Tuesday, January 31, 2012

French Cup Day 1

Bon jour! Salut de France! It's been an eventful first day for the Skyliners. After landing in France at about ten this morning we loaded the bus for a full day of touring Paris. We visited the Arc de triomphe, the Eiffel tower, the champs-élysées, then grabbed some lunch at the hard rock cafe. Continuing on we passed the louvre, then visited notre dame. We were blown away by the beauty of the city. It's definitely not what we're used to, living so close to New York City. After our tour we began the two and a half hour trip to Rouen. Welcoming us were innovative advertisements for the French Cup that were posted around the city. Our whole team was excited to see that the entire town would be involved with this weekends events. We're looking forward to a fun filled week of skating and enjoying the fantastic sights of France!

Go USA!!


Monday, January 30, 2012

Mozart Cup with ICE'Kateers

After a twelve hour plane ride from California to Munich and a two hour bus ride to Salzburg; the ICE’Kateers have finally arrived at the Mozart Cup! We had a successful practice Wednesday morning, followed by a long day of traveling until arriving in Austria on Thursday night. Upon our arrival we settled in and enjoyed a delicious dinner prepared by the hotel employees, then headed off to bed. We also ran into several of our fellow U.S.A. teammates from Miami University of Ohio on our way in as well; it was nice to see some familiar faces.

The next day we woke up to another great meal at the hotel and then headed off to unofficial practice at the Eisarena Salzburg; not far from where we’re staying.

We arrived at the arena, first having a quick off-ice practice outside, and then preceding inside to our locker room to put on our skates. The arena was a lot of fun to skate in for us; just looking out small windows of the rink gave us a gorgeous view of the snow-covered Austrian mountains right outside. It was truly a beautiful sight. Our practice started off a little shaky; not at our full potential, but we were soon able to get back into synch with one another and ended the session on a good note. After practice we had a quick lunch at the arena, and then headed back to our hotel for a short time before our Sound of Music tour later that day.

The Sound of Music tour was really a great experience; we got to learn about all of the different places where the movie was filmed, right in the city where we’re staying, and all the while seeing the beautiful sights of Austria! The city of Salzburg is truly such a stunning city, especially during this time of year when everything is covered in fresh snow. From the old churches to the quaint country homes, it’s all just so beautiful. The people are all very nice as well; everyone has been extremely friendly and kind to us no matter where we go.

Tomorrow morning we have official practice for short program, and then we compete later in the day. We’re hoping to skate our best and really represent the U.S. well. We’re also very excited to get the chance to cheer on and support our other team U.S.A. members, Miami University, as well.

GO U.S.A. :)


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Mozart Cup 2012

As a very exciting weekend draws to a close, team U.S.A. stands proud of many accomplishments made over the past few days in Saluzburg, Austria. ICE'Kateers senior team placed 6th with two strong skates against many world level teams. Miami University junior team; also with two very solid programs, placed 7th. The weekend, in conclusion, was a great success for team U.S.A..

Saturday morning the ICE'Kateers woke up early and headed down to the rink for official practice for short program. We focused a great deal on making sure the technical panel could see all of our elements clearly and correctly during the session. We had two solid run-throughs; leaving rink feeling very confident for that evening. Back at the hotel we rested for a short time, but began our hair and make-up preparations early enough so we would be able to get back to the rink in order to watch Miami junior team. The junior team performed wonderfully, and we were so glad we got the chance to watch and cheer them on. Following the junior division, we went to warm up, and then took the ice.
We were pleased with our short program that night; overall it was a fairly strong skate. Although we did have some small mishaps in the routine, the ending product was something we were very much proud of. We left the rink that night looking forward to coming back and competing in the free skate. I think it's also important to mention the support of our fans here in Austria, as well as from the ones back in the U.S.. Their enthusiasm was truly spectacular; we really could not ask for better friends and family to be there for us.

Today the schedule was pretty similar; we woke up, had breakfast, went to official practice, rested, cheered on Miami, and then competed. The free skate was another solid performance for us; we did have a collision on one of our intersections, but we recovered well and completed the program without letting it affect us. Following the senior devision, every junior and senior team entered the ice for the awards ceremonies. This was a really great experience for all of the teams. I believe that is one of the best parts about international competitions; the chance to meet and interact with skaters from different countries. We were able to talk to a lot of the girls from team Austrailia, among other teams, we took pictures with them and got to meet their mascot "Kevin the Kangaroo"; which was a lot of fun.

