Ice Network

Skyliners earn second straight U.S. junior crown

DC Edge enjoys three-peat on masters level; Skyliners win novice title
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The Skyliners entered the night with more than a 10-point lead, and they'd build on that advantage to capture their third U.S. junior title in four years. With a segment mark of 104.59 and an event total of 175.69 points, the New York-based squad outpaced the field by nearly 17 points. -Jay Adeff

On the strength of two winning programs, the Skyliners locked up their second straight junior title Friday at the 2018 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships in Portland, Oregon, with the New York-based squad also winning the crown on the novice level. In the masters division, DC Edge took home their third championship in as many years.

Junior free skate

Performing an outstanding version of their Black Swan free skate, the Skyliners earned a segment score of 104.59 on Friday, a mark that elevated their competition total to 175.69.

"I'm satisfied," coach Josh Babb said. "To come out in the long program skating last, you never know what to expect. But, they've trained so well all season. I was very satisfied with both their performances."

The Skyliners will now prepare to represent the the United States at the World Synchronized Skating Championships as Team USA 1 in April.

The Lexettes of the Hayden Recreation Centre FSC were able to snag the silver medal once again, and they too earned a bid to the world championships as Team USA 2. Their glamorous free skate to the La La Land soundtrack earned 98.02 points, and they finished the competition with a score of 158.88.

"They skated beautifully. What's really wonderful about Lexettes is how they've grown," choreographer Adam Blake said. "It's really a testament to the coaching staff."

The Starlights, who represent the Skokie Valley SC, captured bronze with a free skate score of 90.36, which helped bring their total to 147.59. Chicago Jazz landed fourth in the final standings after procuring 139.42 points in total, including 87.13 for their free skate.

Masters free skate

DC Edge took home the gold for the third straight season with an energetic version of their Motown free.

"I think we had a nice skate," coach Jenny Bacon said. "There was really good energy out there. A lot of personality and presentation (that was our focus). We have music that's really upbeat and really fun to move to, and I think the skaters did that."

In a post-skate interview, members of DC Edge also discussed the importance of upping the ante following last year's performance at the U.S. championships and continuing to improve on the technical aspects of their skates.

Denver Synchronicity came in second place with six third-place or higher ordinals in their "Madonna" themed program. Complete with lace gloves and hot pink dresses, the Colorado-based squad put out a strong performance that allowed them to take home the silver medal.

The IceSymmetrics won the bronze medal, with Team Delaware rounding out the podium with the pewter medal.

Novice free skate

In addition to winning the junior crown, the Skyliners successfully defended their 2017 national championship on the novice level. A compelling Phantom of the Opera free skate earned the team high marks for their Level 3 whip intersection, and helped produce a segment score of 72.11.

"They were absolutely lovely," coach Pam May said. "I thought they floated across the ice and did everything that we have trained them and taught them to do today. I feel blessed that I have these kids to train."

Team Image and the Ice Mates battled for the silver medal, and in the end, it was the Ice Mates who took second thanks to delivering a high-energy program to music from Country Girl. They finished with 69.03 points.

"Overall, everything was technically very good and they performed really well," Ice Mates coach Ashley Tomich said. "Their pivoting block is something we've worked on a lot, and today it had excellent lineup and speed going into it."

Team Image brought home the bronze with 63.62 points, followed by Teams Elite, who won the pewter medal with 62.98 points.