Ice Mates take second straight novice title

Crystallettes grab silver; Team Braemar snags bronze

The Ice Mates made it two novice titles in a row with a gold medal on Friday night.
The Ice Mates made it two novice titles in a row with a gold medal on Friday night. (Paul Harvath)


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By Renee Felton, special to
(03/04/2011) - Ice Mates head coach Saga Krantz was speechless following her team's 72.99-point free skate to the music of Aladdin. While she had very little to say, onlookers could tell she was on the verge of tears as the scores were announced.

The program, which earned 44.81 points alone on technical elements, featured five components that earned a grade of execution (GOE) of 1.00 or more. Their Level 4 circle earned a program-best 6.49 points that included a GOE of 1.29.

The Hayden Recreation Center Figure Skating Club representatives bested their Eastern sectionals score by over 10 points.

"I knew they were capable of this," Krantz said. "We got all of our levels. I was impressed by the no-hold step sequence. It really showed the character of the team and how they present themselves."

When asked about her favorite part of the program, captain Eliana Marostica, who has now won consecutive U.S. titles as a member of this team, said it was actually the moment leading up to taking the ice because the team felt full of confidence.

"We are in control," she said. "We have been confident and focused all season, and that came out today with a perfect team skate. The hard work of the season just fell into place."

The Ice Mates are the first team to repeat as novice champions since Chicago Jazz did so in 2004 and 2005.

"I'm stunned," Marostica said. "It has been such a long time since this happened, I just can't believe we did it."

The Crystallettes, winners of the silver medal, was the only other team to reach 70 points, which they hit on the nose.

Their "Sorcerer's Apprentice" free skate included the highest-scoring element of the competition -- a Level 4 wheel worth 6.63 points (1.43 GOE). Meanwhile, team member Steffi Shenouda picked out the team's no-hold step sequence as her favorite part of the program.

"For me, it shows how far we have come this season," she said. "The footwork and positioning has improved so much all year and it was evident here today.

Team Braemar, the 2010 silver medalists, took home the bronze medal with a catchy skate to music from The Addams Family. The Skyliners made it three-for-three in the medals as they took home pewter after their juvenile team won gold and the intermediate team nabbed silver.