Max Aaron eyes his second national title, while three other men seek their first in the U.S. Figure Skating Championships men’s free skate on Sunday, live on NBC and NBC Sports Live Extra at 4 p.m. ET.
Reigning U.S. silver medalist Adam Rippon is third and Junior Grand Prix Final champion Nathan Chen is fourth, both within striking distance of Aaron.
It’s the first U.S. Championships with zero men’s Olympians in the field since 1968. Sochi team members Jason Brown and Jeremy Abbott are out due to a back injury and taking the season off from competition, respectively.
Brown, the 2015 U.S. champion out since November with a back strain, petitioned for a spot on the three-man World Championships team that will be named after Nationals.
The U.S. champion is guaranteed a spot at Worlds in Boston in two months. The other two men will be chosen by a U.S. Figure Skating committee and named after the free skate, taking into account not only Sunday’s results but also recent national and international competitions.
Chen, 16, hopes to become the youngest man to finish in the top three at a U.S. Championships since 1973, youngest to compete at Worlds since 1965 and the youngest U.S. men’s champion since Dick Button in 1946.