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Crystallettes claim second adult title in a row

Chicago Jazz wins silver in its second year together

The Crystallettes will compete in the senior division at the Prague Cup.
The Crystallettes will compete in the senior division at the Prague Cup. (Paul Harvath)

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By Becca Staed, special to icenetwork.com
(03/07/2009) - The Crystallettes adult synchronized skating team won its second gold medal in as many years Saturday afternoon at the 2009 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships. Though the team has been on the podium at this event for the past four years, coach Holly Teets recognizes that the adult field is growing stronger.

"The way the scores looked, I knew it was going to be a nail biter until the end of the flight," she said. "The division is getting better; teams are more competitive, which is wonderful."

With a competition mark of 59.29, the heavy favorites led surprise silver medalists Chicago Jazz by just 2.35 points. Their supermodel-themed program featured music from "Project Runway," as well as Rupaul's "Supermodel (You'd Better Work)" and Fergie's "Glamorous."

Their opening block earned a Level 4, but Teets was most impressed by their Level 3 line that followed. Though six new members joined the team this year, Teets said transitioning has been easy.

"We found a nice median with their skill level this year were able to keep it consistent," she said.

The Chicago Jazz adult team had a tough debut year in 2008, finishing sixth at the U.S. Championships and without head coach Leanne Walsh, who was expecting at the time. Things weren't looking much better following the 2009 Midwestern Sectionals last month, where the team came in third place.

"We had a fall at sectionals," Walsh said. "But they just had more speed and unison here. It was a stronger program overall." Skating third to a Tina Turner medley, wearing banana yellow dresses to mimic Turner's dress in the movie What's Love Got to Do with It?, the Jazz received Level 3s for their block, wheel, intersections and circles, as well as their pivoting line that Walsh praised.

"There are a lot of the same members this year and because they have been working together for over a year now, it's a lot easier," she said.

Third place went to Esprit de Corps, which also won a bronze at Eastern Sectionals, and though it's a step down from last year's silver-medal finish, coach Dede Wilson couldn't be happier.

"After coming out the Eastern Sectionals in third place, this was the best we could possibly hope for," Wilson said. "We were fighting to try to stay on the ice for the awards ceremony, so this feels like gold."

Their Mamma Mia program garnered 56.52 points and featured a beautiful opening Level 4 line.

"We have quite a few new people this year but they have experience, so we have been lucky enough to be able to train them in our style and get them going," said Wilson. "It's a very strong team."

Denver Synchronicity, the 2007 champions of this event, took fourth place with a competition mark of 54.10.