Wednesday, January 26, 2011

2011 Junior World Team Selection Competition

Getting off the plane in Milwaukee on Wednesday night, it felt like just another competition, but in the end, it turned out to be so much more than that. Going into the Junior World Team Selection Competition, we all knew that there was a lot on the line, and we were hoping to earn a spot once again on the World Junior Team. Still, we were extremely excited and knew that we were ready for the intense competition that the weekend was sure to bring.
We woke up and headed to the rink, soon finding out that we would be skating fourth in the first flight. We were very excited about this because it meant that we would get a chance to watch the teams that were competing after the ice cut. We got on the ice for our official and were very pleased to skate two clean run-throughs before getting off.
After lunch and another quick practice, we could not wait to get back to the hotel to start hair and make-up and put on our brand new team USA warm-ups for the first time. Walking into the rink for the short program, we were beyond excited and so ready to compete. We took the ice with confidence in our short program and turned on our over-the-top expression the minute the music started. Hitting our ending pose, we were thrilled to hear the crowd respond so positively to our bright and exciting short program. As we stood in the kiss and cry, we couldn’t have been happier with our score of 56.72.
Once we got out of the locker room, we headed for the stands and cheered loudly for our friends on the teams still competing. As the night came to an end, we sat in first place, but we knew that it was not over 'til it was over, and we would need to keep up the energy we had in the short if we wanted to stay on top.
The next morning we woke up to learn that we would be skating third in the second flight. We were off to the rink once again and getting ready for our free skate official practice. It went well, but not everything was exactly the way that we wanted to perform it that night, so we were happy to have one more practice, directly following our official, before we were to compete that night. We completed our hair and make-up and a quick warm-up at the hotel before going over to the warm-up area near the rink. Entering our locker room, we could not have been more pumped up to compete. Yet somehow we were able to psych ourselves up even more as we waited ready in the locker room for almost a half hour. We danced and cheered, until finally we were told that they were ready for us.
As we stepped onto the ice, I knew we were ready and we all had a new confidence that I hadn’t seen before. Going through our “Phantom of the Opera” program I could hear Josh’s screams of joy getting louder with each element. As we traveled our moving wheel, our last element, that’s when it all hit me: we had just given it our all. Kneeling on the ice in our ending pose, I was completely overwhelmed with pride from the way the team had just skated. As our scores were announced, our jaws dropped with shock as we heard 120.94, and then the screams came out. We were all so proud of ourselves and each other. We then headed over to the end of the rink, where both Team Braemar and Miami were standing.
As we waited for the competition to end, we cheered on the other teams. Once the competition had come to an end and it was determined that we would be going to the Junior World Challenge Cup in Neuch√Ętel, Switzerland, along with Team Braemar, we were beside ourselves. Our two teams jumped up and down congratulating each other. We were then called back onto the ice and announced as Team USA1. This was an amazing feeling, and I was filled with so much pride when handed a bouquet of flowers for my team.
We spent some time on the ice taking picture after picture with Team Braemar as the 2011 World Junior Team. To finish off an extremely exciting competition, we took the bus to a restaurant where there was a DJ playing music. There, the Skyliners and Team Braemar danced the night away together, celebrating our success.
This was an extremely exciting and very successful competition for us. We know that there is a lot of hard work ahead of us, but we are looking forward to every minute of it. We could not be more thrilled to be going to Switzerland with Team Braemar. We are already very close friends, but I know that the friendship we have will grow even that much more.
Talk to you soon,
Ashley

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