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RedHawks rout senior field to win short program

Second through fourth place teams combine for seven falls

The Miami University RedHawks demonstrated how important it is to stay on your feet during their short program at U.S. Synchro Champs.
The Miami University RedHawks demonstrated how important it is to stay on your feet during their short program at U.S. Synchro Champs. (Paul Harvath)

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By Mickey Brown, special to icenetwork.com
(03/06/2009) - Friday's senior short program at the 2009 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships demonstrated just how important it is to stay on one's feet.

While the teams that finished second through fourth in the segment combined for seven falls, Miami University's skaters remained upright throughout their Beatles medley program and, as a result, they carry a hefty 10.46-point lead into Saturday's free skate.

Upon seeing the gap between her team and the second-place Haydenettes, Miami head coach Vicki Korn remarked, "Wow."

That pretty much sums up the RedHawks' performance. Skating to the songs "Hey Jude," "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band," "Help" and "Get Back," Miami posted a season-best score of 77.00 points. Its lowest Grade of Execution on any single element was 0.29, and it received five GOEs of 1.00 or higher, including a 2.0 for its moves in the field.

"[Our moves in the field] are very fluid, very smooth," Korn said. "And our expression, from the transition from "Hey Jude" to "St. Pepper's," there's a real difference in tempo and mood. They work hard to show the difference between the two."

The RedHawks debuted their programs early this season, in late January and early February at the Prague Cup, where they placed a disappointing fifth. Korn said the team received some useful feedback after that competition and, with so much time before the U.S. Synchronized Championships, was able to fine tune its program.

"We changed the last element [a connected block] because it wasn't getting called," Korn said. "We made it easier, dumbed it down a bit."

Korn isn't worried about her team developing a sense of overconfidence going into Saturday's free skate.

"We always feel like our long is better than our short. The short has been our nemesis this season," Korn said. "[Being ahead] helps them mentally going into the next phase."

The 17-time U.S. champion Haydenettes have their work cut out for them if they want to add No. 18 to the trophy case. They fell three times during a block early in their "Libertango" program, and though they recovered nicely, the damage had already been done.

"When you skate with this speed, when you do the edges they do, the ice can be slippery," head coach Saga Krantz said.

The Haydenettes nearly matched Miami in the program components area (29.57 to 29.14), displaying deep emotion throughout their skate.

"It's a very passionate team this year," Krantz said. "I love looking at them when they perform. They don't hold back in anything they do. They put their heart and soul out there."

Though it's true that, as the oft-used saying goes, anything can happen, Krantz realizes her team has a monumental task ahead of it.

"Let's be honest -- it's 11 points. I don't think I've ever heard of a team making up 11," she said. "We have an amazing long that's very different from the short. We're hoping to still qualify for worlds; that's our main focus."

The Crystallettes sit less than a point behind the Haydenettes (66.54 to 65.78). They actually received a higher technical mark (40.58 to 40.40) than the Lexington, Mass.,-based dynasty for their Sorcerer's Apprentice program but were victimized by a pair of falls during one of their intersections.

"The angled intersection has been an inconsistent feature for them," head coach Shannon Peterson said. "They needed to track to the left, and they didn't."

The hardest part about it for Peterson was watching her own blood hit the ice, as it was her daughter and niece who collided and fell.

"It's a family affair," Peterson joked.

Well back in fourth is California Gold. Like the Crystallettes, the Gold's downfall was its intersections, as it experienced a fall on each.

"They come in at a severe angle, and it was pretty severe today," head coach Jillian Janik Cipresso said. "They had a lot of adrenaline and energy, which added speed to it and took them off their feet."