Crystallettes skate 'Wicked' good to take novice

Chicago Jazz roars to silver; Skyliners transform into bronze medalists

The Crystallettes were the only team to break the 70-point barrier.
The Crystallettes were the only team to break the 70-point barrier. (Jay Adeff)


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By Josh Ellis, special to
(03/01/2013) - The spell was cast, and the Crystallettes novice team flew to victory at the 2013 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships in Plymouth, Mich., on Friday. They earned 76.36 points on their way to the gold medal.

Skating to music from the musical Wicked, the Crystallettes were the final team to perform, and the best was definitely saved for last. Despite being a team that coach Holly Teets admitted peaked at the wrong time in the past, they brought it here in Plymouth.

"That was by far their best performance of the season," Teets said. "This year, we have gotten better and better, saving the best for when it mattered most."

Friday's performance was no accident. Teets said this group of girls went well above the call and put in extra hours to be the best they could be.

"Everyone comes in all the time, not just when we have practice," third-year skater Chelsea Wojciechowski said. "We work really hard and put out everything we have to and more to get the job done."

Not only did the team from Dearborn, Mich., have the top technical score in the event, but it blew away the field by more than four points for its components. All eight of the Crystallettes' executed elements earned a positive grade of execution (GOE).

"It's a great feeling," Wojciechowski said. "And skating to this music, where you get to be mean and happy at the same time, is so much fun."

The second team to skate, Chicago Jazz, led for nearly the entire event before their score of 69.99 was bested. The team, which skated to music from The Lion King, was thrilled with its performance, and is more proof that hard work pays off.

"These are great kids who come to the rink and work hard," coach Lisa Darken said. "They get up very early on the weekends, and that's why they skated so well tonight."

Dressed in bright colors, with the appropriate makeup to match the Disney hit, Chicago Jazz earned the event's top scoring element, an intersection worth 6.36 points.

"I think that was amazing; we have worked so hard for this," team captain Samantha Pearsall said. "And we did it when it counts, and it all paid off right here."

They wore crowns on their heads, and they will wear medals around their necks. In third place, earning bronze, were the Skyliners with 65.62 points.

Skating to what coach Jenny Gibson called a mature version of Cinderella, using the Rodgers and Hammerstein version as opposed to Disney, the Skyliners used this program as an opportunity to show off their ability.

"This was definitely the strongest group of skaters we have ever had on our novice team," Gibson said. "So we wanted a program the girls could flow with and [to] really show their skating skills."

The team showed great unity on the ice, and that helped it all the way to the podium, an improvement over last year's fifth-place finish.

"We all get along so well and have become really good friends this season," team captain Erin Crutchley said. "We came in not all knowing each other and having a lot of new kids, but we wanted to build off of last season and improve."

In fourth place, earning the pewter medal, was Saint Louis Synergy with 59.74 points. The defending champions, the Ice Mates, finished ninth.