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Denver Synchronicity wins back-to-back masters titles

Newly formed DC Edge takes the silver medal, La Furia the bronze

The Denver Synchronicity masters team skated beautifully on Friday in Maine.
The Denver Synchronicity masters team skated beautifully on Friday in Maine. (Paul Harvath)

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By Becca Staed, special to icenetwork.com
(03/06/2009) - When reigning masters champions, Denver Synchronicity, put together this year's Marilyn Monroe-themed free skate, their Barbie mascot, "Marilyn," acquired a diamond necklace. Since then, she's collected a team jacket, this year's bright pink costume and even her own ice rink. But "Marilyn" received the most important item Friday when the team won gold at the 2009 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships, its second consecutive national gold medal after just three years together.

Though the team came in third at Midwestern Sectionals, coach and team member Alicia Carr never doubted her team's ability.

"Today's performance was like night and day from sectionals," Carr said. "We were just more prepared this time. We had a month more of training, and we felt a little more comfortable."

The team opened with a nice two-line intersection that transitioned into a line and a traveling circle. Their triangle intersection was crisp, but a diamond block into their footwork sequence was the strongest element of their performance, skated to "More," "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend" and "I Wanna Be Loved by You."

They won the event with a 5-to-1 majority over second-place finishers DC Edge, which formerly skated as Ice Force One until coach Jennifer DeSimone relocated from Michigan to her hometown of Washington, D.C., last spring. DeSimone resumed coaching the team, which she'd worked with five years ago.

"We have maintained our friendship over the years," DeSimone said. "Coming back to work with them again this season has been an absolute pleasure."

The team placed in a tie for first at Eastern Sectionals but raised the bar even higher here in Maine with their free skate to Van Halen's "Jump," "Right Now" and "Why Can't This Be Love?" That improvement made DeSimone a proud coach in her first year back.

"This performance was so much stronger than at sectionals," she said. "They took the ice and lit it up with the character. They found their inner rock star. They really sold it."

The changes have given DC Edge a fresh outlook that helped, rather than hindered, their efforts this year.

"Everyone was really excited about the fresh start that becoming the DC Edge and a comprehensive adult synchronized skating program presented," DeSimone said.

With three male team members, bronze medalists La Furia were able to offer spectators something different on the ice.

"Having three men on the team adds a little spice because you can go where other teams cannot go," said coach and team member Stefano Stangalini. "We can work with that relationship between a man and a woman."

Stangalini, who began coaching the team in 2001 when it was known as Team Allure, hopes to one day have a completely co-ed team, with an equal division of male and female members. This year, however, his primary goal was just to improve upon last year's fifth-place finish.

"We have polished some hands and arms since sectionals," he said of the team's free skate to Michael Bublé songs. "Of course, competition is always a little worse than in practice. But this was the best we could have done in front of the judges."

Esprit de Corps finished fourth.