OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Alexa Scimeca and Christopher Knierim might want to hold off booking their trip to the world championships.
Scimeca and Knierim were second in pairs at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, a finish that would normally earn them a trip to worlds. But the pair is likely to be passed over for their training partners, Caydee Denney and John Coughlin, as U.S. Figure Skating tries to ensure the Americans will be able to send at least two pairs to next year's Sochi Olympics.
"I wouldn't say disappointment," Scimeca said. "I would say God works in mysterious ways and maybe this time isn't our time."
The world championships also are the Olympic qualifier, and the Americans risk having only one team in Sochi if they send two inexperienced teams to worlds. The teams have to finish with a combined placement of 28 or better (12th and 16th, say) — no sure thing in a discipline where it's unusual for newcomers to crack the top 10.
Denney and Coughlin are the Americans' best prospect, the only U.S. team with a shot at finishing in the top five at a worlds or Olympics. (They were eighth at last year's worlds, their first together.) They missed nationals while he recovers from hip surgery, but have petitioned for a spot on the world team, and are all but certain to go if he's healthy.
The world team is expected to be announced Sunday.
"We're competitors at the end of the day," Scimeca said. "But we're also family."
LET GO! Maia and Alex Shibutani cost themselves a third straight silver medal at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.
For a second straight day, the ice dancers were docked a point for an extended lift. Each lift has a maximum limit of beats or seconds or revolutions.
Those two points wound up being the difference between silver and bronze, with the siblings finishing 1.7 points behind Madison Chock and Greg Bates.
ALL IN THE FAMILY: Kristi Yamaguchi isn't predicting greatness for her 7-year-old daughter.
But the 1992 Olympic champion is seeing to it that little Emma gets some good coaching.
Rudy Galindo, the 1996 U.S. men's champion and Yamaguchi's old pairs partner, has been Emma's coach for about a year.
"At this point, it's very recreational," Yamaguchi said. "She loves it. She gets on the ice and is just smiling the whole time."
Yamaguchi and Galindo were the 1988 junior world champions in pairs, and won the senior titles at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in both 1989 and '90. They remain close — Yamaguchi and her mother were both on hand for Galindo's induction into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame on Friday night — and Yamaguchi said it's a joy to watch her old friend work with her daughter.
"She kind of understands mommy competed at a high level," Yamaguchi said. "But I'm still mom, so it's hard for her to listen to me. She does say, 'Well, that's not what Rudy said.' I say, 'OK, OK, listen to Rudy and do it how he says.' But it's hard for me not to say some stuff."
SMART SKATERS: Kaitlyn Hawayek has an honor to go along with her silver medal in junior ice dance.
The junior at Troy/Athens High School in Troy, Mich., was one of 10 skaters named to the U.S. Figure Skating Scholastic Honors Team on Saturday. The program recognizes high school juniors and seniors who excel in academics, community involvement and skating, and is open to fulltime students with a GPA of 3.4 or higher.
This year, all 10 members were on the honor roll, in an honor's society or had a GPA of 3.7 or better.
In addition to Hawayek, the other members of the team were: Christie Corn, singles, senior at Riverdale Country School in New York; Jacquelyn Cruz, synchronized skating, senior at Saint Viator High School in Arlington Heights, Ill.; Wilbur Ji, novice men, senior at Palo Alto (Calif.) Senior High School; Sage Kelner, synchronized skating, junior at Minnetonka (Minn.) High School; Brian Krentz, junior men, senior at New Trier Township High School in Winnetka, Ill.; Lauren Lapuck, synchronized skating, senior at Beaver Country Day School in Chestnut Hill, Mass.; Alexander Martin, novice ice dance, junior at International Academy West Campus in White Lake, Mich.; Holly Moore, junior ice dance, junior at Gilmour Academy in Gates Mills, Ohio; Jennifer Skerker, synchronized skater, senior at Lexington (Mass.) High School.
AP Sports Writer Eric Olson contributed to this report.