Tomorrow we're looking forward to a free day of touring and shopping around Salzburg! We had a really wonderful time here so far, and are definitely sad to leave such a beautiful place, but are excited to get back home and start working hard for nationals!

GO U.S.A.!


Thursday, January 19, 2012

December With the Skyliners

December is one of the best and busiest times of the year. With two back-to-back competitions, a show, our winter boot camp and the usual holiday stress, things can get pretty crazy.

To start off the month, Skyliners Intermediate, Novice, Junior and Senior lines traveled to the Dr. Richard Porter Classic in Dearborn, Michigan. It was a great competition! We arrived late Friday night and left Sunday after competition. We woke up around 6am on Saturday and had our official practice. This was the first time we wore our new official practice dresses, which we were all very excited about. They looked great! Official went well and we were excited for the night ahead. Before it was our time to compete, we got to watch our Intermediate line skate an amazing swing themed program. They took our breath away! A few hours later it was finally time to load the bus for competition. We played our usual bus songs to get us ready to compete. We arrived at the rink and did some more floor, went to the locker rooms, and then it was finally time to take the ice for our energetic “The Edge of Glory” short program. There was a slight hitch at the beginning of our short program, but we quickly picked it up and completed a great program. We exited the ice and were extremely happy with our scores, and we ended up in first after the short program! After we competed we stayed to watch our Senior line compete. It was an amazing debut performance for the Skyliners Senior team, to their “Mad Hatter” music.

Sunday, once again, we woke up early for our long official practice, which went very well. During our hair and makeup, both the Senior and Junior lines gathered around the computer to watch our Novice line on the live feed of the competition skate a great program to their “42nd street” themed program. While waiting to compete our long program later that day we got to spend a few minutes with former teammates, on collegiate, junior and senior teams. It was great to see them all once again! We skated a great long program and were ecstatic to be in first place overall! It was an amazing competition for all the Skyliner lines.

Next up was the Cape Cod Classic in Borne Massachusetts. This time the Pre-preliminary, Preliminary, Pre-Juvenile, Juvenile, Intermediate, Novice and Junior lines all attended the competition. Each team performed very well, and it was another great weekend for the Skyliners. Cape Cod is one of my favorite competitions, as it is one I’ve been attending since I began skating synchro in 2001. We competed against the Lexettes and Synchroettes who both had beautiful programs. We finished first in both the long and short programs and were very happy.

The next weekend, we found ourselves back in NY, performing at the Chelsea Piers rink for the annual “Holiday on the Hudson” show. It was nice to get our program out there once again without the pressure of competition, and a great way to start off the holidays!

Right after we had digested our holiday feasts, we started our annual holiday boot camp. For four days, we meet at the rink for six hours of on ice and off ice training. It is always a lot of work, but is one of my favorite times of year as it always brings our team closer together as we get ready for the Junior World Qualifier.

Sennett C.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

California Gold and Miami: Friendship among Competition

In synchronized skating, it is inevitable that you will meet lifelong friends with whom you will always be close. My friendship with Emmy is no exception. We first became good friends through cross skating on the Novice and Junior Hockettes teams in the 2007-2008 season. In spending an endless number of hours together, on and off the ice, it was a certain friendship. The year that we became the closest, however, was our senior year of high school and final season skating for Hockettes. Serving as co-captains for the Hockettes Junior team, we learned the virtuosity of true leadership and the awesome results that it can have. Working together through times of both success and adversity gave us a special bond that we will always hold on to. Leadership is about more than just holding a position; it is about teamwork and setting an example in effort to inspire others to strive to reach their potential. I know I can speak for the both of us when I say that the experiences we had skating for Hockettes are ones that will remain with us for the rest of our lives. We are so grateful for our time with the organization and know that it has and will continue to greatly contribute to our success as adults.

After Ashleigh and I graduated from high school, we both had difficult decisions to make. We individually decided that we both wanted to continue skating, but each of us had other important criteria for our education. I ended up heading out west to California and joining California Gold's senior team, while Ashleigh went south to Oxford Ohio, to skate with Miami University. Once we both had made these decisions we told each other right away, excited about the future. It was sad to part from a teammate who I had grown so close to, but our friendship didn't end there. We kept in contact over the phone, with plenty of skating news to share with each other about our new teams.

