Isabella Levito he is a national champion at the age of 15.
Levito burst onto the scene a year ago, winning a bronze medal at the competition United States Figure Skating Championshipsbut has upped the ante in 2023 after making a brilliant debut on the senior international circuit over the last few months.
The New Jersey teenager wowed the crowd with a near-perfect free skate at the SAP Center in San Jose, California, scoring 149.55 for a total of 223.33.
The two-time American winner was in the lead Brady Tennell by just 0.02 points after the short, but 24-year-old Tennell fought back with a second combination, using her arm to stay upright on a triple toe loop. She scored 139.36 for a 213.12 total for her fifth career US podium finish.
Amber Glenn finished third, hop-scotching Starr Andrews thanks to the lone triple Axel of the evening, the crowd burst into applause as Glenn landed. Glenn was shocked with excitement when her score came out, 138.48, giving her an overall score of 207.44.
The top three women were both named in the US World Cup team and staff Four continentswhich will be held next month in Colorado Springs.
Andrews finished fourth (188.24) while Josephine Lee he moved up from 11th place to fifth place (187.68). Andrews’ fourth-place finish earned a pewter medal, making her the first black woman to win a medal at the event Debi Thomas won in 1988
Grace Gold, a 2014 Olympian and two-time winner here, fought back in her free skate, going 106.54 to 173.98. She placed eighth overall.
Levito is the youngest first-time champion Alysa Liu won the title in 2019 at the age of 13.
“I felt so proud,” a radiant Levito later told reporters. “I felt I wasn’t the best at free skating this season and I finally did it the way I train… and that was at this competition. I felt good that I could showcase what me and my coaches were working on.”
Previously in the men’s short program of the 18-year-old Ilia Malinin took the lead with a score of 110.36, also being the 2015 winner Jason Brown he is second with another three-figure score of 100.25.
On Thursday (January 26) pairs of world champions rule Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier built a 15-point lead with America’s record in the segment while three-time world medalists in ice dancing, Madison Chock and Evan Bates follow the rhythmic dance.
The figure skating competition returns to San Jose, the site of the 2018 championships chosen by Team USA Pyeongchang 2018. National championships were also held at this location in 2012 and 1996. See the full list of updated results here.
Isabeau Levito collects everything just in time
Levito, as noted above, found the right moment to put on her best performance of the season, finishing last in the final group of players.
While Glenn sped up with her triple Axel, she was some five points behind the short program leader, and Tennell left the door open with a collection of minor mistakes in his free. All eyes were on the teenager.
Levito talked about suppressing nerves after a short program, and she locked this mode when she stepped onto the ice for free, her ballet program stopped the arena. She started with a triple Lutz and triple loop combination and then completed five more triple jumps in addition to two double axes.
“I feel very proud of what I have achieved,” added Levito. “Both my score and where I am. I’m proud to have recovered [when I did] and I did the program that I had to do.”
This was the teens medal collection this season, following three silver medals in the Grand Prix. She will likely be named to the Worlds team, which will be announced before the end of the weekend.
While the road to Milan Cortina 2026 is anticipated for Levito, both Tennell and Glenn have expressed interest in continuing if their bodies will allow it. Both skaters are around 20 years old.
“I’m in it for the long haul,” Tennell smiled. “Even before my injury last year, I knew I was going to continue. [After] everything I have overcome in the last year, I know with 100% certainty that I will stay here for the next four years.”
Glenn added: “Until I break down, we’ll see what happens,” she laughed. “I may not be able to have as long seasons as I’ve had, so I’ll probably have to be more selective with [competitions] and my training volume, but I have a lot of goals I want to achieve – in and out of competition.
“I have a huge love for skating,” she said. “And the love of achieving new things.”
Tennell’s silver medal had a silver lining: she called the medal “the one I’m most proud of” because she missed the entire Olympic season – and the Games themselves – due to a foot injury. This is her fifth podium at the US Championships.
Figure skating in the USA also announced on Friday that the 2024 edition of the Nationals will be held in Columbus, Ohio.