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Aces of synchro Haydenettes hit 21 senior titles

Miami University snags silver, earns spot on world team; Bronze goes to Crystallettes

The Haydenettes won their fourth straight U.S. senior title in Plymouth, Mich.
The Haydenettes won their fourth straight U.S. senior title in Plymouth, Mich. (Jay Adeff)

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By Renee Felton, special to icenetwork.com
(03/02/2013) - Black jack!

The Haydenettes hit lucky number 21 as they won the U.S. title in grand fashion at the 2013 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships in Plymouth, Mich. With the win, the Haydenettes earned the opportunity to compete at the 2013 World Synchronized Skating Championships, which will take place in Boston, just down the street from their hometown, in early April.

"When we skated in Colorado Springs, Colo., that was one thing, but to be in our own city is going to be enormous," team member Jenna Longo said. "It's been in the back of our heads the whole year.

"We knew the caliber of skating was going to be very tough at this nationals," she continued. "We are excited to perform for our close family and friends who will be there to see us skate at that world level, which many have never seen before."

Based out of Lexington, Mass., a 30-minute drive from Boston, the Haydenettes, in addition to winning their 21st overall title, took home their fourth straight U.S. gold medal. After an impressive short program to Jay-Z's "Run this Town" gave them an eight-point advantage heading into the free skate, the Haydenettes were cautiously confident for their Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights program.

The program turned in a record score of 132.85 points en route to a grand total of 206.33. Each of the 10 elements in the free skate received positive grades of execution (GOEs), and the program-opening Level 4 block netted 8.07 points. It was one of four elements that earned seven-plus points.

Longtime coach Saga Krantz, while proud of her team's efforts at the U.S. Synchronized Championships, acknowledged the work to be done between now and worlds.

"Today's program was very together, and they worked as a team extremely well," she said, before adding, "We have a lot to work on in our program. There are some elements that may have not gotten called that we will need to keep improving. There is going to be enough work to put our minds into, so the fact that it's a home worlds won't take over."

Miami University had reason to celebrate as they accomplished the season-long goal of reclaiming their spot on the world team after a one-year layoff. After the short program, coach Carla De Girolamo acknowledged her team wanted to make the world team, especially in a year when the U.S. is hosting the event. The nine-time world competitors have not participated in a USA-hosted event.

After her team totaled 125.54 points for their 1920s-themed free skate and the realization occurred that her team would be named to the world squad, DeGirolamo was nearly at a loss for words.

"It feels great," she said. "I'm just thrilled. I'm thrilled for the skaters. I don't have words. I'm just really, really happy for them."

In the midst of celebrating a job well done to the musical stylings of Celine Dion in one of the Compuware Arena's many locker rooms, team member Taylor Walker expressed her elation at making the world team.

"It feels awesome," she said, as her teammates danced and hugged. "It's great to know we are going back to worlds. We work so hard and are really excited. To represent our country in our country is going to be huge; we can't wait."

The United States is set to host its third World Synchronized Skating Championships from April 3-6 at Agganis Arena on the campus of Boston University. The U.S. most recently held the 2010 championships in Colorado Springs, Colo. The inaugural event was held in Minneapolis in 2000.

The Crystallettes won bronze with a total score of 176.96 points. They were excited to perform their vamp-themed free skate, and didn't disappoint, turning in a crowd pleasing number that included a Level 4 moves in the field sequence.

"We gave it all we got," team member Katilyn Peterson said. "Unfortunately, we didn't get the result we wanted, but one skate does not define our season, and we are proud of the season and all the accomplishments we've earned."