by Tara Tahil
Junior teams across the country will compete for the chance to represent the United States at the 2017 ISU World Junior Synchronized Skating Championships in Mississauga, Canada. The 2017 World Junior Team Selection Event will be held February 10-11, 2017 in Simsbury, Connecticut. The event will be held in conjunction with the Connecticut Synchronized Skating Classic, hosted by the Hamden Figure Skating Association. This is the first time this competition has hosted the Junior World Qualifier.
Kicking off the event on Friday evening will be the junior short program. This year, eleven junior teams will compete to earn one of two spots on the Junior World Team. Last year’s team of Skyliners (USA 1) and Lexettes (USA 2) will compete against the defending junior champions, Chicago Jazz, as well as Fond du Lac Blades, Starlights, Hockettes, Team Delaware, Synchroettes, Team Ashburn, and Shattuck St. Mary Sabres.
Skyliners and Lexettes look to earn another trip to worlds having already competed there the past two years. In their first international of the season, Skyliners captured the gold at the Cup of Berlin with an overall score of 150.44, with a fourteen point lead over Dream Edges from Finland in the free skate. In Rouen, Skyliners placed third at the French Cup with an overall score of 146.44. Lexettes placed first at the Mozart Cup last month with a score of 145.02; the only team from the U.S to have brought home a gold medal from that competition. This gold medal is also the Lexettes’ first international gold since 2011.
Both Skyliners and Lexettes will face stiff competition from Chicago Jazz who last qualified for the event in 2014 and are the reigning U.S junior champions. The team placed fourth in Austria at the Mozart Cup with an overall score of 127.39. With almost less than a week of being back in the United States, Chicago Jazz hopped on a plane and headed to Rouen for the French Cup, where they placed fifth with a total score of 126.44.
Last month, the Hockettes placed fifth at the Leon Lurje Trophy with an overall score of 116.34. Starlights will be making their international debut at the Zagreb Snowflake Trophy later this month. Starlights placed 4th at the Dr. Porter Classic behind Skyliners, Lexettes and Chicago Jazz, with an overall score of 128.74.
Following the short program, junior teams will compete the free skate on Saturday night. While the top two finishers at this event will represent the United States in Canada, it is expected that the distinctions of USA 1 and USA 2 will be decided following the conclusion of the junior division at Nationals. This has been the practice for the past two seasons.
Past World Junior teams:
2016: Skyliners, Lexettes
2015: Skyliners, Lexettes
2014: Lexettes, Chicago Jazz
2013: Lexettes, Skyliners
2012: Skyliners, Team Braemar
2011: Team Braemar, Skyliners
2010: Team Braemar, Skyliners
2009: Team Braemar, Chicago Jazz
In addition to the World Junior Team Selection, the Connecticut Synchronized Skating Classic will be taking place the same weekend. The competition will begin on Friday with the open juvenile division. Five teams will be competing in this event: Team Esprit Red, Munchkins, Ice Illusion, Ice Lantics, and Team Esprit Blue. Ice Illusion and Team Esprit Blue both competed in the final round at Easterns and will be looking to claim the top spot in this division.
Five teams are competing in the preliminary division: Skyliners Pre, Skyliners, Team Esprit, Team Image, and Synchroettes. Skyliners, the Eastern preliminary champions, are favored to win the division.
Friday’s competition will finish with the junior short program event.
The pre-juvenile event kicks off the competition on Saturday with six teams competing. Synchroettes, Skyliners, Ice Lantics, Starcatchers, Synchro Stars, and the Starlings will all be competing. Skyliners, the Eastern pre-juvenile champions, are expected make a strong showing.
Three teams will be competing in the juvenile division: Team Image, Synchroettes, and Snowflakes. Having placed 5th at Easterns with a score of 39.87, Team Image is favored to win this division as they’re the only team of the three preparing for Nationals at the end of the month.
The University of Massachusetts SST will be the only collegiate team competing this weekend. They will be looking to improve upon their 52.20 score from Easterns. Esprit de Corps, the Eastern masters champions, will be the only masters team competing this weekend. Team Starlights will be exhibiting their Synchro Skills 3 program.
The competition will resume at 2:35 p.m. with the intermediate division consisting of five teams. Team Image, Star Mates, Synchroettes, Synchro Stars, and Superettes will be competing. Star Mates and Team Image, Easterns silver and bronze medalists, will both be looking to claim the top spot here.
The Haydenettes will be exhibiting their entertaining free skate to Prince which placed first at the Leon Lurje Trophy in Sweden last month with a season’s best score of 126.30.
The next event is the novice division consisting of four teams: Chicago Jazz, Ice Mates, Synchroettes, and Team Image. Ice Mates and Team Image, the Eastern silver and bronze medalists, will both be looking to go home with a gold medal.
Esprit de Corps will be exhibiting their program to The Circle of Life which earned them the silver medal at Easterns with a score of 55.72.
The synchro skills 1 competition will be split into two groups each consisting of three teams. In group A, Skyliners, Team Image, and Ice Lantics will be competing; and in group B, Synchroettes, Skyliners Intro, and Harlem Ice. The synchro skills 2 competition will also be separated into two groups. In group A, Synchroettes and Snowflurries will be competing for the top spot and in group B, Harlem Ice, Starcatchers, and Team Icicles will be competing.
DownEasters will be exhibiting their program in the open masters event. In the open collegiate event, Boston College SST will be performing their Jennifer Lopez mix program.
The competition will conclude with the junior free skate event.
Good luck to all competitors this weekend and be sure to stay updated by following Get It Called on social media. Results will be posted on Twitter, @GIC_Results using the hashtag #JWQ17