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Have you heard? Participating in a competition series is all the rage and only takes three clubs to launch! Recent successes have been re-

ported with the Skating Council of Illinois’ Grand Prix Series and the Southern California Interclub Asso- ciation Invitational Series. “Everyone is talking about how to make it bigger and better next year,” Southern California series organizer Wayne Hundley said. “Lots of areas around the country could do this.” Composed of 14 events and a final in 2011–12, the Southern Cali- fornia series will boast 16 events for the 2012‒13 campaign, with a final scheduled for the top 12 point-earn- ers in each category. Premium points are awarded for placement, and extra points are given to those competing at larger events. Skaters must vie in at least three competitions, with each athlete or team’s top three scores tabu- lated toward the total score. Tere are exceptions to this qual-

ifying structure if there aren’t enough skaters in each category. Pairs and dance teams, for example, need only one event to receive an invitation to the final. Tere are also wild-card en- tries, which help to expand the field. Five juvenile pairs and three nov- ice pairs took part in the Southern California Invitational final. At the final, the athletes were

treated to a U.S. Championships- type experience. Tey entered the kiss and cry to receive scores, with video of their programs playing on large screens. Old-style trophy cups pro- vided creative photo opportunities, and festivities culminated in a parade of champions. A group photograph and refreshments followed the event. Te Skating Council of Illinois ran a similar series, inviting the top 12 skaters in each category to compete in the Grand Prix Final at no cost. Skat- ers were required to compete in at least four of seven events, with a spe- cial award given to those competing in all seven. Ed Mann, a national accountant and series organizer, tabulated results for posting on the council’s website during the season.

32 MAY 2012 “Excitement definitely built as

the season progressed,” Mann said. “We started getting e-mails and phone calls from both parents and skaters wanting to make sure their points were correct and checking to see how much they needed to qualify for the Grand Prix Final.” Hundley posted updated stand- ings at most of the qualifying events, which generated a great deal of inter- est.

“Once people caught on, they would look for their standings after they saw their event results,” Hundley said.

For the 2012–13 series season, all open competitions hosted by Southern California Interclub Associ- ation member clubs between Sept 26, 2012, and September 16, 2013, will include the following categories: pre- preliminary through senior, adult sin- gles and pairs (bronze–gold, masters), pre-juvenile through senior pairs, juvenile through senior free dance. Adult skaters will be combined by lev- el (no separate age divisions). Masters divisions will be intermediate-novice and junior-senior. Te top 12 point- scorers in each division will receive in- vitations to the final, where all events utilize the international judging system.

Te Skating Council of Illinois found that the number of starts at member competitions increased over last year as the Grand Prix Series pro- gressed. An eighth event was added to the Grand Prix Series for 2012, and registration entries are up significantly over last year for the first three com- petitions in the series. Te formula used to award points was restructured to increase separation between place- ments, and to add participation and final–round bonus points. Eight cat- egories of “well-balanced free skate” are included in the series, from no- test through adult gold. Tere are also five categories of test track free skate and five categories of IJS free skate in which skaters may compete to qualify for Grand Prix points. To learn more about hosting a series, go to www.usfigure and click on “clubs.”

Ed Mann, organizer of the Skating Council of Illinois’ Grand Prix Series, presents an award to Maria von Ellm-McKenna of the Wagon Wheel FSC, who competed in pre-juvenile division.

The champions of the Southern California Interclub Association Invitational Final gather for a group photo and refreshments following the event.



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