BOSTON -- Meryl Davis and Charlie White won a record sixth ice dancing title at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Saturday, a triumph that neither concentrated on before the week and planned to spend little time celebrating.
"We are definitely going to enjoy this moment before we hunker down, maybe in 24 hours, for the Olympics," White said.
Indeed Davis and White, the 2011 and 2013 World champions, did nothing at TD Garden to shake their status as gold medal co-favorites for Sochi with Canada's Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, who train side-by-side with them in suburban Detroit.
Davis and White posted a 119.50 free dance score to finish with a total score of 200.19, well ahead of the second place team of Madison Chock and Evan Bates (181.33).
Hometown favorites Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir successfully defended their pairs title, but the headline out of Saturday's pairs competition was whether Felicia Zhang and Nathan Bartholomay's narrow second-place finish will be enough to convince a selection committee to send them Sochi ahead of the more internationally experienced Caydee Denney and John Coughlin.
Castelli and Shnapir, skating to music from the "Skyfall" soundtrack, overcame a few minor hiccups for a 132.58 free skate mark and an overall score of 205.71.
"The support was enormous and I loved the energy from the beginning to the end," the Moscow-born Shnapir said. "It wasn't our best, we made a few mistakes. We're happy with what we put out, we performed the heck out of that program. Great score. We're thrilled with the end result."
But the biggest moment of the session came when Zhang and Bartholomay, skating last, turned in a near flawless performance to squeak into second overall at 201.72, less than three-tenths of a point ahead of Denney and Coughlin, the 2012 U.S. Champions. Yet despite the exhilaration of a performance that had Zhang pumping her arms through the closing seconds of the routine as Bartholomay hoisted her above his head, the pair realize they're not a lock for an Olympic team spot.
Under U.S. Figure Skating rules a selection committee can select skaters to the team for Sochi who finished lower than the allotted spots at the U.S. Championships. The U.S. has two pairs spots for Sochi. The teams will be announced Sunday at 9 a.m. PST.
"I think we are both on Cloud 9," Bartholomay said. "As for the decision from the committee as to who goes to the Olympics, we know second isn't locked in. We just feel it was a great competition and there was a wonderful audience, a really incredible event.
"We felt like we didn't leave anything on the table and skated as hard and as passionate as we could."
The question is, was it enough to convince the selection committee the U.S. would be better off sending Zhang and Bartholomay to Sochi instead of Denney and Coughlin, the most successful American pairs team internationally this year.
Denny and Coughlin were fourth at the Skate America Grand Prix, ahead of both Castelli and Shnapir, sixth, and Zhang and Bartholomay, seventh. Denney and Coughlin were also third at Trophee Eric Bompard, an ISU Grand Prix in Paris.
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