The 2014 Midwestern and Pacific Coast Synchronized Skating Championships are set to begin this Thursday, January 23 at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Ill. Competition starts at 4:15 p.m. CST with three rounds of open juvenile from the Midwest and one round from the Pacific Coast.
Favorites to win the Midwestern section of the open juvenile division are the Dazzlers, last year’s sectional champions, coming off a win at Synchro Illinois. Other top contenders include the Hockettes, Cleveland Edges, and the Silver Leafs. In the Pacific Coast section Denver Synchronicity hopes to reclaim their sectional championship title in a field six teams deep.
The preliminary division qualifying rounds begin early Friday morning at 7:30 a.m. in the Triphahn rink with a total of 18 teams from the Midwest and two teams from the Pacific Coast. Favorites in the preliminary division for the Midwest include the Starlights, Fond du Lac Blades, Cleveland Edges, Crystallettes, Dazzlers, and Chicago Jazz. Park City Icing and San Diego Shining Blades represent the Pacific Coast.
A grand total of 20 Midwestern teams and six Pacific Coast teams compete in the pre-juvenile division. In medal contention for the Midwest are the Crystallettes, Ice Stars, Starfire, Dazzlers, Wisconsin Edge, and Cleveland Edges. For the Pacific Coast only Epic Edge and the Shining Blades return to the pre-juvenile division from last season—the four remaining teams are all new to pre-juvenile.
Competition continues in the Sears Centre Friday at 3:40 p.m. with the juvenile division. The 2013 national champion Crystallettes look to lead the pack after a recent win in Fraser. They will be challenged by Chicago Jazz who bested them earlier this season at Dr. Porter. The Fond du Lac Blades, Team du Coer, and Allegro! are all in the running for one of the six spots to qualify for nationals. Team Del Sol is the only entrant in the juvenile division from the Pacific Coast.
Junior short competition begins at 5:37 p.m. on Friday. The reigning national champions Team Braemar will battle it out for first place with the Hockettes, who recently beat Braemar by just more than a point at the Junior World Selection Competition. The Hockettes and Team Braemar, along with the Starlights and the Fond du Lac Blades, will all advance to nationals. Chicago Jazz, Miami University, and Saint Louis Synergy all received byes to nationals based on their international competition schedule. The Tremors will also advance to nationals, as they are the only junior team entered from the Pacific Coast.
All three novice teams from the Pacific Coast—Fusion, Rose City Crystals, and Team Del Sol—will advance to nationals. The Rose City Crystals are the only team to return to this division from last season. Team Del Sol had a strong showing at Dr. Porter placing second out of twelve teams from across the country. Of the nine Midwest entrants in the novice division, only five will advance. Top contenders include the Crystallettes, Chicago Jazz, Swan Sync Sation, Saint Louis Synergy, and the Starlights.
The senior short program, beginning at 9:11 p.m., closes out Friday night’s competition. Only two teams will compete in the senior division this year—Adrian College and the Starlights—as Miami University (Midwest), the Crystallettes (Midwest), California Gold (Pacific), and the ICE’Kateers (Pacfiic) all received byes based on their international competition schedule.
Ten open collegiate teams from the Midwest compete in the Triphahn rink on Saturday morning at 9:07 a.m. Top competitors are expected to be Notre Dame, Miami University, and Ohio University.
Ten Midwest teams are also set to compete in the open adult division. Fighting it out for gold are the IllinoiSkating Fighting Alumni and Eclipse.
Favored to win the masters division in the Midwest is Allegro! skating against the Eble Elite Edgers and Ice Connect. Favored to win the masters division for the Pacific Coast is Denver Synchronicity against Capital Ice.
Denver Synchronicity is the only adult team entered to compete for the Pacific Coast, which means all five Midwest entrants will advance to nationals. Favored to win the adult division are the Crystallettes, last year’s national silver medalists and this year’s Dr. Porter champions.
With 18 teams in the intermediate for the Midwest and only four spots open to qualify for nationals, the competition will be tough. Top contenders for those four spots include the Dazzlers, Fond du Lac Blades, Ice Diamonds, Crystallettes, Chicago Radiance, and Cleveland Edges, but in a field so deep, it’s anyone’s game. All four Pacific Coast teams will qualify for nationals including Denver Synchronicity, Epic Edge, the ICE’Kateers, and the Silver Stars.
Collegiate competition begins at 8:28 p.m. on Saturday night in the Sears Centre. All six teams will advance to nationals. Favorites to win are Miami University, the reigning national champions, though they will be challenged by this year’s Dr. Porter champions, Western Michigan University, as well as Michigan State and the University of Michigan.