By Erin Banco
More than 100 teams will travel to Kalamazoo, Mich. this weekend for the 2013 Midwestern and Pacific Coast Synchronized Skating Sectional Championships. The top teams from each qualifying division will move onto compete in the 2013 National Synchronized Skating Championships Feb. 27-March 2 in Plymouth, Mich. The top teams from the Eastern Sectional Championships will join these teams, which is to be held in Lake Placid Jan. 31-Feb. 2.
Official practice ice will begin Thursday morning in Wings Stadium. The competition will commence with the opening ceremonies Friday afternoon, followed by the Juvenile division competition. All of the 6.0 teams will compete in The Annex rink while the IJS teams will compete in Wings Stadium. Only 32 teams will represent the Pacific Coast at the competition. Historically, the Pacific Coast has not fielded a large number of teams, leading to the consolidation of its sectional championships with the Midwest. However, Midwest and Pacific teams will compete and advance to nationals separately. The Open Juvenile Midwest division will be the largest division in the event with 27 teams competing.
The only teams from the Pacific Coast Juvenile division, Epic Edge and Team Del Sol, will automatically advance to nationals. The top teams from the Juvenile division in the Midwest will join them. Chicago Jazz took home the gold at last year’s competition and moved on to take home the gold at nationals as well. They will look to hold on to their first place finish at the competition this weekend. Other top contenders include the Starlights and the Fond Du Lac Blades.
Several teams have a bye to this year’s sectional championships. These teams will not compete at the sectional championships and will automatically qualify for nationals. In the Junior division, the Hockettes and Team Braemar have byes. In the Senior division the Crystallettes, Miami University, California Gold, and ICE’kateers all have byes. Western Michigan University and the Starlights will be the only two teams competing in the Senior division this weekend while Chicago Jazz, Miami University Junior Varsity, and St. Louis Synergy will be the only teams to compete in the Junior division. All will automatically advance to nationals.
The Collegiate division will be one of the most competitive divisions at this year’s competition. Several of the teams competed last week at the 2013 Mid-America Synchronized Skating Championships. As in past years, Miami University has dominated the division this year, and placed first at last week’s competition. But several other teams have made a mark for themselves this year. Western Michigan University and The University of Wisconsin placed third and fourth respectively at the Mid-America competition. Both teams did not earn medals at last year’s national championship. The University of Michigan, who placed second at the Dr. Porter competition in December and third at nationals last year, placed fifth at the Mid-America competition. They will be looking to regain their momentum this weekend.
St. Louis Synergy and the Fond Du Lac Blades will face off again this year in intermediate division of the Midwestern sectional. The Blades took home the silver medal from last year’s Midwestern sectional, but placed above St. Louis Synergy at the 2012 national championships. The two teams will continue this rivalry this weekend. Team Del Sol of the Pacific sectional will look to once again take home a gold medal.
In the Adult division, the Crystallettes will look to hold on to their title from last year and to earn a strong score to head into nationals where they will face off with DC Edge (winners of last year’s competition). The only two teams in the Novice division in the Pacific sectional, the ICE’kateers and Rose City Crystals, will automatically advance to nationals while only 6 of 9 teams from the Midwest will advance.
Attending the 2013 Midwestern and Pacific Coast Synchronized Skating Sectional Championships? Text GIC updates to 5088133474. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter (@GetItCalled) and Facebook for live updates.