Bradie Tennell performs during the women's short program at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Tennell, Liu top standings after short program at nationals

January 24, 2019 - 8:04 pm

DETROIT (AP) — Defending champion Bradie Tennell has the lead after the short program at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, and 13-year-old Alysa Liu is a strong second after landing a triple axel.

Tennell skated a sharp, clean program Thursday night and earned a score of 76.60, nearly three points higher than her short program when she won this competition in 2018. But nobody else was able to top Liu, the reigning U.S. junior champion who could be well on her way to stardom.

In August, Liu became the youngest woman to land a triple axel in international competition. It was part of her program Thursday as well, and her score of 73.89 had her in the lead for a while.

Tarah Kayne and Danny O'Shea led the pairs competition after the short program.

The free skate is Friday night for the women and Saturday for the pairs.

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