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Gracie Gold’s outlook for U.S. Championships clouded after more struggles

Gracie Gold

Gracie Gold struggled in all four of her competitions this fall, capped by her lowest total score in four years at a Croatian event this week, putting her under scrutiny for the U.S. Championships in six weeks.

She singled three jumps and fell twice across two programs at Golden Spin in Zagreb, Croatia, on Thursday and Friday.

Gold totaled 159.02 points for sixth place, her first time below 160 points since 2012 Skate Canada in her first season as a senior skater.

Italian Carolina Kostner, the 2014 Olympic bronze medalist, won with 196.23 points in her first full competition since the 2014 World Championships.

GOLD’S SKATES: Short Program | Free Skate

Earlier this fall, Gold finished last of six skaters in the free skate-only Japan Open on Oct. 1, fifth at Skate America in October and eighth at Trophée de France in November.

Gold has spoken openly about trying to mentally and physically recover from last season’s world championships, where she dropped from first after the short program to finish fourth, and taking weeks off from training in the summer offseason.

Even with the rough skates, Gold still ranks fourth among U.S. women in top scores this season, behind Ashley Wagner, Mariah Bell and Mirai Nagasu.

She could struggle -- to a degree -- at the U.S. Championships in January and still make the three-woman world championships team. Gold has finished first or second at all four of her senior nationals appearances.

MORE: Figure skating season broadcast schedule

Top U.S. women’s skaters in 2016-17
1. Ashley Wagner -- 196.44 (Skate America)
2. Mariah Bell -- 191.59 (Skate America)
3. Mirai Nagasu -- 189.11 (Autumn Classic)
4. Gracie Gold -- 184.22 (Skate America)
5. Amber Glenn -- 183.60 (Golden Spin)
6. Courtney Hicks -- 182.98 (Rostelecom Cup)