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Miami dynasty hits cloud nine with collegiate win

Team Delaware makes most of appearance, grabs silver; Local Michigan earns bronze

Miami University's collegiate team carried on its tradition of excellence.
Miami University's collegiate team carried on its tradition of excellence. (Jay Adeff)

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By Renee Felton, special to icenetwork.com
(03/02/2013) - Seven was heaven, eight was great and nine is more than a stitch in time for Miami University as they remained atop the collegiate podium for a ninth straight year.

Explained team member Bobbi Jo Sanderson, "This program is a crowd-pleaser. It's something everyone can get into, and it was perfect for us to perform ... It was so much fun."

Their performance netted 92.26 points, and despite two falls on the intersection, Miami skated away with an eight-point victory at the 2013 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships. The technical mark came close to 39 points, making it the highest mark in that area by more than five points.

When conceptualizing the program, coach Carla DeGirolamo wanted to show off her team's more aggressive side.

"Last year was softer, and I wanted to do something they could really sink their teeth into and have a lot of fun with," she said of the creative process. "After lots of music searching and finding the right combination, this is what we wound up with."

As for the skate, DeGirolamo was impressed with how the skaters rebounded from the early fall.

"They did a great job," she said. "We had the one fall in the intersection, but they recovered from that and refocused well. The intensity and energy were outstanding, and I'm really proud."

Skaters from the University of Delaware finally got their opportunity to compete in a 2013 U.S. qualifying competition, and they did so to good results, winning the silver medal in Plymouth, Mich.

Most members of the team came down with a nasty stomach virus on the morning of the 2013 Eastern Synchronized Sectional Championships in early February. Event officials made the decision to not allow the ill team to compete. Thankfully, the team was granted a bye to this event.

"To wake up to a virus the morning they were supposed to compete was pretty devastating," coach Megan O'Donnell explained. "Going into easterns, they had won the competition 14 times in a row, and they always look forward to going there and defending that title.

"It's definitely been quite a month. That day, I emailed the chair of Reflections competition, an invitational in Hershey, (Pa.), because I knew that was coming up. The referee of that event was a judge at easterns, so they allowed us to enter late into the competition. We competed Feb. 18 by ourselves but for a score.

"That was good for the team to be able to see where they stand with the judges and tech panel. While we tried to make that competition like easterns, it wasn't anything near it because we didn't have any competition. We have tried to channel their energy into this performance."

The tactic worked as Delaware earned 84.11 points for their Queen free skate.

"That was the most energetic performance we have had in my four years on the team," Megan McGuiggan said. "Our goal was to put everything out there and have no regrets. We were devastated to not compete at easterns, but what that taught us is that competing is a privilege and a blessing; it's something that should not be taken for granted.

"We wanted to put out such an energetic performance that it made up for our missed performance at easterns."

Local ladies representing the University of Michigan, who skate and study in close by Ann Arbor, Mich., repeated as bronze medalists with help from Marilyn Monroe. Netting 77.98 points to edge pewter medalists Team Excel, the Wolverines earned at least five points for four elements, including their Level 4 moves in the field sequence.

"This program gave us a chance to interact with the audience and show off a fun and flirty side," team president Megan Gueli said. "We were close to home so we had a lot of alumni, family and friends come to support us."