Monday, December 26, 2011

Porter 2011 Crystallettes

The Crystallette teams did well at the Porter competition that is annually held on the first weekend in December. My beginner 2 team that I coach won first place and my Open Juvenile team placed third! It was a proud weekend for me as a coach. I have to admit that it is harder to be a coach than a skater because, as you are standing at the side watching the program that you choreographed, you are shaking due to the nerves. When I skate I feel like I control my movements, when I am watching my teams I have no control; it is up to them. After my two teams were done competing it was time for me to focus on my competition skating with the senior team. We had two great official practices and skated a fun short and a sassy long. We ended up placing second in short with a score of 58.33 and our overall place was third with a final score of 163.93. Unfortunately, we gave away all of the points for our no hold step sequence because not all of our skaters in the back line crossed the goal line. They were inches away. In the words of Vince Lombardi, “inches make the champion.” I am confident that we will learn from that mistake.

We were proud of our skate. Our short score was higher than at Kalamazoo. Our goal is to improve our score at each competition and so far we have done that. We had an absolute blast performing our short program to “Footloose” by Kenny Loggins. It is fun and energetic and the crowd was responding very positively to our program. We were very proud of our skate. However, we knew that it was now time to direct our focus to our long program. Our long program is choreographed to Latin music and is a very upbeat, dance number. It was the first competition that we performed our long program and we skated it nicely. Overall, it was a good weekend for the Crystallettes and all of our teams were happy with the results they received.

Of course, there were elements that we could have improved, but we look at Porter as a report card. We learn about what we have to fix and we work hard to get it done. Since Porter, we have made many changes to our programs! All of the changes we made have definitely made our programs faster, stronger, and better. We have a competition in London, Canada after Christmas from December 27th to the 30th. We have been practicing very hard for the last couple of weeks in order to be fully prepared for this competition because we are competing against the top teams in the world. We are determined and put in hours and hours of hard work and dedication. We are excited to get the opportunity to not only compete against top ranked teams, but to show off our new and improved programs.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays from California Gold

I finished up my semester with final exams last friday, but that didn't mean it was time for a break! California Gold had a busy weekend ahead, plus a few more days of practice before we went on our holiday.

On Saturday morning we had our early morning practice as usual and then all went home for a few hours, before heading to the home of our team manager, Cheryl. Since I had been kicked out of my dorm the night before, I spent the next few nights staying with teammates (shout out to the Austels for taking care of me!). At Cheryl's we held our annual Cal Gold Christmas party with the novice and senior teams and many team families.

After a great meal, the teams prepared for a Holiday show hosted by our home rink, the East West Ice Palace. We all drove together to Ontario for the show. Senior skated our short program with the added challenge of an ice surface shortened by about a fourth. I heard that Michelle Kwan was at the show, the rink being owned by her family, but I didn't get a chance to meet her.

The whole team was up again the next morning for practice. We cut our normal practice short in order to celebrate alumni day. On alumni day the team welcomes all former members of California Gold to come and eat breakfast at the rink, watch our programs, and get on the ice. It was so nice to share some time to think about where California Gold has been and where the organization is going.

At Alumni day I got to see several teammates of mine from the previous year and we had a fun time on the ice, being taught an easy program by Coach Cipresso and Coach Falkowski. I was excited to see my Dreammate and former teammate, Annaleigh, who now attends Berkley as well as former Dream Team member Lauren Bracken.

Happy Holidays!


Monday, December 5, 2011

Miami University Dr. Porter 2011

Hey Everyone,

After many weeks of practice and anxiously awaiting our first opportunity to show off our programs, the competition season has officially begun. Early Friday morning, all three of the Miami teams gathered at the rink for a competition simulation. This gave us the opportunity to see the latest versions of our programs and give each other the final boost before the weekend’s event.

We arrived in Ann Arbor on Friday afternoon and headed to the Cube for a quick unofficial practice. Walking into the rink for the first time on Friday was almost a surreal feeling, as we had been anticipating this moment for a long time. Seeing all of our parents gathered in the small, cold varsity rink bleachers, decked out in red and white to cheer us on for just a short unofficial practice, made us feel so lucky to have our own little “fan club”. Their support means the world to us.

The next morning we had an early wake-up call for official practice. As we entered the Cube this time, it was crowded with teams and fans, giving us the competitive feeling we had been looking forward to. We were excited to put our programs out there on competition ice for the first time. The practice left us feeling very confident and excited going into the competition that night. It was a lot of fun to see familiar faces around the rink, including former coaches and teammates, friends, and family.

The short program competition was definitely one of the highlights of the weekend and a memory that will stick with us all season. The stands were completely packed and full of excitement, and it was so amazing to perform our high-energy short program for such an enthusiastic crowd. We greatly appreciated the overwhelming response that we received from the crowd as we exited the ice. It was a special night for us because it was our first opportunity to come together as a team and show everyone what we have been working so hard to accomplish. I think we can speak for the whole team in saying that the feeling we had after finishing our short program was exactly the one that we had been hoping for. It was even more special to learn that we had won the event that night, something that our coach alerted us that Miami hadn’t achieved since 2006.

Before heading back to the hotel, we went to the stands to surprise our collegiate team and cheer them on for their official practice. As they took the ice, we went crazy cheering them on as if it were the competition itself. It is such an awesome thing to have all three teams be so supportive of each other. We really are a close-knit family, and this is just one example that demonstrates Miami’s motto of love and honor. We went to sleep that night feeling like we had set a great tone for the season and fired up to compete our unique long program the next day.

We took the adrenaline and confidence from the first day of competition and channeled it towards our long program from the moment that we took the ice. We completely transformed ourselves into our Gypsy character and competed a strong, dynamic long program that we were very proud of. We were very pleased with our overall score for the weekend of 174.25 and ecstatic when we learned that we had won the senior division and were presented the Dr. Porter Cup.

It was definitely a “Golden” weekend for all of Miami Skating and a wonderful way to start out our season. We are so excited to get back to practicing and preparing for the next event. We can’t wait to see what this year will bring; it is sure to be a special one! Best of luck to all teams this year! The 2011-2012 synchro season is officially in full swing!

Over and Out from the Ice3,

A2 (Ashleigh & Ashley)