by Megan McDevitt
The Kalamazoo Kick-Off Classic began Friday afternoon, November 18th, with practices and critiques with the competition starting on Saturday morning. Kicking off the competition was the first part of the open juvenile division. With 22 teams at the competition for this division, it was split up into two groups, Group A in the morning and Group B in the afternoon. For group “A” Dazzlers – Blue came out on top for the win with Windjammers coming in second and Ice Diamonds coming in 3rd. For group “B” Starlights took gold, Dazzlers – Silver took silver and Kalamazoo Kinetic took Bronze.
Next up was the senior short program with Crystallettes and Adrian College putting their programs out there. Crystallettes came out on top with a 55.01 total segment score and Adrian followed with 44.55. The Crystallettes “Lean on Me” dresses really brought out the theme and their skating performance reflected the emotion of the music. Adrian College skated to “Rise” and the energy they had on the ice spread throughout the arena. Even though there were a few bumps and bobbles here and there, both teams put out respectable performances and set a high bar for themselves and other senior teams this season.
The juvenile division was another exciting event and for many of the skaters it was also the first opportunity for them to skate in a competition under the International Judging System (IJS). Starlights won the event with a score of 41.79 followed by Saint Louis Synergy with 40.29 and Teams Elite with 40.27. The event was competitive with the top 5 teams all finishing within 5 points of each other.
With four Midwest schools represented, the collegiate division brought some more excitement to the Wings Event Center. On top of the division was University of Michigan’s “Fire” program earning them an amazing 80.12 beating out all other teams by more than 20 points. In second place was Western Michigan University with a Mardi Gras themed program earning them a total of 59.56 points. Adrian College came in third in this division with their Kanye West themed program and earning a total of 57.87 points.
After the collegiate division, both the open adult and exhibition teams performed and the competition took a 30 minute break for lunch. Returning with the junior short program event, the audience was ready for the tight competition which was to come. Starlights were able to beat out the reigning National Champions, Chicago Jazz, with their graceful “Music Box” program earning them 57.26 points. Chicago Jazz came in second with 55.71 points. They too had a strong skate debuting their “Angels from Hell” program. In third, Fond du Lac Blades had one fall and finished with 48.60 for their total segments score.
Open collegiate followed and had three teams competing. Adrian College finished in first followed by Lindenwood University in second and Ohio University finishing in third.
After that, the senior free skate took place. Adrian College finished out the event on top with an emotional and powerful “Evita” program which posted a score of 98.95. Crystallettes earned a score of 93.86 for their “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” program. With tight competition between these two teams who finished back to back at nationals with Crystallettes taking fourth and Adrian College taking fifth, it will be interesting to see how things progress through the season.
The intermediate division was another big division at this event with 16 teams competing. SwanSyncSation skated a Hamilton themed program and earned a score of 55.45 followed by Starlights who earned 52.21 points and Ice Diamonds with 51.40 points.
After the second part of the open juvenile division, the novice free skate took place. Chicago Jazz scored the highest for this division by getting 62.13 points for their program. Crystallettes came in second with a score of 60.53 and Starlights followed in third with 59.94.
Finishing up the first day of competition was the junior free skate. Chicago Jazz skated an intense and dramatic free skate to music from the “Godfather” and earned a score of 88.42. Starlights trailed Jazz by around 2 points and finished with a score of 86.30 after 2 falls for their “Genie” themed program. In third place, Fond du Lac Blades finished with a score of 79.47.
The next day of competition consisted of the 6.0 judging system events. The day started out with the preliminary division which had ten teams competing. The day carried on with multiple groups of synchro skills and pre juvenile competitions. Open masters closed off the competition at the end of the day with a group of three teams.
The excitement for the rest of the season has started and teams are taking the feedback from the competitions and critique home to improve programs. Best of luck to all competitors for the competition to come, and may the rest of the season be as exciting as it has been so far.