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Miami University makes it seven straight titles

Redhawks score history-making gold medal

Miami University made history with their seventh collegiate title in a row.
Miami University made history with their seventh collegiate title in a row. (Paul Harvath)

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By Renee Felton, special to icenetwork.com
(03/05/2011) - Miami University's win Saturday night in the Collegiate competition will go down in the record books. The RedHawks are the only team in the history of American synchronized skating to win seven straight championships. The streak started in 2005, and Miami now owns 13 gold medals in this division.

Co-captain Sarah Brown attributes the success to hard work and discipline. They practice every day as a team, and still find time to balance school, other activities and individual ice time.

"We work well together," she said. "This championship is especially exciting because we set a record. Our goal at the beginning of the season was to win our seventh. It's always satisfying to reach our goals."

The audience's response to Miami's "Brazilian Carnival" was...loud. The Citizens Business Bank Arena erupted when the team carried out a difficult two-circle intersection.

"At the beginning of the season, it was pretty tricky," coach Carla DeGirolamo laughed. "The effect has been smooth ever since. We definitely included it in the program to benefit the crowd."

Miami's win came by 11 points over silver medalists Michigan State. Miami totaled 96.16 points, including 49.03 on program components, while Michigan State earned 85.17. In third place was the University of Michigan with 83.96 points.

Michigan State channeled Sherlock Holmes and found a silver medal.

The Spartans were the only skaters to successfully perform a Level 4 intersection and earn a positive grade of execution (GOE). The angled intersection is the only in synchronized skating that can earn a level four. While three other teams received credit for the move, Michigan State saw a 0.86 GOE while the other squads were in the negative.

"There is a lot of trust in this element because you basically enter it blind," co-captain Tracey Daniels explained. "We have had to work really hard on the element this year. It has only been in the last few weeks that we found the right combination of steps to let everyone get through safely every time."

Michigan's captain, Jackie Fiscus, who has 13 years of synchronized skating experience, called their "Cabaret" free skate the favorite program of her career.

"Hands down, it's my favorite," Fiscus emphasized. "I love the choreography; I sing along when we are in practice. It's easy and fun to perform."

Their program component score of 47.38 was just one-and-a-half points less than that of the gold medalists. Technically, the highlight was a Level 4 circle that was the only element to earn a grade of execution of 1.00.