Two U.S. teams will compete at the Junior World Challenge Cup in Gothenburg, Sweden March 15-17. The Skyliners (Team USA 1) and Team Braemar (Team USA 2) will compete against the top teams from around the world in the 12th annual world championship.
Both teams qualified for the world competition in January at the junior world team selection competition in Lowell, Mass. More than a dozen teams traveled to the competition to compete for first and second place, and the chance to compete on the world team. The Skyliners placed third in the short program, just behind The Lexettes and Team Braemar. But they battled back in the long program, earning 162.44 points overall and a first place finish. Team Braemar placed second claiming Team USA 2 status and earning their fourth berth to worlds with a total of 161.24 points.
The Skyliners and Team Braemar have developed a rivalry over the past few seasons as both teams have advanced to the world competition for the past three years. Last year Team Braemar placed third and the Skyliners placed fifth—the best U.S. junior world team finish since 2007 when Chicago Jazz placed third and The Colonials placed fifth in Nottingham, England.
After the junior world selection competition, The Skyliners and Team Braemar faced each other in one more domestic competition before worlds—the U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships in Worcester, Mass. Team Braemar won the competition with 159.65 points and the Skyliners placed second with a total of 158.42 points.
The 2012 world competition will look all too familiar to Team Braemar and the Skyliners. Team Fintastic and the Musketeers, Finland’s world team, will be returning to the competition this year. Team Fintastic won worlds last year with a total of 176. 61 points, less than one point ahead of the Musketeers who earned second placed with a total of 175.77 points. The Musketeers’ programs are highly anticipated at this year’s competition. The short program “Join the Family Business” and the long program “Road to Eldorado” were both choreographed by world-renowned coach Anu Oksanen.
Nexxice from Canada will also be returning to the competition after earning 4th place at the 2011 competition. Other top contenders include Les Supremes of Canada, Team Convivium of Sweden, and Team Berlin of Germany.
The competition will begin with the opening ceremonies Friday at 5 p.m. The short program will take place Friday after the ceremonies and the long program Saturday at 3:30 p.m.