone again when she set the highest short program score ever at the U.S. Championships (72.82) to win the short program at the 2017 U.S. Championships January 19 in Kansas City.  Chen, who had finished in eighth at last year’s U.S. Championships, had an exhilarating performance that included a huge triple lutz-triple toe loop combination at the start of her program. 

“I was thrilled and excited to be able to go out there and have fun and skate my best. I’m surprised and shocked – my body is still trembling,” Chen said at the press conference following the short program.

Despite two footing her triple loop, 2010 Olympian Mirai Nagasu, who finished fourth at last year’s championships, delivered a strong performance and is currently sitting in second place (71.95) following the short program.

“I made a couple of mistakes. I’m only human. This puts me right where I want to be, right in the game. Going into the long program I think I’m ready and trained and ready to rock out,” Nagasu told the media following the short program.

2016 World Silver medalist Ashley Wagner is behind Nagasu in third place(70.94). Wagner, who also had a strong performance, had some difficulty with the landing of her double axel. 

“I feel like today was honestly a great day for me – just a little fluke on the double axel, and I’m looking forward to the long program,”  said the three-time U.S. Champion.
Fourteen-year-old Tessa Hong, who is competing in her first senior U.S. Championships, is currently in fourth place and reigning U.S. Champion Gracie Gold is currently in fifth place (64.85). Gold doubled a planned triple flip, which was called invalid to due to an edge call.