Competing against someone who you’re so close to and have worked together with on the same team in the past can definitely be hard. When Emmy and I chat in the time leading up to competitions, it always includes something about the huge hug we are going to give each other. At the same time, there is always that competitive fire between us. The other part of the conversation usually goes something like “You better be ready for some fierce competition.” Competing against each other drives both of us to always be our best and at the top of our game, but we are also so proud of each other for the accomplishments we have had with our new teams. Our teams sharing the podium at Nationals this past season was one of those incredible moments that I hope we will be able to enjoy in the future. We are both looking forward to the next event - travelling together to the French Cup in Rouen next month.

Ashleigh and I remain really great friends, despite also being competitors. Over this past summer, we saw each other nearly every day at the ice rink back in Michigan and would often coordinate our schedules to practice together. Being on different teams didn't stand in the way of wanting to help each other out. We worked on drills, challenging one another and giving pointers. Over this past holiday break, we met up again and performed our program footwork sequences for one another, to get some feedback. Ashleigh watched me do my short program no hold block and told me that she thought I could get a better entry edge on my rocker if I focused on my knee bend. While I think we both consider ourselves to be very competitive, we don't let the pettiness of competition get in the way of our friendship. We are both still fiercely loyal to our teams and are honestly trying to out skate each other, however, at the end of the day, I know that we both share a love of skating and a willingness to work hard that transcends competitiveness.

Ashleigh and Emmy

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

December with the Haydenettes

December has been a very busy month for the Haydenettes. We've had many practices, a show, and two great competitions.

(Tessa and Audrey with DREAM alumni Noelle Pearson and Jenna Longo)

First, we competed at the Cape Cod Classic. We had an awesome time skating our programs. The audience was very supportive and we were pleased with our performances. It was very fun to get to see a lot of younger skaters who attended the Hayden Summer Synchro Experience. They gave us many good laughs this summer at camp, and were just as funny when we saw them at the competition. We also got to stay at a really nice hotel right on the beach. Although the sand and water were freezing, the beach was a great place for a photo shoot.

The following weekend was the Hayden Holiday Show. All the Hayden teams and some soloists performed their programs. The Haydenettes skated their short, long, and show program. This exhibition was a great way for us to practice our programs in a simulated competition setting. After the show we had a couple more practices, then everyone got to head home for the holidays.

After our holiday break, everyone met back in Lexington for one practice before we were off to London, Ontario for Synchrofest. We had a great practice and were excited to get to Canada for the competition. Upon arrival in Ontario, we drove two hours from the Toronto airport to London for our unofficial practice. We skated very well at practice and were looking forward to the next two days of competition.

(Audrey with fellow DREAMmate Katilyn Peterson)

Wednesday morning we woke up, had a great breakfast at the hotel, and headed to the arena for short official practice. We did a solid run-through and a few sections at official practice and we felt confident heading into competition that night. We went back to the hotel, ate, rested, and got ready for the short. We skated a great program and ended up in first place! We were so excited about our placement. After the competition we had a nice dinner with the Crystallettes then went back to the hotel for a good night's sleep before the long program competition.

(photo: Elina Paasonen)
On Thursday we woke up excited for Long official practice and competition. Our official was very strong then we went back to the hotel for a quick floor practice. The long was so fun to compete. The Crystallettes were cheering us on in the stands and we were very encouraged by their support. Competing our Lady Gaga program is always a joy. We focused on our expression and tried to imitate Gaga throughout our performance. We placed second overall and were very happy with the whole competition.

(photo: Elina Paasonen)

After the competition, we got to head back home for a short break. Those living in the Midwest did not have any complications. However, those wishing to return to the East Coast had a bit of a struggle. Half of the Haydenettes got stuck in Toronto overnight due to fog and flight cancellations. We got some great team bonding in at the Hockey Hall of Fame and spent some time at the mall. We made it home just in time to celebrate New Years Eve with friends and family.

We are looking forward to competing at Colonial Classic next weekend and watching the Junior World Qualifier!

Here's a link to our long program skate: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/19456010

the rest of the short and long programs are also available to view through that site!

Tessa & Audrey