Catching 22! Haydenettes add another U.S. titleInvincible squad wins by 25.25 points; Crystallettes punch ticket to worlds
I don't know about you, but the Haydenettes are feeling 22.
An emotional free skate capped off a sensational 22nd U.S. title and fifth in a row for the Haydenettes at the senior level Saturday night inside the World Arena at the 2014 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships. As they often do, the Haydenettes were able to bring their best when it counts the most.
"I think this is one of the best performances we have had this season," team member Noelle Pearson said. "We really pushed ourselves technically and emotionally."
Finishing with 205.02 points, the Haydenettes took the title by 25.25 points ahead of second place, their widest margin of victory ever at a U.S. championships. A team that coach Saga Krantz said could be her best yet.
"This team is fearless and always ready to work," Krantz said. "I am always tweaking or changing something, and they always take it in and trust me. They're like a family to me."
Skating to music from the Count of Monte Cristo in deep red dresses, the Haydenettes portrayed the epic tale of revenge with pure emotion and skill. Their program components score was off the charts, and their elements were both difficult and well-executed. The Haydenettes earned Level 4 on seven elements and received positive GOEs (grades of execution) throughout their entire skate.
The team will next head to the 2014 World Synchronized Skating Championships, and after four straight bronze medals, they have a medal of a different color on their minds.
"I definitely think that this team was meant to skate together," team member Jenna Longo said. "These programs could push us to the top of the podium."
Joining the Haydenettes on the world team are the runners-up, the Crystallettes, who finished in second with 179.77 points. Skating to Iris, a Cirque du Soleil piece, it was an early trip to town that helped them secure their silver medal.
The team flew in nearly a week early and spent four hours on the ice each day in Breckenridge, Colo., practicing at an altitude nearly 3,000 feet about where they would compete.
"We are very excited," coach Shannon Peterson said. "All of the altitude training has paid off."
The team prepared for this performance all season with interval training and, along with the prep time at altitude, it showed.
"They attacked that skate," coach Holly Teets said. "They were really in the moment and enjoyed it. They worked really hard for this."
Fast and together, the Crystallettes glided across the ice with ease in white tops with black bottoms. They racked up a huge 66.81 points for their components, which led them to a comfortable second-place finish.
Excitement filled the locker room when the Starlights found out they had earned their best placement ever at a U.S. championships. Screams filled the air and one skater proclaimed that she would not be able to sleep tonight. Pure joy, and a bronze medal around their necks.
"They are over-the-moon excited," coach Heather Paige said. "They had the skate of their lives for the short program and the free skate, and we are so proud of them."
In fourth after the short program, the Starlights dazzled on the ice in their free skate to music from Disney's Dinosaur. Half of the team wore wings on their right arms and half on their left to portray butterflies. They earned strong marks for their components as well as executing all but one element with a positive GOE. They finished with 154.90 points and a return trip onto the medal stand.
"When we first came into the senior division, we ended up in fourth," said Paige of their finish in 2010, followed by finishes of fifth, seventh and seventh the past three years. "But we have been fighting to get back onto the podium ever since, and here we are. It's unbelievable."
Last year's silver medalists, Miami University, finished in fourth with 149.64 points.