Ice Network

Magical moment: Miami trounces collegiate field

RedHawks establish new record with 10th consecutive national title
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Miami University left the rest of the field in its dust and skated off with its 10th U.S.collegiate title in a row. -Jay Adeff

It was the moment Miami University RedHawks had hoped for. A moment they dreamed about when putting together their championship routine. The moment when they would win their 10th straight U.S. collegiate title.

"Carla [DeGirolamo] (the team's head coach) came to us with the concept," coach Lee Ann Shoker said. "We wanted to do something to capture the possibility of this season, the moment of 10 national championships in a row. We tweaked it a little bit as a group, and the concept really came together."

Setting themselves apart with incredible speed, Miami performed to a medley of songs that commemorated the monumental achievement, including Whitney Houston's "One Moment in Time" and Pitbull's "Feel This Moment."

"I am so excited," Shoker continued. "You just want to leave everything out on the ice, and I think the girls really did that today. The energy that they had when they were skating was palpable. You could feel it when you were watching them."

The RedHawks soared to a total score of 96.80 points, an impressive 18.03 ahead of their closest competitors. 

What's more, the team made U.S. figure skating history, setting the record for the most consecutive titles won in any discipline, at any level. The previous mark of nine was established by pairs skaters Theresa Weld Blanchard and Nathan Niles in 1918 and 1920-27 (no competition was held in 1919).

Placing second was Team Excel, which performed a Hunger Games-inspired free skate. The SC of Boston representatives chose selections of music, which included "Girl on Fire" by Alicia Keys, that would allow them to portray strong and empowered women, and the strategy worked as the team powered its way to the silver medal with 78.88 points.

Less than a point behind, with 78.60 points, was Michigan State University. The Spartans danced their way to bronze with an intricate performance to selections from The Great Gatsby soundtrack.

"The girls have worked extremely hard this season," coach Laura Sienkowski said. "More than half the girls on this team have never done synchro before, so it was definitely a building year, but definitely a good year. They helped each other out, and they learned along the way."

Rounding out the podium was the University of Michigan, which took pewter with 78.13 points. 

DC EDGE gets good reception, wins adult division

As DC EDGE received its scores, the team members could hardly believe their eyes and their ears: They had earned 58.48 points, making them the 2014 U.S. adult synchronized skating champions.

As coach Jenny DiSimone put it, they were able to overcome life to get where they are today.

"Life happens in the adult team division," DiSimone said. "We have had what we call 'adult team problems' this season."

One skater was relocated due to work and two could not compete due to pregnancies, but despite that, DC EDGE was able to outlast the field and come out on top.

Performing a program that portrayed the transition of television from black and white to color, DC EDGE wore costumes with the classic color TV bars across the middle and skated to music from Bewitched, I Love Lucy and I Dream of Jeannie. Their elements, the best in the event, made up for a components score which was the second best in the field. Their intersection received a Level 3 and 5.80 points, the top scoring element of the competition.

"They skated with a lot of presentation and smoothness," DiSimone said. "They looked fabulous out there, and I think their hard work has definitely paid off."

In second place, with 55.97 points, were the divas of the Crystallettes, who skated to a trio of songs by strong women. In their blue costumes, they earned the top program components score of the day, showing that they truly embodied the program.

"These girls think they are Beyoncé," coach Holly Teets said of her team that skated to hits from Beyoncé, Christina Aguilera and Kelly Clarkson. "They were divas out there, all of them."

The Crystallettes earned 34.82 points for their components and 23.15 for their elements, but their score was hurt by two falls.

"I think they skated great; it was a season-best score," Teets said. "They're fast, powerful and strong -- I just wish those two errors wouldn't have been in there."

Skating to hits from The Wizard of Oz, there was no place like home for Denver Synchronicity, which earned 55.48 points and the bronze medal.

"We are from Denver, so it was really nice to skate in our home state," team member Kayli Peterson said. "A big part of us was saying, there's no place like home."

With a clean skate, the team representing the Denver FSC has been building toward this moment: to skate in Colorado.

"We were really trying to peak at the U.S. championships," team member Eve Ikeler said. "We did just that. We are really happy with how we skated."

On the strength of its program to a boy band medley, defending champion Esprit de Corps (Hayden Recreation Centre FSC) took home the pewter.

Softer side pays off for Allegro!

Music from Cirque du Soleil's Kooza filled the World Arena as Allegro! skated to the masters title.

"Well, we have a wonderful coach who comes up with great ideas, and we just embrace them," team captain Marjorie Bryen said. "This program was fun and sultry and made us use our creative side, but also our powerful side. It was our best skate to date, and that's exactly what we planned to do today."

Receiving a majority of 7/2, the individual members made precision look easy, effortlessly gliding from one formation to the next. The Michigan-based team also won the U.S. title in its masters debut at the 2010 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships.

Finishing second was Esprit de Corps, whose gamble to resurrect an old program paid off.

"Their music is all by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, so it's got a real swing, fun feel to it," coach Dede Wilson said. "Our adult team did it back in 2008 and had so much fun with it that we decided to bring it back. About a third of this team competed it in 2008, and we're so excited to have it back. It has a real fun, sass factor to it. It suits this group perfectly."

Esprit de Corps' adult team won the silver medal in 2008, a feat this year's masters squad duplicated.

"We have seven original members from the team who competed this program the first time, but this time we're bigger and badder," Nikki Faulkner added. "We had a lot of fun out there. Our team has been growing all year, but we've had a blast. We wanted to do what we love to do and show that to the crowd. I think we accomplished that."

Taking the bronze was DC EDGE, whose model performance was picture perfect.

"Our theme was supermodels, and our motto has been to be 'sass-tastic,'" Michelle Daichman explained. "It's a word we made up to embody the entire theme of this program. I think we sold it, and we had a lot of attitude. We love skating this program, so we wanted to put it all out there and leave nothing behind."

The Washington FSC representatives worked each and every moment of their performance to selections of runway music, including Right Said Fred's "I'm Too Sexy" and RuPaul's "Supermodel (You Better Work)."

"We wanted to do something that was really fun that they could get into," coach Jenny DeSimone said. "That's always our number one priority. We want to choose music that the whole team can really embrace. We decided to do a fashion program, and it sort of took on a life of its own. It's a drag queen-esque, runway model mix of music that, the first time we played it, they just completely died. I think we hit the nail on the head with this one."

Skating to selections from Motown: The Musical, Denver Synchronicity dazzled its home-state crowd en route to earning the pewter.

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