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Ava Ziegler withdraws from figure skating nationals to focus on Four Continents

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Grand Prix winner Ava Ziegler has withdrawn from next week’s Prevagen U.S. Figure Skating Championships but is still expected to compete at the Four Continents Championships in China the following week.

“Ava Ziegler has withdrawn from U.S. Championships as her team advised she should prioritize her time to focus on Four Continents in China,” read a statement from Ziegler’s team through U.S. Figure Skating. “This was a difficult decision, however her team believes it in her best interest with both major competitions so close together.”

Typically in non-Olympic years, Four Continents, an international competition for skaters in non-European countries, is held two weeks after nationals. With this year being a one-week gap, U.S. Figure Skating named its team for Four Continents before nationals rather than after nationals.

Nationals is the final competition before the team is named for March’s world championships, though it is possible that final decisions on one or more spots could be made after Four Continents.

Ziegler can still be considered for one of two women’s spots on the world team without competing at nationals.

Ziegler, a 17-year-old from New Jersey, ranks second among American women by best total score this season behind reigning national champion Isabeau Levito.

In November, Ziegler won an international Grand Prix event in Japan, jumping from fifth after the short program by topping the free skate.

Ziegler, ninth in her senior U.S. Championships debut last January, broke the U.S. women’s record for quickest ascent to a Grand Prix title — in just her second Grand Prix start.

She initially didn’t receive any Grand Prix assignments this season — ninth place at nationals can be too low to get into the top-level Grand Prix — but was added to the field in Japan after another skater withdrew in August.

After Levito and Ziegler, the next highest ranked American women this season in the nationals field are fellow New Jersey native Lindsay Thorngren and 2023 World team member Amber Glenn.

Bradie Tennell, a two-time U.S. champion who was runner-up to Levito last year, is out for the season after breaking an ankle in the fall.