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Esprit de Corps take gold in masters, adults

Hayden Recreation Center brings medal total to five

(Paul Harvath)

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By Renee Felton, special to icenetwork.com
(03/05/2011) - Esprit de Corps went 2-for-2 in the masters and adults divisions to bring Hayden Recreation Centre's medal count to five.

The masters team returned to the podium for the first time since 2008, jumping past Allegro! and DC EDGE for the title. They did so by earning eight of nine first place votes from the panel of judges under the 6.0 system.

Skating to the music of Miss Saigon, the team put on a confident show in their fifth competition of the season.

"Our goal was to put out a nice calm package with a lot of expression," she said. "They did that beautifully. It was a great skate."

Allegro! team member Christopher Klaft's claim that, "We can put an exclamation point on that one!" was met with cheers from his teammates as they left the ice following their Tango-inspired free skate.

Though they fell just shy of winning consecutive U.S. titles, coach Carrie Brown acknowledged that at this level, it's more about the experience.

"We are privileged to have this opportunity," she said. "I'm so proud of what this team has accomplished and that they don't take any of this for granted. We love synchronized skating and are honored to compete."

"It's not nationals if I don't cry," mused a member of DC EDGE as she swiped at her eyes before the team's official photo. They were tears of joy as she and her teammates the celebrated the bronze medal.

"This is a happy moment for us," coach Jennifer DiSimone said. "The skaters had a lot of energy out there and I think it's obvious they enjoyed themselves."

The Louisville River Stars, from Shelbyvilly, Ky., rounded out the top four.

The Esprit de Corps adult team narrowly edged the Western Michigan University Alumni to win consecutive championships. They were also joined on the podium by bronze medalists the Starlights and Team Delaware in fourth place.

As the only team to receive 60 points, they earned 60.24, they demonstrated speed and strength in their Evita free skate.

"This was a fun, quirky routine," team member Melanie Barton said. "We dove right in at the beginning of the season and were doing the full program within six weeks of starting to choreograph."

Western Michigan won their first medal since earning bronze in 2007. With a cheering section that included school mascot Buster Bronco, the alumni tallied the highest program components score (24.93 of 59.82 points) for their program to the music of KISS.

"That was a strong program demonstrating deep edges and speed," said coach and team member Leslie Graham. "Our goal was to improve from Midwesterns. We beat that score by three points so we couldn't be more excited."

The Starlights, from the Skokie Valley Skating Club, and Team Delaware, representing the University of Delware Figure Skating Club, finished in third and fourth places, respectively.