Renowned coach Frank Carroll has helped San Jose's Polina Edmunds for the past half year while coaching rising skating star Gracie Gold.

He knew something many others in figure skating did not: The teens are primed to take on the world.

Carroll was feeling cocksure after they finished first and second in the short program at the U.S. figure skating championships in Boston. He looked Edmunds' coach David Glynn square in the eye in the hallway at TD Garden and said, "I told you this would happen."

While Gold, 18, is not a surprise leader, Edmunds is a downright shock in second place.

Now it will come down to nerves Saturday in the free skate, as the Archbishop Mitty sophomore tries to become the first Bay Area singles skater to qualify for the Winter Olympics since Kristi Yamaguchi in 1992.

A region that has produced some of the sport's biggest names has seen one Olympic skater since Yamaguchi -- ice dancer Beata Handra of Santa Rosa qualified for the 2002 Games only when two teams that finished ahead of her at trials were ineligible because of citizenship issues.

Edmunds, 15, will be the third-to-last skater in the final group Saturday night at TD Garden, where she will perform an ambitious free skate with two triple-triple jump combinations. Her theme is from the Norwegian play "Peer Gynt," with music by Edvard Grieg.

Edmunds, who began skating at Sharks Ice San Jose at 20 months, is comfortable with the highly technical program.


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"It's been a half a year since I have been training with all the difficulties," she said before leaving for Boston. "All the triples are equally easy and equally difficult."

After the short program Thursday night, Carroll told Edmunds, "You were wonderful."

Then the coach who works with Edmunds once a month told reporters, "She is the future."

While Edmunds created a buzz in the figure skating world, her coaches remained grounded Friday as they prepared for the four-minute-plus free skate.

"She has a lot of experience to take it one day at a time and not get overwhelmed by one thing in particular," said Glynn, who has coached Edmunds since she was 4.

Edmunds will try to become one of three Americans to earn a berth at the Sochi Games starting Feb. 6 in southern Russia. Conventional wisdom suggested two-time reigning U.S. champion Ashley Wagner and Gold were the prohibitive favorites in Boston. But the third spot was an unknown.

While Gold has a commanding lead, Edmunds is just ahead of 2010 Olympian Mirai Nagasu and Wagner. Nagasu and Gold are the final two skaters for the long program.

Edmunds planned to prepare Friday like any other training day. She skated for an hour at a private rink and stayed near her hotel.

"We try not to be around many people," said Nina Edmunds, her mother and coach. "It's concentration here. No time for play."

Edmunds, who has competed at national championships since age 11, knows the routine. She isn't afraid of the limelight or telling it like it is.

Pressure? What pressure?

The teen plans to "trust my feet not to get too nervous and feel like I have pressure, because I don't really have pressure right now," Edmunds said. "I just really want to go out there and skate."

Contact Elliott Almond at 408-920-5865. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/elliottalmond.