by Katie Fiore
The 2017 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships took place Feb. 22-25 in Rockford, Illinois. The competition opened with the juvenile division. The Skyliners became back-to-back U.S. Champions, earning 46.45 points and skating to an Angel theme. The Mini Mates snagged the silver, only two points behind the Skyliners with 44.58. Teams Elite put out a very crowd pleasing performance to Grease, earning them the bronze medal and a total score of 43.53. Capital Ice Connection earned a spot on the podium and a pewter medal with a score of 42.27, even with 0.50 in deductions. It was a very close competition with the four podium spots all within four points of each other, and 5th through 7th place within a range of two points!
The intermediate division began next. The Skyliners cast a spell on the audience skating to a Wizard’s theme. They defended their 2016 title and dominated the division with a total of 65.31. Capital Ice Chips’ emotional performance placed second with 59.25, only beating bronze medalists Star Mates by .13. The pewter medal was earned by Team Del Sol who had a total of 55.88, edging out 5th place Starlights by .38. Each year top contenders in the intermediate division change and such close scores make for a fierce competition.
Skyliners won the organization’s first title in the novice division. They performed a beautiful Quest to Camelot program, and earned a huge score of 75.93. Silver medalists, the Crystallettes, performed a Lion King themed program with a score of 71.53, besting last year’s U.S Champions, Ice Mates – who earned this year’s bronze medal, by 2.97 points. The Starlights scored 62.56 and received the pewter medal, with only one point separating them from 5th place Teams Elite. It was so wonderful to see the overall advancement in skating skills the novice division debuts each year. The speed and creativity always increases, making it a stand-out division.
DC EDGE defended its adult title with a total score of 57.27 and captured everyone’s attention with their “Opening Night On Broadway” themed program. Crystallettes regained their spot on the podium, placing second with a total score of 53.08 for their Tina Turner performance. Team Excel earned a spot on the podium for the first time in the adult division, scoring a 51.19 and earning the bronze medal, edging out Esprit De Corps by one point. Starlights, making their comeback in the division, placed 5th with a total score of 48.73. The adult division grew substantially by six new teams this year. The increase in teams is a very encouraging piece of information, and accurately represents the ongoing and growing passion for the sport.
DC EDGE also defended its title in the masters division with a Blues Brother program and 5/1 Maj. Allegro! took home the silver performing an entertaining Bachelor themed program and receiving a 8/2 Maj. Team Delaware snagged the bronze with a Girl Power theme, followed by Esprit De Corps taking the pewter. The competition is becoming increasingly competitive, although the size of the division shrunk by 3 teams in comparison to last season. It was a very close competition with all mixed ordinals.
The University of Michigan captured the title in the collegiate division for the first time since 1999. They bested 12-time defending champion Miami University with an energetic fire themed program and a season’s best score of 88.22. Miami University also posted a season’s best 86.40 for their “Trouble” themed program but had to settle for the silver this year. Third place was awarded to Michigan State University who earned a total of 75.66 points. Metroettes Collegiate received pewter, placing just 0.35 behind Michigan State. The increasing competitiveness throughout the collegiate division makes it an exciting event to watch each year. This season in particular, every team brought their A-game and upped the standards for the event as a whole.
The Skyliners regained their national title from 2015 as the junior champions. They performed two beautiful programs, resulting in a total score of 174.67. However, the Lexettes won the short program competition with a score of 65.81, and after performing their “Titanic” free program, captured the silver with a total score of 164.82. The Starlights placed third overall, after making an impression with their short program score of 54.99. They fell short to Chicago Jazz in the free program, but still managed to take home the bronze medal with a total score of 141.21. Chicago Jazz sat in fifth after the short program, but redeemed themselves in the free, edging out the Hockettes to earn the pewter and a total score of 139.03, placing right below the Starlights. The Hockettes performed a stellar short program with a score of 49.69, and finished fifth overall with a total score of 128.21. The junior division this year was incredibly unpredictable, especially after the short program! Many teams rose to the occasion, and made it an interesting fight to watch. Best of luck to Skyliners and Lexettes at junior worlds this season!
The senior division, like many other of the events, was a toss up. Each team performed to the best of their potential, and the caliber of skating was incredible. The Haydenettes (USA 1) and the Crystallettes (USA 2) will represent the U.S. at the 2017 World Championships. The Haydenettes grabbed their 25th national title, skating to a monumental “Prince” themed free program. The Crystallettes came in second to the Haydenettes, making a strong statement in their short program to “Lean On Me”. Skyliners pulled ahead of Miami Senior Varsity with their soulful Whitney Huston free program, earning them 172.96 overall. Miami Senior Varsity fell short to the Skyliners by just .12 with their “Samson and Delilah” routine.
Congratulations to all competitors and stay tuned for upcoming coverage of Team USA at the World Junior Championships and the World Championships.