The Lexettes and the Skyliners will represent the United States this week in Helsinki, Finland as Team USA 1 and Team USA 2, respectively, for the first official ISU Junior World Championships on March 8-9. The Junior World Challenge Cup, as the competition was previously known, has been in existence since 2001, when the United States sent the Superettes to represent Team USA in Neuchatel, Switzerland. The last time Helsinki hosted the competition was in 2006, where Chicago Jazz was the highest placing U.S. team, bringing home the bronze with a total of 141.61.
This marks the Skyliners’ fourth appearance and the Lexettes’ first appearance at Junior Worlds. Only eight other junior teams from the United States have earned the honor of representing their country at this event. Former junior world team members include Chicago Jazz, with a record eight (8) appearances, Team Braemar (4), the Hockettes (3), the Colonials (2), Team Elan (2), and the Superettes (1).
Although Team Braemar won the 2013 Synchronized Skating Championships, ahead of both the Skyliners and the Lexettes, they missed this year’s world championships because of their third place finish at the Junior World Selection competition in Fraser, Mich. at the beginning of January. National silver and bronze medalists, the Skyliners and Lexettes, will look to improve the U.S. placements from last season and grab a spot on the podium at the junior world championships. The Superettes, Chicago Jazz, and Team Braemar have earned the U.S. a total of four bronze medals in past championships.
The Skyilners will perform their short program to “Because We Believe” by Chris Mann and their long program to Westside Story. They placed fourth at the 2013 French Cup with a total of 139.84, which is more than thirty points less than their 170.05 total from nationals. Head coach Josh Babb told icenetwork that he thought the team performed well at nationals last week, but didn’t peak before worlds, so “there’s a lot left in the tank for what they have been working for all season.”
The Lexettes placed sixth at their international assignment at the Spring Cup with a score of 112.66, also much lower than their 152.12 score from nationals. The Lexettes will skate to music from The Artist for short and music from Mirror, Mirror for long. Head coach Saga Krantz looks forward to coaching the team in her home country.
Top competitors at this event will be both teams from Finland, seven-time junior world champions,Team Fintastic, and four-time junior world champions, the Musketeers, as well as both teams from Canada, Les Supremes and Nexxice. Besides the U.S., Finland, and Canada, the only other countries to break into the top three at junior worlds are Sweden (2008) and Russia (2002).