Teams from across the Midwest and Canada are set to compete at the Kalamazoo Kick-Off Classic in Kalamazoo, Mich. this weekend. The event will span two days. All qualifying divisions plus open juvenile, open adult and preliminary skate on Saturday with beginner 1, beginner 2 and pre-juvenile teams making their debut on Sunday morning.
Again this season the largest division is open juvenile with 12 teams registered. The 2011 and 2012 midwestern champions, the Dazzlers, will be the team to beat. The depth of the juvenile division is similar to open juvenile with 11 teams vying for gold against the 2012 midwestern and national champions, Chicago Jazz.
Leading off the IJS divisions is the junior short program at noon on Saturday. New to the junior division, Saint Louis Synergy will see how they measure up against Chicago Jazz and the Hockettes, both members of Team USA, and Synergy from Canada.
The Crystallettes, members of the 2012 U.S. World Team, will debut their senior short program against the Starlights and Western Michigan. At last year’s Kick-Off Classic the Starlights trailed Western by a point for second place. At both the 2012 sectional championships and the 2012 national championships Western trailed Starlights by less than four points. This weekend will be the first test to see who comes out on top this season and who will be capable of regaining a spot on Team USA.
Eleven teams will compete in the intermediate division including eight of the top ten teams from the 2012 midwestern championships. Joining the intermediate division this season are the Hockettes and Chicago Radiance. Expected leaders include the national silver medalists, Fond du Lac Blades, and the national bronze medalists, Saint Louis Synergy. It will be interesting to see if the addition of a junior line for Saint Louis Synergy will have an effect on their performance in the intermediate division.
Six of last year’s eight midwestern novice teams will compete in the Classic. Those teams, along with Cleveland Edges, Team du Coeur and Phoenix will challenge 2012 national medalists, the Hockettes and the Crystallettes.
In the collegiate division, the 2012 national pewter medalists, Western Michigan, will be challenged by IllinoiSkating who placed 8th at nationals, and Adrian College, who missed qualifying for nationals by less than two points.
Competition begins at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday with the open juvenile division and concludes Saturday night by 7:00 p.m. with open adult. Competition continues again on Sunday beginning with beginner 1 at 9:00 a.m.
Are you attending the event? Text updates to 508-813-3474.