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Who will stand on the podiums in Kansas City?

Icenetwork contributors share their predictions for the U.S. championships
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Nathan Chen and Ashley Wagner are two of the favorites to win gold at the 2017 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. -Getty Images

Icenetwork asked contributors Philip Hersh, Lynn Rutherford, Nick McCarvel and Sarah S. Brannen to predict the medal-winners at the 2017 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Kansas City, Missouri.

Philip Hersh

Ladies

1. Ashley Wagner
2. Courtney Hicks
3. Gracie Gold
4. Mariah Bell

After winning Skate America, reigning world silver medalist Ashley Wagner missed a spot in the Grand Prix Final because of a poor free skate at Cup of China. But, 2016 U.S. champ Gracie Gold's struggles make Wagner a heavy favorite to regain a title she won in 2012, 2013 and 2015. After Wagner, it's anyone's guess, especially since Polina Edmunds withdrew because she still is not healthy enough (foot injury) to compete for the first time since finishing second last year.

Men's

1. Nathan Chen
2. Jason Brown
3. Ross Miner
4. Max Aaron

Chen's arsenal of quads should be enough to make him the youngest U.S. men's champ since Scott Allen in 1966. Even if the 17-year-old stumbles, Jason Brown -- the 2015 champion who missed last year with an injury -- won't have a realistic chance to win without landing at least one clean quad. The withdrawal of defending champion Adam Rippon (broken foot) clears a more direct path to gold for Chen as well.

Pairs

1. Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier
2. Tarah Kayne and Daniel O'Shea
3. Marissa Castelli and Mervin Tran
4. Jessica Pfund and Joshua Santillan

Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier have put together a solid comeback after missing last season due to Denney's knee surgery. Alexa Scimeca Knierim and husband Chris Knierim, the top U.S. pair in 2015, decided to withdraw this week after missing too much training time, the result of her undergoing surgery in September for an unspecified issue. Reigning champions Tarah Kayne and Daniel O'Shea were only 13th in the Grand Prix standings, while Denney and Frazier were eighth.

Dance

1. Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani
2. Madison Chock and Evan Bates
3. Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue
4. Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker

The reigning champion Shibutanis have established themselves as the top team, with strong finishes at the 2016 World Championships, where they earned a silver medal, and the 2016 Grand Prix Final, which resulted in a bronze medal.

Lynn Rutherford

Ladies

1. Gracie Gold
2. Ashley Wagner
3. Mirai Nagasu
4. Mariah Bell

This is Gold's last chance to salvage the season and lay the groundwork for PyeongChang. I'm taking a leap of faith that she hit bottom with her sixth-place finish at Golden Spin of Zagreb, and that she'll regain her technical edge in Kansas City. Wagner will shrug off a disappointing Cup of China and skate well, and I look for Nagasu to try her triple axel.

Men's

1. Nathan Chen
2. Max Aaron
3. Jason Brown
4. Vincent Zhou

Barring injury, it's difficult to imagine a feasible scenario that doesn't have Chen winning his first U.S. title. Thanks to Adam Rippon's withdrawal, the race is now tight between Aaron and Brown for the second spot, but I'm betting a new short program will give Aaron the confidence he needs to peak in Kansas City.

Pairs

1. Tarah Kayne and Daniel O'Shea
2. Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier
3. Marissa Castelli and Mervin Tran
4. Ashley Cain and Timothy LeDuc

Denney and Frazier had a fine Grand Prix season and could well win their first U.S. title, but history has proven that pairs coached by Jim Peterson's team in Ellenton, Florida, save their best performances for the U.S. championships. If they are healthy, Kayne and O'Shea have the potential to skate far better in Kansas City than they did earlier this season.

Dance

1. Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani
2. Madison Chock and Evan Bates
3. Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue
4. Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker

The Shibutanis are supreme competitors, they have excellent programs, and their confidence is high. Chock and Bates have great programs as well but will have to skate aggressively and avoid the errors they've made early this season to have any chance at gold. I look for a tight contest between places two through four.

Nick McCarvel

Ladies

1. Ashley Wagner
2. Mariah Bell
3. Gracie Gold
4. Mirai Nagasu

The U.S. ladies did not have the Grand Prix season we were expecting this past fall, but it's hard to look too far away from the two skaters that have been this country's stalwarts, nationally and internationally, the past several years. I think Mariah Bell wedges her way onto the podium and onto the world team, and I believe Gracie Gold will begin a long, slow turnaround with a medal here to earn a shot at redemption (or at least a respectable showing) at worlds.

