Ice Network

Who else? Haydenettes breeze to 24th U.S. title

Miami attacks free, takes silver; Skyliners repeat as bronze medalists
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The Haydenettes took their free skate to the streets, and the result was the team's seventh U.S. title in a row and 24th overall. Performing to selections by Fantasia, Alicia Keyes, Fatboy Slim and Humdig, the Massachusetts-based dynasty won both phases of the competition comfortably and skated off with an 18.4-point win. -Jay Adeff

The Haydenettes brought a 10-point lead into Saturday's free skate at the 2016 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships, and they nearly doubled it in capturing their 24th U.S. title. 

The Massachusetts-based squad won the free skate with a score of 133.60, giving it 202.26 points for the competition -- 18.4 more than runners-up Miami University -- and its seventh consecutive U.S. championship. 

"It is great (to win)," skater Tessa Hedges said. "This definitely wasn't our best skate, but we put it all out there. Even with the deduction and the messy intersection, we still pulled off a much higher score than we had in the past, which is great."

Coach Saga Krantz was especially happy with the team's 72.94-point program components score.

"The second mark is what was very important for me, and that was nice and high," Krantz sad. "The technical score is definitely something that we have to keep working on."

In their "street beats"-themed program, the Haydenettes portray a hip-hop dancer who comes to New York not fully knowing what to expect, and who progresses over time.

"It sort of tells the story of where we are, because we were seventh at worlds and are really looking to move up," Hedges said. "We're putting it all out there."

Asked what's it's like to be at the helm of the sport's greatest dynasty (in the U.S.), Krantz was frank.

"I do feel (the pressure)," Krantz said. "It's a wonderful team, and every single year I feel like I don't want to disappoint the audience.

For the second straight year, Miami took home the silver medal.

"It was an awesome performance," coach Carla DeGirolamo said. "They went out and attacked. They performed from beginning to end, and everything was fast and clean and sharp. I'm really, really proud of them."

Skating a Latin beats-themed program, the RedHawks earned 125.90 points in the free skate and 183.86 overall.

The team rebounded from what it considered a subpar short program.

"We had a short program skate that wasn't what we wanted," senior Tori Alexander said. "We came back and let that drive us in our free program. We used all of the energy that we had and worked together as a team."

With the result, the Haydenettes and Miami were selected to represent the United States at the 2016 World Synchronized Skating Championships. Additionally, the Haydenettes will travel to the first-ever Shanghai Trophy next week in China.

The Skyliners, skating last, won the bronze medal for the second straight year. They earned a score of 115.65 for their free skate to music from The Mission and ended the event with 169.47 points.

"This week we accomplished two clean skates, which we haven't done all season," skater Jillian Longo said. "Coming into this competition, we wanted to focus on ourselves and have the best skates we could have. What matters (most) is the feeling that we get when we hit our ending pose."

The Crystallettes won the pewter medal with a final tally of 166.96.