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Not bad for starters! Star Mates triumph in debut

Hayden team grabs intermediate synchro gold in first appearance

The Star Mates stormed ahead of the defending champion Fond du Lac Blades by 0.67 points.
The Star Mates stormed ahead of the defending champion Fond du Lac Blades by 0.67 points. (Ed Collier Photography)

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By Renee Felton, special to icenetwork.com
(03/01/2012) - The Star Mates, representing the esteemed Hayden Recreation Centre FSC, won intermediate gold in their first season. The victory came by a narrow margin, as they edged the 2011 champion Fond du Lac Blades by 0.67 points at the U.S. Synchronized Championships.

"This is the best feeling in the world," team representative Niki Cozzolino said. "We have improved so much since the Eastern sectionals, and it's nice to know our hard work paid off. I can't believe it."

Head coach Erika Hoffman was as thrilled as her athletes with the outcome of Thursday's event. For their Memphis free skate, the Star Mates earned 57.94 points. The program, which received the highest program components score of the day at 36.45 points, featured six elements that earned positive grades of execution (GOE).

The Blades came to Worcester with only half of last year's team back to defend their gold medal. Given the newness, coach Jenny McMahon was pleased with the season.

"This is very exciting because we lost a lot of kids last year," she explained. "To come back to the championships and medal again is such an accomplishment, especially when so many of the kids are new to the intermediate level and to the program."

Skating to A Chorus Line, the program featured two elements that saw GOEs of 0.43, a rare feat at this level. The circle and wheel elements, both scored at Level 2, earned 3.43 each as the skate totaled 57.27 points overall.

"I am proud of the silver medal, especially given where we started the season," team captain Danielle Lewis said. "But I'm even more motivated to work harder and be back on top next year."

Saint Louis Synergy earned its second consecutive bronze medal after making its U.S. championships debut last season. Skating to a medley of music from their favorite Disney films, the team earned 55.93 points, a total that included the highest technical marks of the competition.

"This is a fairly technical program, but at the same time the girls have so much fun getting into the various Disney characters," coach Ramona Peterson said. "There were some truly great moments in that performance. I could tell the team was really focused."

Two of the program's eight elements received at least four points each, including the Level 3 line (4.70) and Level 3 circle (4.20).

"Even with a few bobbles early in the program, this was our best skate of the year," team member Kameryn Truman said. "We showcased our personalities and had a blast out there."

Rounding out the top four with 54.81 points were the Skyliners (SC of New York), who placed second in this event a year ago.