Men's

1. Nathan Chen
2. Max Aaron
3. Jason Brown
4. Grant Hochstein

How can you pick against Nathan Chen at this point? He absolutely threw down at the Grand Prix Final and despite the fact that all eyes will be on him, I expect the talented Chen to step up and take on this challenge head first. He's the far-out favorite because of Adam Rippon's withdrawal and an underwhelming first half of the season for Max Aaron and Jason Brown.

Pairs

1. Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier
2. Tarah Kayne and Daniel O'Shea
3. Marissa Castelli and Mervin Tran
4. Jessica Pfund and Joshua Santillan

With the Knierims forced to sit this one out, the battle comes down to Denney and Frazier, and Kayne and O'Shea. I feel as though Haven and Brandon have been much stronger and more consistent this season. Even if Golden Spin didn't go the way they wanted it to, they're still the team to beat. I also think this is where Castelli and Tran really start to assert themselves as a conversation piece for the 2018 Olympics.

Dance

1. Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani
2. Madison Chock and Evan Bates
3. Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue
4. Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus

The Shibutanis have continued to raise the bar this season, while Chock and Bates have faced some of their own challenges. Maia and Alex are thinking big, world-podium style, and that gives them the confidence to come into nationals and win outright. I find the U.S. dance field entirely compelling, and one in which the top three are rather clear, while not completely safe. Will the pecking order change 12 months from now? Let's see that conversation start in Kansas City.

Sarah S. Brannen

Ladies

1. Ashley Wagner
2. Mariah Bell
3. Gracie Gold
4. Mirai Nagasu

Wagner skated very well early in the season, and then delivered a poor performance at her second Grand Prix event. But, she's a fighter and probably has what it takes to reclaim her title. Switching coaches seems to have allowed Bell to skate up to her potential, while Gold has been very troubled all season.

Men's

1. Nathan Chen
2. Vincent Zhou
3. Max Aaron
4. Jason Brown

Chen was my "bold prediction" to win back in August, and since then has turned into a heavy favorite. He's the only U.S. man with the technical goods to seriously vie for a medal in Helsinki, as long as he stays healthy. With Rippon's withdrawal, the silver medal is up for grabs. Brown looked good early in the fall but skated poorly at the NHK Trophy. Zhou is a rising star -- he continues to work on four different quads -- but may not be quite ready for the top place on the podium.

Pairs

1. Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier
2. Ashley Cain and Timothy LeDuc
3. Tarah Kayne and Daniel O'Shea
4. Marissa Castelli and Mervin Tran

Denney and Frazier appear to have gelled with their new coach, Rockne Brubaker. The elegant new pair of Cain and LeDuc are a bold pick for the silver, but defending champs Kayne and O'Shea are still struggling with her injury, and Cain and LeDuc are strong individual jumpers. Castelli and Tran haven't yet lived up to their potential.

Dance

1. Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani
2. Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue
3. Madison Chock and Evan Bates
4. Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker

Hubbell and Donohue beat Chock and Bates at the Grand Prix Final and are skating better than ever, so perhaps another upset is in store. To the surprise of no one, the Shibutanis look like a lock to win gold for the second year in a row.

Icenetwork Consensus*

Ladies

1. Ashley Wagner (15 points)
2. Gracie Gold (10)
3. Mariah Bell (8)
4. Mirai Nagasu (4)

Men's

1. Nathan Chen (16)
2. Max Aaron (9)
3. Jason Brown (8)
4. Vincent Zhou (4)

Pairs

1. Haven Denney/Brandon Frazier (15)
2. Tarah Kayne/Daniel O'Shea (12)
3. Marissa Castelli/Mervin Tran (7)
4. Ashley Cain/Timothy LeDuc (4)

Dance

1. Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (16)
2. Madison Chock/Evan Bates (11)
3. Madison Hubbell/Zachary Donohue (9)
4. Kaitlin Hawayek/Jean-Luc Baker (3)

*First-place predictions were four points, second-place predictions three points, third-place predictions two points and fourth-place predictions one point.