Nine skaters with local ties will be competing in the championships. Seven currently live in the area:
• Angie Lien of Superior, Wis.
• Molly Oberstar of Duluth
• Eliot Halverson of St. Paul
• Rohene Ward of Minneapolis
• Kirsten Olson of Savage
• Alex Johnson of Minnetonka
• Samiera Abou-Nasr of Woodbury
• Moorhead native Mark Ladwig and partner Amanda Evora, who live in Florida, will compete in the senior pairs. Oakdale native Michael Chau and partner Tracy Tanovich, who also live and train in Florida, will skate in junior pairs.
HOW THEY GOT HERE
Most of the local skaters qualified through the Upper Great Lakes Regional and the Midwestern Sectional. Oberstar and Johnson won their events at the sectional; Ward and Olson placed second; and Lien and Halverson placed fourth. Abou-Nasr qualified by placing second at the Pacific Coast Sectional. Chau/Tanovich earned their spot by winning their events at the Eastern Sectional. Evora and Ladwig, who finished fourth at Skate America and fourth at the 2007 U.S. championships, received a bye.
DID YOU KNOW?
• Halverson is competing at the senior level for the first time after winning the U.S. novice title in 2006 and the U.S. junior championship in 2007.
• Lien turned 27 on Jan. 16 and is the oldest competitor in the women's field. This is her fifth nationals.
• In his first season competing at the junior level, Johnson won his event at the Midwestern Sectional by 33 points.
• Oberstar is reprising both of her programs from last year, a short program to a guitar version of Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time" and a free skate set to a gypsy medley.
• Olson has placed in the top 10 in both of her previous appearances at nationals. She was ninth last year in the junior division and fifth as a novice in 2005.
• Ward's programs include a quadruple toe loop, which he has landed in competition. He can spin and jump in both directions.