There's a new synchro team on the scene

Southern Silhouette team joins synchro ranks

The male contingent on the team is one of the Southern Silhouette's unique qualities.
The male contingent on the team is one of the Southern Silhouette's unique qualities. (Paul Harvath)


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By Jocelyn Jane Cox, special to
(02/24/2008) - There were over 90 teams in Providence competing in the 2008 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships. All of them have a unique history, but one particular team -- the Southern Silhouette senior team of the Nashville Figure Skating Club -- has an unusual story for a few reasons.

For one thing, none of the skaters had ever done synchronized skating before this past October. The team is comprised of singles skaters and pair skaters with freestyle testing levels ranging from intermediate to senior. Three of them competed at the 2008 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Saint Paul, Minn., in January.

Coach Bill Fauver tells us that he and his wife, Laura Saunders, decided to form the team for a few reasons. Their club hosted the 2008 Midwestern/Pacific Coast Synchronized Sectional Championships, and they wanted to participate. But they also saw it as a team-building project, a way to bring their skaters together. They did not expect that by participating in that event, which only had three teams, they would automatically qualify for the U.S. Synchro Championships. They've spent the last few weeks trying to get organized and putting together some funding for the trip.

Fauver, who is a former pair skating national medalist and Olympian with partner Lee Ann Miller, admits that they are just getting the hang of the IJS synchronized skating rules. He jokes that at sectionals, "they had to add more columns to the protocol sheet in order to list our deductions. We had to wait a long time for our scores -- at least five or six minutes -- while the judging panel added up everything we did wrong!" Since then, they have re-tooled both of their programs for Providence. Their short program theme was the Super Mario Bros. video game. One of the team members, novice pair skater Matt Reuter, found the music on the internet. Their free skate was to "Show Me the Way" by Styx, a tongue-in-cheek reference to their inexperience in the field. Janyce Okamoto, who is also a pair skater, made all the team's costumes in the last month and half.

Fauver explains that it has been interesting bringing all these individual skaters together as a cohesive unit. One of the biggest challenges has been trying to get all the skaters in the same place at the same time in order to practice.

While the skaters on the Southern Silhouette team have definitely brought their freestyle skating drive and intensity to this experience, they have been taking note of how organized and regimented the other teams are with their off-ice warm-ups. Coach Fauver points out that they have a mix of strong personalities and that this has definitely changed the relationship between them at the rink. Team member Kelsey Tishner says that they've all gotten to know each other better.

This team is also unique in that it has five male skaters, more than any other team (usually one man on a team is a lot). One of the Southern Silhouette men is Wesley Campbell, the seventh-place finisher at the senior men's division at the U.S. championships. He says, "Being here is really fun. We've met a lot of the other teams and have been hanging out with them."

Another one of the male skaters for this event was Fauver himself, who was filling in for a college-aged skater who could not change her exam schedule at Vanderbilt University. Fauver needed to step in at the last minute in order to round out the 16 skater minimum. He laughs, "I'm certainly the worst skater on the team!"

As for the future, Fauver says it's uncertain. They have had fun, and they are excited to have a synchro program at their rink, but whether they continue will be a matter of working out all the logistics and getting it to mesh with the freestyle competitive season. Southern Silhouette also formed a pre-juvenile team last year, and they are looking forward to continuing at the intermediate level.