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Lexettes finish seventh, Jazz 10th in Neuchâtel

Team Fintastic claims title for Finland; Canada's Les Suprêmes get silver
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The U.S. delegation stands on the steps of the team hotel before the opening ceremonies in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. -Leslie Graham

The Lexettes of the Hayden Recreation Centre FSC and Chicago Jazz of Chicago FSC represented the United States as USA 1 and USA 2 at the 2014 Junior World Challenge Cup. Held in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, from March 6-8, the teams finished the competition in seventh and 10th place, respectively.

Both teams were selected to compete after finishing first and second at the 2014 World Junior Team Selection Event in January. This was the second consecutive year in which the Lexettes qualified for the Junior World Challenge Cup. The Chicago Jazz returned for their ninth appearance at the event, having last competed in 2009.

The Lexettes, who won their first title at the U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships last week, were in seventh place following the short program. The team received 89.67 points for its free skate to a Shirley Bassey medley and finished the competition with 133.85 points overall.

"It feels like the placement is a number that didn't meet our goals, but at the same time, it's just a number," head coach of the Lexettes, Saga Krantz, said. "The skating itself, even though it wasn't a clean skate, was bold, and we skated really hard with very difficult transitions and elements. I'm proud of our skaters. The program is difficult, and I made the transitions as hard as I could, and they were able to really go with it."

While the results don't match the Lexettes' goals, they are a young team gaining experience, which will carry with them for years to come.

"I do feel that you need to learn to compete," Krantz added. "The more we get to compete, the more we learn and the more we get to experience as skaters and coaches. It takes time to develop the best in the world."

Chicago Jazz, pewter medalist at the U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships, was in ninth after its swing short program. The team finished the competition in 10th place with 117.75 points.

Chicago Jazz, which has earned two bronze medals at this event in 2006 and 2007, took the time to really enjoy the experience.

"We really wanted to just get to worlds at the beginning of the season," fourth-year member Samantha Pearsall said. "We are very happy with our skate. We think we made everyone who helped us get here very proud. We couldn't be happier with how we did."

Finland 1 (Team Fintastic) finished in first with 173.77 points. Silver medalists last year, they have now won seven of the last eight junior world events.

In third place following the short program, Canada 1 (Les Suprêmes) was able to present a clean free skate, which was enough to move them into second place overall with 170.89 points.

The bronze medal went to Finland 2, Musketeers, with 167.63 points.

Russia 1, Spartak-Junost, winners of the 2013 bronze medal, was in second place following the short program, but a disappointing free skate landed them in sixth place overall.

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