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‘Magical’ skate lifts Skyliners to title


by MIMI WHETSTONE “It was a magical skate for


them,” Skyliners coach Natalie Martello gushed after her team left the ice in Colorado Springs, Colo. “Tey skated clean and I feel like they connected on the ice with each other and also with the audi- ence.”


Te New York-based skaters


rode their connection to the top of the podium, receiving first-place ordinals from seven of nine judges. Music from Disney’s Aladdin set the tone for the enchanted perfor- mance, as the skaters took the ice in teal-and-gold Princess Jasmine-in- spired costumes, striving to perfect the program when it mattered the most.


“Each of the girls has a Prin-


cess Jasmine doll,” Martello said. “Tey all brought them to nation- als with us. We also have magic lamps. It’s a real theme. All season, we’ve been cleaning everything up in this program. We haven’t really made a lot of changes, but we’ve been taking what we have and making it even better.” Skating with impressive ex-


tension, the Skyliners topped the podium in the juvenile ranks for the second time, marking their first gold since 2011. Te connection between skaters was evident, a feat


32 APRIL 2014


that was no easy task for a team with only six returning members. “I usually tell the new mem-


bers that everything is going to be OK,” third-year Skyliner Sophia Lamb said. “Te skate is going to be great. Just try your best, try your hardest and everything will work out. We’re really happy and proud of ourselves today. We felt like we had the skate of our lives.” Chicago Jazz earned the silver medal with a 5/2 majority, working through a similar mixture of brand new and established members. “We really rely on the veteran skaters to help out the new skaters,” coach Kristi Frank said. “Tey all become one as the season progress- es. Tey all work together and help each other out. I’m so excited for them. Tey did everything they needed to do, and they stepped it up at the right moment.” Performing to selections from


Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinder- ella, the girls took the ice adorned in dresses that perfectly matched the iconic ice-blue gown, proving themselves as belles of the ball with exquisite precision. “We all work really well as a


team and that’s all anyone could ask for,” 13-year-old Sophia Nappo said. “We just help each other out and support each other.” Earning bronze for the fourth


straight year, the Mini Mates of Lexington, Mass., took the ice to selections from Disney’s Hercules in a performance that featured unique moves in the field, including catch- foot spins, spirals and lunges. “We did amazing,” Mini


Mate Erika Graham said. “It was one of the best skates of the season. We were all together and our facial expressions were there. We wanted to look up to the judges to show how confident we are, and I think


we did that today.” Finishing fourth were the


Starlights of Skokie Valley, Ill., who performed to a patriotic medley of music. Te team moved up from a fifth-place finish at the 2013 U.S. Synchronized Skating Champi- onships to round out the podium with a 5/5 majority.


GOLD


Skyliners, 7/1


SILVER


Chicago Jazz, 5/2


BRONZE


Mini Mates, 5/3


PEWTER


Starlights, 5/5


JAY ADEFF/U.S. FIGURE SKATING


juvenile


SKYLINER S


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