The Midwestern and Pacific Coast Sectional Championships begin this Thursday, January 26 at the Compuware Arena in Plymouth, Michigan. The Dearborn Crystallettes will host this three-day event.
Only three teams will compete in the midwest senior division, as Miami University has a bye to nationals because they compete at the French Cup the first weekend in February. Expected leaders are the Crystallettes, last year’s national bronze medalists, who placed first against the Starlights and Western Michigan in Kalamazoo.
No pacific coast senior teams will be in attendance this weekend. The ICE’Kateers will compete at the Mozart Cup in Austria held simultaneously with sectionals, and California Gold is set to compete at the French Cup with Miami University senior.
The junior division will be missing Miami University because they also have a bye to compete at the Mozart Cup. Competing to be midwest champions are the Hockettes, Team Braemar, Chicago Jazz and Evolution. Team Braemar is the favorite to win as they just qualified to compete at the Junior World Challenge Cup as Team USA 2 along with the Skyliners from the east coast, beating out the rest of the junior teams in the country. Denver Synchronicity is the sole entrant in the junior division for the pacific coast.
Seven teams will compete in the collegiate division. The reigning national champions, Miami University, have a bye to nationals because numerous skaters cross to the junior line and will be competing in Austria. Contenders for the gold include Western Michigan, the University of Michigan and Michigan State.
The pacific coast novice teams include California Gold and the ICE’Kateers. The midwest has eight teams competing. The top four at sectionals last year were the Crystallettes, Chicago Jazz, the Hockettes and Starlights.
Twenty-five intermediate teams will compete this weekend, representing both the midwest and pacific coast. The Fond du Lac Blades and St. Louis Synergy from the midwest placed first and third respectively at the 2011 national championships, while Team del Sol placed the highest of the pacific coast teams bringing home the pewter medal. The intermediate division is highly competitive and we could see almost any combination of teams qualifying for nationals based on who performs the best on competition day.
Expected leaders in the midwest juvenile division include the 2011 national silver medalists, Chicago Jazz, the 2011 pewter medalists, Pheonix and the gold medalists from Mid-America in Fraser last weekend, the Crystallettes. Fusion juvenile is the only team competing from the pacific coast.
The adult division includes eight teams from the midwest and one from the pacific coast (Denver Synchronicity). The 2011 national silver medalists, Western Michigan Alumni, and the 2011 bronze medalists, the Starlights, will battle for gold against the 2008 and 2009 national champions, the Crystallettes.
Competing in the masters division are Denver Synchronicity, Allegro! and La Furia. The preliminary, pre-juvenile, open juvenile and open adult divisions bring 73 teams to the sectional championships. For many of the teams in these divisions, the sectional championships are the culmination of their competitive seasons.