Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Bittersweet Ending- Haydenettes

After our great short performance, we were more than prepared to take charge in our Lady Gaga long program.

Our official practice was in the early afternoon on Friday. We came into the arena confident and ready to put our long program on the World stage. Our practice was solid, but not perfect. We had small mistakes that were simple to fix in preparation for the evening. Shortly after our practice we had video review. Saga reminded us of the important technical details we had to focus on come that evening. We were prepared, and we could not wait to put it all out on the ice.

Preparing for this performance was bittersweet. As we did our hair and makeup, we became excited to skate, but we also remembered that this was our last performance as a team. This team is very close, and we all love our Lady Gaga program. We were ready to make this the best program we have ever skated.

As we put on our Lady Gaga dresses, we put on our “poker faces” and got ready to become “little monsters.” As we prepared to enter the ice, Saga reminded us to remain calm. She knew that we were capable. We all knew that this program had the potential to amaze. We just had to do exactly what we did at every practice.

We stepped out on the ice and were overwhelmed with the support from the audience. Special thanks to our parents and the Crystallettes for the USA cheers! This last boost of confidence is exactly what we needed as we took our opening pose.

We put out an extremely strong program and had the time ofour lives. One the best parts about this sport is the moment when the program ends. In this moment, the 16 of us are united and unstoppable. Pride overwhelms our hearts. This is exactly how we felt after our long program skate. We could not have been more proud of what we had accomplished, no matter the score outcome.

Our performance led us to a silver medal in long, and a bronze medal overall. We were ecstatic with our skates and the result. We send our congratulations to Team Sweden 1 and Team Canada 1! The skating at this championship was outstanding, and we were honored to be part of it.

After awards, our parents threw us a party and we were able to celebrate with them. As many of us live away from home, this time was very special. Saga presented us with our small medal, and spoke to our success. She then said her farewell, as she was headed home to Finland the next morning. We were happy to see her take a break and spend time with her family, as well.

This experience was one of the most humbling of our careers. Standing next to 60 of the world’s best athletes at awards made us realize how truly special this sport and this team is. The Haydenettes are thankful of all that have supported us, not only within our Hayden organization, but also around the country. This has been an outstanding season for all. The 2012-2013 season is fast approaching, and we are excited to get back to work!

Tessa and Audrey 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Worlds With the Crystallettes

The Crystallettes had a fabulous time at the World Championships in Sweden! When we first arrived there, we got settled into our beautiful hotel, the Gothia Towers. A few hours after arriving, we had our first practice.  After a long plane ride we all felt like noodles but that did not stop us from having a very focused and productive practice. It felt so good to get our feet back on the ice again and get our muscles moving after hours of traveling. We knew that, being at the World Championships, every practice was important and a vital performance. So, we strived to do our best at every practice. We had five practices during the days leading up to competition.  Our practices were all strong and focused. We spent most of our time practicing but did have two hours to go shopping and have the true Sweden experience! The food was great and the city is absolutely beautiful. 

The draw ceremony was held Thursday night and consisted of solo performances, a group performance, a mini-concert by singer Amy Diamond and the most adorable beginner synchro team. After the performances, all of the skaters, competing in the competition, laced up their skates and assembled single file behind their flag on the ice. This was where the captains from each team were called over to draw a chip out of the bag. When it was our turn to draw, co-captain Meghan Quigley and I skated over to determine when we would perform for the short program. We were so nervous! I slowly stuck my hand inside the bag and pulled out number 13! We skate in the middle of the second group performing Friday night.  We were happy with our draw and excited that competition was finally here! The next morning we had an amazing official practice. It definitely gave us a boost of confidence and we could not have been more ready to compete.  We planned to go out on the ice and give it our all. We had come way too far to hold anything back and had overcome so many different obstacles.

We competed thirteenth in the short program. We skated the best short program performance of our season and were proud of how we performed out on the world ice. We ended up in 11th place with places 9th through 11th separated by less then a point. Once we were done skating, we got the opportunity to watch the top six teams in the world skate. 

After standing in 11th place after the short program, the Crystallettes got the opportunity to watch some of the top teams in the world. They were beautiful and amazing to watch! There was so much energy in the arena when they skated. That was our goal tomorrow when we performed our sassy long program – get the crowd clapping. We had the crowd going with us in short and we were eager to perform our upbeat long program. We were sure that our music and program would excite the audience, especially with our two new ending pieces. After a solid and confident official practice, we rested up, and got ready to compete. We performed a very intense and energetic free skate that definitely had the crowd clapping along. This long program was by far my favorite free skate that I have ever performed. Overall, it was a great skate, we had one minor mistake but it didn’t matter because we were so incredibly proud of our season as a whole. We ended up finishing in 11th place (just over a point away from 10th) and we were happy with how we skated for both programs and couldn’t have asked for anything more. We are 11th in the world and second in our nation, not too shabby! 

