by Tara Tahil
The best synchronized skating teams in the Eastern Region competed this weekend in Hershey, Penn. to earn spots at the 2017 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships. The competition began Thursday afternoon with the open juvenile qualifying rounds. Twenty eight open juvenile teams competed in three qualifying round flights with the top four in each progressing to final rounds. From group A: CNY Blizzard, DC Edge Blue, Rainbow Connection, and Ice Illusion progressed to final round. DC Edge Red, Steel City Blades, Team Excel and Team Esprit Blue came from group B and Sparklers, Carolina Ice Synchro, CDNY Leading Edge, and Mirror Images were the top four in group C. The final round for open juvenile was held on Friday and the competition was fierce. The open juvenile title went to DC Edge Red. CNY Blizzard, DC Edge Blue, and Rainbow Connection rounded out the top four.
The competition continued with the pre-juvenile and preliminary qualifying rounds on Friday morning, starting bright and early at 8:00 a.m. Three groups of pre-juvenile teams competed for spots in final round. From group A, Team Ashburn, Shimmers, Team Excel, and CDNY Cutting Edge moved onto final round. Shooting Stars, Synchro Stars, CNY Storm, and NJ Black Diamonds were the top four in group B. And finally, Skyliners, DC Edge Blue, DC Edge Red, and Philadelphia Symmetry continued to the final round from Group C.
Princeton University earned the gold medal in the open collegiate competition. University of New Hampshire claimed the silver medal, Liberty University Flames took home the bronze, and Mirror Images took the pewter. Genesee Synchronized went home with the open adult title and Team Reflections, Cutting Edge, and DC Edge took the remaining medals.
Eleven teams competed in the juvenile division and Skyliners went home with the juvenile title with a score of 48.21, the only team in the division to receive all positive GOEs. Mini Mates followed behind with a score of 45.39. Team Delaware claimed the bronze with a score of 43.81 and Philadelphia Symmetry took home the pewter with score of 41.20. They will be joined at Nationals by Team Image and DC Edge.
Skating to an American Moments themed free skate featuring a double loop, Team Delaware defended their junior title with an overall score of 112.02 (SP 40.16, FS 71.86). Team Ashburn, new to the junior division this year, placed first in the short program with a score of 41.40 and placed second in the long earning with a score of 68.30, finishing with a combined score of 109.70. Synchroettes finished in third with an overall score of 105.90 (SP 39.72, FS 66.18).
Defending their senior title, Team Excel won the short with a score of 38.50 and the free skate with a score of 79.40, giving them a combined score of 117.90. Chesapeake Synchro took home the silver medal with a combined score of 97.90, earning a score of 31.58 for their short program and 66.32 for their free skate which they debuted this weekend.
More than eight points separated novice champions Skyliners (76.90) from the silver medalists, Ice Mates (68.06). Scoring 58.72, Team Image claimed the bronze and Philadelphia Symmetry earned 53.66 which was enough to give them pewter. They will be joined at nationals by DC Edge and Chesapeake Synchro who placed fifth and sixth respectively.
There were also two groups of preliminary teams looking to catch the top six spots and a skate in the final round. From group A, the top six were Skyliners, Chesapeake Synchro, Team Ashburn, DC Edge Red, Carolina Ice Synchro, and Richmond Synchro. These teams were joined in the final round by DC Edge Red, Synchroettes, Shooting Stars, The Colonials, Team Excel, and Skyliners Pre.
Final rounds for pre-juvenile and preliminary were held on Saturday in the Hershey Park Arena. The pre-juvenile title went to Skyliners. They were followed by DC Edge Blue, DC Edge Red, and Shooting Stars. The preliminary title went to Skyliners who were followed by DC Edge Blue, Team Excel, and Shooting Stars.
The masters title went to Esprit de Corps with Team Delaware, DC Edge, Essex Blades, and Gotham City Synchro rounding out the field of medalists. All five teams that skated this weekend will compete at nationals.
Philly Spirit won the open masters title with a 5/1 majority followed by Mirror Images, Philadelphia, and the Colonials to round out the podium.
The top three adult teams were all less than a point between each other. DC Edge won the adult title after scoring 55.90, Esprit de Corps followed close behind with a score of 55.72 and Team Delaware came in third 55.17. The Colonials finished in fourth with a score of 49.52 and Team Excel came in fifth with a score of 48.64. These five teams will advance to Nationals.
Eighteen intermediate teams fought for the top four spots this weekend in order to advance to Nationals. Skating to a wizard themed program, Skyliners took home the gold medal with a score of 66.62. Star Mates placed second and were the only intermediate to not receive any negative GOEs which earned them a score of 63.72. Team Image edged Team Delaware for the bronze medal, leading them by less than a point. Team Image earned a score of 60.70 and Team Delaware came in fourth with 60.00.
The University of Delaware added another collegiate title under their belt, making this their eighteenth gold medal from Easterns. Skating to a world unity theme, the blue hens earned a score of 74.74. The silver medalists, Metroettes, scored 65.70. The University of Massachusetts SST earned a score of 52.20 and claimed the bronze medal. Boston University finished in fourth with a score of 49.80. All teams will advance to Nationals.