By Erin Banco
Just one week after the dramatic showdown in the figure skating events at the Olympics in Sochi, hundreds of synchronized skaters will travel to Colorado Springs for their ultimate test—the 2014 National Synchronized Skating Championships.
The spotlight will be on the senior division this week as the top two teams will qualify for the senior world championships in Courmayeur, Italy this April. Two junior teams, the Lexettes and Chicago Jazz, have already competed and qualified for the ISU Junior World Challenge Cup that will take place March 6-8 in Neuchatel, Switzerland.
The national championships will kick off at the Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs on Feb. 26 with official practices. The opening ceremony will take place Thursday, Feb. 27, at 1:30 p.m., followed by the official commencement of the competition with the intermediate division.
Twelve teams will compete in the intermediate division. The Capital Ice Chips from Bismarck, North Dakota are the favored team heading into the competition. The team earned the highest score at their respective sectional championship (58.24). The Crystallettes, Ice Diamonds and Dazzlers placed just behind the team at the midwestern championships and earned scores within one point of each other. The top four teams in the midwestern competition earned the highest scores overall between the three regional championships. On the east coast, the Star Mates from Hayden FSC earned first place with a total of 52.33 points. The Skyliners and Team Delaware earned second and third place. Denver Synchronicity and EPIC Edge are also contenders for some of the top spots, as they earned first and second place at the pacific coast championships.
Chicago Jazz, the Skyliners, and Team Del Sol will vie for the top spots in the juvenile division. The Fond Du Lac Blades and the Starlights also have a chance of earning medals this year. Chicago Jazz has a history of dominating the event year to year and the Crystallettes hope to defend their national title from last season, but Team Del Sol and the Skyliners have proved to have strong teams this year.
Esprit de Corps, the Crystallettes and DC Edge will look to earn medals in the adult division. Denver Synchronicity and the Starlights are also in contention for earning a medal. Last year Starlights placed fifth just .03 points out of fourth place behind Western Michigan University Alumni.
Similarly, in the masters division Esprit de Corps, DC Edge, and Denver Synchronicity will battle it out for the top spot. Allegro! is also in contention for a medal.
In the novice division, the Crystallettes and the Ice Mates will compete for the top spot. The two teams have a long history of competing against each other for the gold medal. The Crystallettes earned a total of 66.82 at the midwestern sectional championships and the Ice Mates earned a total of 68.33 at the eastern sectional championships. The Ice Mates placed almost 10 points above the Skyliners who placed second. Team Del Sol and Chicago Jazz are also in the running for medals this year.
With more young skaters choosing to skate after high school, the collegiate division has grown to become one of the most competitive divisions. Miami University, the reigning national champions, will most likely win the title again this year. The team earned a total of 97.63 points at the midwestern sectional championships, more than 20 points above second place team. The rest of the competition is anyone’s game. Michigan State University, the University of Delaware, and the University of Michigan all have a good chance to earn medals. Team Excel from Boston, last year’s pewter medalists, will also be looking to earn one of the top spots.
Both the Lexettes and Chicago Jazz will look to earn the top two spots at nationals this week. Team Braemar and The Skyliners are also looking for redemption after failing to qualify for the Junior World Team. Each of these teams has placed in the top two at Nationals since the 2009-2010 season. St. Louis Synergy is also aiming to medal after placing third at the Junior World Qualifier.
The senior division will begin with the short program Friday night at 5:15 p.m. Teams to watch include the Haydenettes, Miami University and the Crystallettes. The top three placements have gone to each of these teams consistently since the 2004-2005 season. While The Haydenettes have competed at every World Championships since 2000, Miami University and the Crystallettes have fought for that second spot each year. The senior world team will be named Saturday night following the senior free skate.
For years the synchronized skating community has pushed the Olympic committee to include the sport in the event. This year, in partnership with synchro fans, friends and family, Get It Called is supporting the #WhyNotSynchro campaign. We have received more than 350 orders for rally towels. Order yours here now, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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