By Hannah Solmor
The 15th annual Kalamazoo Kick-Off Classic begins this Saturday and is hosted by the Greater Kalamazoo Skating Association. More than 130 teams will make their way to Wings Stadium to wow the crowds with new programs for this season. For many, this will be their season debut.
The competition opens with the juvenile division at 8:30 a.m., with 11 teams competing. Last year’s Kalamazoo champions in the juvenile division, the Chicago Jazz, look to defend their title.
Six junior teams will compete their short program. Last year’s Kalamazoo champions, Les Pirouettes, a team from Quebec, Canada, will not be returning to defend their title this year. The Chicago Jazz junior team, last year’s Kalamazoo silver medalists, hope to win the gold medal this year by edging out St. Louis Synergy, the 2014 national silver medalists, as well as the Hockettes, the 2014 national bronze medalists. New to the junior division this year are the Crystallettes.
The next division to take the ice will be pre-juvenile group A. Fifteen teams will compete in the division this weekend. Last year’s Kalamazoo champions, the Ice Stars, are not competing this year.
Open adult and open collegiate will follow. Four open adult teams and two open collegiate teams will compete. Lindenwood University’s open collegiate team, last year’s Kalamazoo champions, will defend their title from their competitors at Ohio University.
Novice should be an exciting division to watch this weekend with nine teams competing. The Crystallettes, last year’s Kalamazoo gold medalists who won the national silver medal with a score of 63.91 at nationals last season, will aim to stay ahead of their competition. They will be competing against the 2014 national fifth place team, Team Del Sol, who scored a close score of 57.41 at nationals, as well as national competitors Chicago Jazz, SwanSyncSation, Starlights, and St. Louis Synergy
Following Novice, the intermediate division will take the ice. Twelve intermediate teams are signed up to compete this year. Last year’s Kalamazoo champions, Chicago Radiance, will compete against national champions, the Dazzlers. The Ice Diamonds, who were only 6.24 points behind the Dazzlers at nationals, will also be competing.
Adrian College’s collegiate team and Western Michigan’s collegiate team will face off this weekend in what is sure to be an exciting match up. The Starlight’s adult team is the only team in the group. They will be debuting their program to the music of Janet Jackson.
Open Masters, a new addition to the Kalamazoo Kick-Off Classic, will compete after adult concludes. Three teams have signed up; Lake Effect Flurries, Radiance on Ice, and Revolution.
Saturday’s events will conclude with the senior long program. Five senior teams will compete this weekend, but only three in the long program. The Crystallettes, who will be competing in Austria this season, will compete against the national bronze medalists, Starlights, who are debuting their “Yes we CAN CAN” long program. Team Del Sol, a newcomer to the senior division this year, will also be competing, along with Western Michigan and Adrian College.
The competition will continue bright and early Sunday morning, when ten preliminary teams take the ice to compete. Last year’s Kalamazoo champions, St. Louis Synergy will debut their “shoes” themed program.
More than 26 beginner teams will compete following the preliminary division. Starlights will debut their “dolls” program, one of Teams Elite’s beginner teams will debut their “Itsy Bitsy Spider” program, and one of the St. Louis Synergy’s beginner teams will skate to music from Frozen.
The competition will conclude with the open juvenile competition. Sixteen teams will compete in two groups for the title. Kalamazoo’s group A champions from last year, Silver Leafs, will compete, as well as group B’s 2013 Kalamazoo champions, the Dazzlers.
This weekend’s competition will be a great way to kick off the 2014-2015 synchronized skating season. Make sure to follow Get It Called on Twitter, Vine, and Instagram for photos, videos, and results. Good luck to all competitors!