It took nine years, but Amber Glenn finally won the women’s title at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Friday in Columbus, Ohio.
The 24-year-old Texan, who started the day in second place behind 16-year-old Isabeau Levito, wasn’t at her best in the free skate but still emerged victorious.
Levito, the reigning champion, fell out of contention by falling three times on her free skate. She wound up in third place, as 15-year-old Josephine Lee jumped into second after logging the best free-skate score.
Glenn said on NBC Sports of the emotion she showed upon seeing that she was the champion, “I know that both Isabeau and I are capable of so much more, but just the shock that all my hard work has paid off and the realization of what more I can do.”
A 135.48 score on the free skate left Glenn at 210.46. Lee posted a 138.85 on Friday to wind up at 204.13. Levito finished at 200.68 due to a 125.30 free-skate score.
Two U.S. women will advance to the World Figure Skating Championships, set for March 18-24 in Montreal, but Lee is too young to qualify. U.S. Figure Skating will make the final selection.
Earlier Friday, Ilia Malinin turned in a record-breaking performance in the men’s short program.
The 19-year-old Virginia native landed a quadruple toe loop and a quadruple Lutz en route to a score of 108.57. With Maxim Naumov in second place at 89.72, Malinin posted the largest-ever lead (18.85 points) after the men’s short program at the nationals under the current format.
The old mark was set by Olympic gold medalist Nathan Chen (17.72 points).
Malinin said on NBC Sports, “I was just kind of grateful that I got through everything, especially with the past few weeks having a lot of skate malfunctions I was just a little bit nervous going to this event. I’m lucky I was able to stay on my feet.”
Naumov, who came in fourth place last year, holds a tight edge over Jason Brown (89.02), Andrew Torgashev (88.02) and Camden Pulkinen (87.90).
The men’s free skate will conclude the national championships on Sunday.