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Skyliners take slight edge into short program

Team Braemar close behind in second place

The Skyliners lead the junior field after the short program at U.S. Synchros.
The Skyliners lead the junior field after the short program at U.S. Synchros. (Paul Harvath)

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By Renee Felton, special to icenetwork.com
(03/04/2011) - Skyliners coach Josh Babb once again had reason to celebrate. The club's juvenile team won gold, the intermediate team he coaches won silver, and his junior team goes into the free skate with a lead.

Skating to "Don't Rain on My Parade," the Skyliners performed their best short of the season and earned 63.37 points, including 32.91 on their program components.

"They performed that really well," Babb said. "It was smooth and strong and has gotten consistently better all season long."

Team captains Ashley Mulhern and Marlena Holter agreed that their hard work showed.

"We're really excited and happy with the way we skated," Mulhern said. "We have been working hard and were ready to get out here and show what we can do. That was our highest score of the season so we couldn't have asked for more."

Though thrilled with the outcome of the first segment of competition, the goal is to turn last year's silver medal into gold here.

"They came in here with a job to do," Babb said. "They will go home right now, get to bed, practice tomorrow and free skate with confidence. They are very focused."

Team Braemar coach Pam May says her team's "Cell Block Tango" short program gets better every time they take the ice. Braemar sits in second place going into Friday's free skate.

"This program has been great for us especially the second half of the season as we have developed it," coach Pam May said. "I'm trying to give them an attitude and let them have fun with something. They are pushing a little harder. They seem to get better and better at it every chance we get."

Team members were eager to perform the crowd-pleasing number for American teams and fans because of how well received it was internationally.

"We have been working really hard this season. Everyone went out there and sold it and portrayed to audience," Stephanie Rosicki said. "It was definitely one of our best skates so far."

In the week leading up to the World Junior Challenge Cup, May is confident this program will once again be at the top when they compete in Switzerland.

"The U.S. should be proud that this program is going out," she said. "When we were at French Cup, the crowd responded to the program unbelievably which was fun for the kids. The crowd loved it."

When the Lexettes did not realize one of their season goals of making the world junior team, they made up their minds to medal at the U.S. Championships. With 57.21 points for their "Americano" short program, they are well on their way.

"This was our best performance of the season, our high score," coach Saga Krantz said. "They didn't hold back and skated proud. We are disappointed not to go to world juniors but today we feel good and are going to enjoy the experience here."