Qualifying Competitive Pipeline


Beginning with the 2019-20 competitive season, there will be a new competitive pipeline for singles, pairs and dance athletes focused on the vision: Identify. Develop. Promote.

The pipeline features the following:

  • NEW! National Qualifying Series
  • New names for qualifying competitions
  • Additional athletes qualifying for the sectional singles challenge
  • Earlier timeline for pairs and dance teams and another opportunity for national competition
  • National High-Performance Development Team Camp for juvenile, intermediate and novice athletes
National Qualifying Series

The National Qualifying Series (NQS) is a series of official U.S. Figure Skating approved competitions hosted individually by member clubs nationwide that are held in a standard format and in which athletes earn official scores towards a sectional and national rank. The competitions are held between June 1 – September 15 and serve juvenile – senior competitors in singles, dance and pairs.

Key highlights:

  • Athletes must enter the NQS directly with U.S. Figure Skating by May 28, 2019
  • Athletes enter any official competitions they choose
  • Only the athlete or team’s highest Total Score (TS) counts
  • The top six ranking singles athletes in each section earn a bye to the Sectional Singles Final
  • The top three ranking dance or pairs teams nationwide earn a bye the U.S. Pairs or U.S. Dance Final
  • Athletes receive an official ‘national ranking’ and a certificate and pin to recognize their achievement.

Information for Potential Host Clubs
All U.S. Figure Skating member clubs that typically host non-qualifying competitions during the summer months are encouraged to apply for their competition to be recognized as an official NQS competition. Competitions may apply separately for singles, pairs or dance. The deadline to apply if February 1.

Click here for the official Local Organizing Committee Handbook and Requirements to Host document.)

Information for Athletes
The list of officials NQS competitions will be posted no later than March 1. Athletes must enter the overall NQS by May 28, 2019 – competitions are entered separately, by the specific entry deadline. Athletes do NOT need to select their competitions at the time of registration. Athletes may also “skate up” one test level and may enter two competitive levels.

Click here for a presentation that explains the NQS for singles athletes. (Attachment # 2)
Click here for a presentation that explains the NQS for dance and pairs athletes. (Coming soon)
Note: Officials Athlete Handbooks for each discipline will be posted here no later than March 1.

Qualifying Competition Pipeline

Singles
National Qualifying Series (June – September)
Regional Singles Challenge (October)
Sectional Singles Final (November)
U.S. Figure Skating Championships (January)
National High Performance Develop. Team (January)

Pairs and Dance
National Qualifying Series (June – September)
Sectional Pairs / Dance Challenge (October)
U.S. Pairs / Dance Final (November)
U.S. Figure Skating Championships (January)
National High Performance Development Team (Jan.)

Click here for detailed advancement for singles.
Click here for detailed advancement for pairs.
Click here for detailed advancement for dance.

National High Performance Development Team and Camp

The National High Performance Development Team and Camp (NHPDT) is a new program run by the U.S. Figure Skating High Performance Department, that debuts in January 2020. In lieu of the top performing juvenile, intermediate and novice athletes competing at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, they will instead qualify for the National High Performance Development Team, which will commence with a training camp immediately following the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

Athletes will attend with a parent and coach and participate in a three-day educational training program to accelerate their exposure to High Performance Programs and Team USA. The program will include competitive group training on-ice, sports science, mental training and access to specialty coaches and international officials they wouldn’t otherwise have. Athletes also have the opportunity to be selected for advanced novice and junior international competitions and other high performance programs and competitions.

Click here for detailed information on the National High Performance Development Team.

Other Changes to the Competitive Pipeline

In novice ladies and novice men, the top two finishers at each Sectional Singles Final will be invited to compete at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships – in the junior ladies or junior men’s event. This brings the total number of qualifiers for the junior singles events to 18 each. See the detailed advancement for singles document for details.

In senior ladies, senior men, senior pairs and senior dance, all competitors that qualify for the U.S. Figure Skating Championships through their placement at a Sectional Singles Final, the U.S. Pairs Final or the U.S. Dance Final, must also have met a minimum Technical Elements Score (TES) during the season to compete at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. Scores may be earned at any of the following competitions: Any officials NQS event, a Regional or Sectional Challenge, a Sectional or U.S. Final, or any international competition. Competitors not earning the minimum TES will be not be permitted to enter the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

The qualifying competitive pipeline explained on this page was approved by the 2018 U.S. Figure Skating Governing Council, for implementation beginning with the NQS, June 1, 2019. To read the entire Request For Action approved by the Governing Council, including detailed rationale, click here.