By Erin Banco
Just one week after the U.S. national championships, the Lexettes and Chicago Jazz will travel to Neuchâtel, Switzerland to compete in the 2014 Junior World Challenge Cup.
The two teams earned their place on the Junior World Team this past January at the qualifying competition in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. The Lexettes of Hayden Recreation Center in Lexington, Mass. were named Team USA 1 after receiving a total of 155.17 points. The title of Team USA 2 was given to Chicago Jazz of the Chicago FSC, who received a total of 146.72 points. Saint Louis Synergy, of the Metro Edge FSC in St. Louis, Missouri narrowly missed the team, placing third by only .36 points.
Only eight junior teams from the United States have earned the honor of representing our country at this event. These junior world team members include Chicago Jazz, with a record nine (9) appearances, Team Braemar (4), Skyliners (4), Hockettes (3), The Colonials (2), Team Elan (2), Lexettes (2), and the Superettes (1). This is the first year since 2009 that Chicago Jazz has qualified. The United States has won a total of four bronze medals at the championships – Superettes in 2001, Chicago Jazz in 2006 & 2007, and Team Braemar in 2011.
This competition marks the second time these junior teams will represent Team USA together this season. Both the Lexettes and Chicago Jazz competed at the French Cup in Rouen, France this past January. The Lexettes placed eighth at the event with a total score of 131.30 and Chicago Jazz placed tenth with a total score of 126.24. Both teams hope to improve on their previous scores for a chance to return Team USA to the podium.
Seven time world champion Team Fintastic, and five time world champion Musketeers, each of Finland, are favorites to win the event. In fact, one of these two teams has won every year since 2001, with the exception of Ice Image (now Nexxice) of Canada in 2002. Finland, Canada, and the United States have been the three most prominent nations on the podium, winning 37 of the 39 medals granted. Russia is the only other country to break into the top three, earning silver in 2002, and bronze in 2013.
The competition is set to begin with the Short Program on Friday, March 7th at 18:30 local time (12:30pm EST). The Free Program will begin Saturday at 18:15 (12:15 EST). Live video from the event can be found at http://m.ustream.tv/channel/synchro-skating-events-switzerland. As always, we will be providing updates on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and our Blog. Use #jwcc14 to follow our event coverage.