Lexettes survive Saint Louis Synergy surge for goldHockettes climb up to take junior bronze; Skyliners win juvenile crown
When the Lexettes took the ice for their free skate Friday night at the 2014 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships, they were riding a streak of six consecutive third-place finishes. They would leave the ice as U.S. junior champions.
"We've worked so hard as a team throughout the entire season," two-year member Shannon Jahrling said. "We've had our ups and downs, but I'm so proud of this team. We were able to skate for ourselves and not for a score, which is so much more important."
Heading into the second segment of competition with a seven-point lead, the Hayden Recreation Centre FSC representatives held onto the top spot with a performance that received positive GOEs (grades of execution) on each of its nine elements. They finished the event with a combined 154.66 points.
Taking the silver, Saint Louis Synergy performed a flawless free skate to selections from Evita, an emotional performance that earned the highest score of the segment.
"I've been with these girls for nine years," Lucy Downing said. "We've grown up together. We feel like we couldn't have done more out there tonight. We're really happy because we've worked so hard on our elements."
The team earned a Level 3 on seven of its nine elements en route to a technical elements score of 49.57 points. They earned 106.10 points for their free skate and 154.13 points for the week.
Rebounding from a fifth-place finish in the short program, the Hockettes of Ann Arbor, Mich., executed a flawless routine to music from Hitchcock to stand on the podium with 136.36 total points.
"We've been working really hard this year, and we're really passionate about this program," coach Erin Donovan said. "It's really exciting to see them skate their best and get rewarded for it with their score. It's been a while since we've been on the podium, and it's so great to be back."
Left without a medal since 2011, the Hockettes earned 90.96 points for their free skate, which featured six elements that received a Level 3.
Finishing fourth, Chicago Jazz earned 86.61 points for the segment en route to 133.81 total points.
Skyliners take juvenile crown
The afternoon at World Arena belonged to the Skyliners, who won the juvenile title by a 7/1 majority.
"It was a magical skate for them," coach Natalie Martello said. "They skated clean, and I feel like they connected on the ice. They connected with each other and also with the audience."
Skating to selections of music from Aladdin, the New York-based team demonstrated exquisite extension and unison, a feat that was no easy task for a team primarily comprised of new members.
"It was really fun out there," third-year member Sophia Lamb said. "We're like a new team; only six skaters are returning from last year, and we're really happy and proud of ourselves. We feel like we had the skate of our lives."
Taking silver was Chicago Jazz, which finished second with a margin of 5/2. Performing to selections from Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, the Illinois-based team set itself ahead of its competitors with a winning combination of precision and strength.
"I definitely think our intersection was really good; we connected at the end, and our block had lots of straight lines and our head and arm movements worked really well together," third-year member Sophia Nappo said. "We all work really well as a team, and that's all we can really ask for. We help each other out and support each other."
"That's the best I could have asked for," the team's coach, Kristi Frank, added. "I'm so excited for them. They really did everything they needed to do and stepped it up at the right moment."
Rounding out the podium were the Mini Mates of the Hayden Recreation Centre, who took bronze with a 5/3 majority.
"We did amazing," Erika Graham said. "It was our best skates of the season. We were all together, and our facial expressions really came through. We've been working on that. We want to look up to the judges and show them how confident we are."
Finishing fourth were Skokie Valley SC representatives, the Starlights, who won pewter with a margin of 5/5.