After the competition ended and the awards ceremony was over, we returned back to the hotel and got ready for the competitors party. With help from a few stylish parents, we purchased the most adorable outfits for the competitor’s party.  After we got all dolled up and took thousands of pictures in our cute outfits, we walked down to the party. We had a nice dinner and got the chance to interact with all of the teams that participated in the competition. Then a DJ came to the party and it turned into a nightclub, everyone was dancing and having a great time with each other. We got to take pictures with many of the teams and it was a very memorable experience.

The Crystallettes had a great time at the 2012 World Championships! It was an experience that will be cherished forever. We wanted to congratulate all of the teams in the competition, especially  the Haydenettes for their bronze medal. It was nice to represent USA together and we hope to have the opportunity again next year in Boston!

Friday, April 13, 2012

World Championships Part 1 - Haydenettes

Our time in Sweden so far has been amazing. Since our arrival on Tuesday, we have had many strong practices and have enjoyed seeing the sights of Gothenburg. Wednesday and Thursday we had 2 practices, and Thursday night we had the draw. The opening ceremony was awesome, including performances from the top Swedish singles competitors and a small intro team. All athletes stood on the ice behind our flags for the ceremony. It was a great experience, and we got to meet many people from many teams.

This morning we woke up, had breakfast, and took a short walk around the city with Saga. We had time for a quick video review before lunch and the Short Program official practice. Our practice was very strong. We skated a clean run-through and did good sections. Everyone was calm and focused. Saga was happy with the practice.

After skating, we rested and had snacks before it was time to get ready to compete. We went through our normal competition routine and got excited to represent our country as Team USA1. When we got to the rink the energy was great and there were tons of people. During warm up we focused on each other and stayed in our own bubble. We were more than ready to compete.

Upon entering the arena, we looked up and saw a lot of excited fans ready for an intense competition. And what an intense competition it was!

Getting on the ice, we noticed not only American flags waving, but Finnish ones as well. It is a unique experience having two nations supporting you coming into a World Championship. It makes us realize how fortunate we are to have Saga as a coach. She is a phenomenal person.

Although we technically did not get all the calls we were going for, the program felt amazing. We are proud of our skate. Tomorrow is an entirely new day and we are ready to put everything we have into our Lady Gaga program. We intend to go Gaga for Saga and leave everything on the ice.

Tessa & Audrey

Thursday, April 5, 2012

World Team Competitors

This year at the 2012 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships I had the opportunity to participate as a DREAM skater. I was given the privilege of distributing the gold medals for the Juvenile Awards Ceremony. I loved every minute of that experience with the other DREAMers! It was nice to meet my fellow DREAMers that I had not had the chance to meet yet. I am very proud to be a member of the DREAM team and I am thankful that I was given this opportunity. I am excited for the camps in the summer and whatever else is in store for me!

The 2012 U.S. Synchronized Championships were a very rewarding and successful trip for the Crystallettes. We were incredibly excited with the outcome! After skating two solid, fun, sassy, and engaging programs, we were rewarded with a silver medal and the spot on the World Team. It was a very proud moment for the Crystallettes! We had worked all season for this moment and for our season goal to come true was an incredible feeling. We had many obstacles to overcome before making the World team. We were mentally focused and committed to working hard. We changed our short music mid season, changed our program, and we had quite an eventful trip in Switzerland with sicknesses and injuries. It has been a challenging but amazing ride for us and we are so humbled and proud to represent the USA.

Since the U.S. Synchronized Championships, we have been busy working hard and dedicating hours of practice both as a team and individually. From the feedback that we received at the U.S. Synchronized Championships, we have improved all of our elements. We also changed the ending piece of music in our long program! The songs are spunky, exciting, and will make you want to dance! We absolutely love the new songs and cannot wait to showcase our new ending at the World Synchronized Skating Championships! We are eager to see how the crowd reacts.

The last few weeks have been busy! The Crystallettes had their ice show last weekend (March 31st-April 1st) where we got to perform both of our programs and many people in our club got to see our long with the new ending for the first time! We received a great response from the audience; they were clapping along and enthusiastically applauded at the end. The Crystallettes also had a World Send off exhibition with a spaghetti dinner fundraiser afterwards. Many people from our club came to watch us and cheer us on; we are truly lucky to have such a great and supportive club. Our parents have been amazing too! They have spent countless hours fundraising and shopping for us! Earlier this week, we were interviewed on the radio. Monday, April 2nd, Meghan Quigley and I were asked to come in to be interviewed by Paul Smith on channel 760 am. Both of us were excited about this opportunity and had a blast, we also received a very generous donation from Paul Smith, which we are very thankful for.

Even though the Crystallettes have been very busy, we have loved every second of making the World Team and we can’t wait to represent the United States in Sweden. We are thankful for this amazing opportunity and want to wish all of the teams good luck!