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Finnish teams finish 1-2 in short at junior worlds

Team USA's Lexettes, Skyliners sit fifth, sixth

Team Fintastic opened up a 2.75-lead over its compatriots, the Musketeers.
Team Fintastic opened up a 2.75-lead over its compatriots, the Musketeers. (Sari Niskanen)

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By Leslie Graham, special to icenetwork.com
(03/08/2013) - Finland led the way at the 2013 World Junior Synchronized Skating Championships, claiming first and second following the short program, and members of the two teams did so in front of their home crowd in Helsinki. Spartak-Junost, Russia 1, finished the segment in third place.

Team Finland 1, Team Fintastic, performed a technically strong short program, earning the highest score of the day, 64.32. Skating in black and neon multi-colored dresses, the six-time Junior World Challenge Cup winners skated an energetic program to "I Want Candy" by Bow Wow Wow.

Coached by Kasia Nieminen, the team is very excited about their skate and placement.

"It felt amazing and was so great, I can't describe it to you," team captain Emma-Rikka Kero said.

The team has reason to feel good, as it was the only one to receive the highest base value for the short program, receiving maximum credit for all five elements. It also earned the highest elements score and program components score of the day.

Finland 2, the Musketeers, is coached by Anu Okasanen. After placing second at last year's Junior World Challenge Cup, the Musketeers finished the short program with 61.57 points, good enough for second place.

Skating to a selection of music by George Gershwin, the program was an entertaining piece, which resulted in all positive grades of execution (GOEs) from the judges, as well as program components in the 7s and 8s.

The Musketeers have their eyes set on moving up and claiming their first world gold medal.

"Of course our goal is gold, but I think it's more important that we do the best programs that we are happy for," team captain Sara Kekalainen said. "That is the most important thing. We are going to do our best and see where it takes us".

Spartak-Junost is coached by Elena Moshnova. After a seventh-place finish at the 2013 French Cup, they had a technically strong skate, finishing with 55.11 points. They skated to "The Impossible Dream".

The two teams from the United States sit in fifth and sixth, respectively.

USA 2, the Skyliners, who finished second at the 2013 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships, are in fifth with a score of 49.65.

Skating to "Because We Believe," the team from New York is already thinking about the work it needs to do to earn a spot on the podium.

"I'm looking for a little more attack tomorrow and to focus on the technical aspect of the program," head coach Josh Babb said.

The Lexettes, USA 1, look to make this trip a memorable one both for the team and their coaches. This is the first year the team from Lexington, Mass., which finished third at the 2013 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships, has qualified for this event, not to mention that the event is being held in the home country of head coach Saga Krantz.

Unfortunately, their skate didn't go as planned, as they had a fall in their moves element, the first element in the program.

"We did have one major mistake in the spread eagles, which is always sad, but at the same time, the rest of the program -- I thought -- looked really nice," Krantz said.

Although they are in sixth following the short program with 47.06 points, they are fewer than 10 points out of medal contention.

The team is pleased with what it has accomplished.

"I'm proud of how we skated," team member Eliana Marostica said. "We've been working so hard, even since nationals, and improved so much."