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Haydenettes, Miami University Head to Canada for the 2007 World Synchronized Skating ChampionshipsBy Emily Feltes
Photo by Paul Harvath
(3/27/07) - The Haydenettes and Miami University, the recently crowned U.S. World Team members, head to London, Ontario, Canada, this week for the 2007 World Synchronized Skating Championships. The teams qualified for the event at the 2007 U.S. Synchronized Team Skating Championships held in Colorado Springs, Colo., with the Haydenettes squeezing past Miami by less than two points to capture the gold.
More than 400 skaters will take the ice at John Labatt Centre for two days of heated competition beginning with the short program on Friday, March 30 and culminating with the free skate and awards presentation Saturday afternoon.
The U.S. Team will battle the world's best teams from 15 countries, including Finland, Sweden, Canada, Russia, Australia, Austria, Croatia, France, Britain, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Switzerland and the Czech Republic.
Leading contenders include the Finnish teams of Marigold Ice Unity and Team Unique, which earned 200.48 and 196.58 points, respectively, at their national championships. Also in the running for a medal will be Team Surprise of Sweden, which earned a personal-best score of 191.29 points this season.
The Haydenettes and Miami have high hopes going into the World Championships. Both teams are medal contenders, earning 201.04 and 199.56 points, respectively, at the 2007 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships.
“The Haydenettes are doing great and are ready to go,” head coach Saga Krantz said. “Without a doubt, we are one big family now and are ready to put our hearts and souls out there. We dream about the personal-best score and skate for both days and, who knows, maybe that could even be enough for medaling. Like they say, if you can dream it, you can achieve it.”
The Haydenettes made a strong showing this season, reclaiming the gold medal at the U.S. Championships. They were able to maintain their lead after the short program even though half the team was sick with the stomach flu. They also earned fourth place at the 2007 Prague Cup.
Miami also charged through an impressive season, battling fiercely at the 2007 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships for its silver medal and winning the free skate with an impressive performance. Miami took home silver in Milan at the 2007 Spring Cup and participated in the World University Games in Torino, Italy, where they placed fourth.
“We are very excited to be going into the World Championships, and we'd like to improve our standing from last year,” Miami head coach Vicki Korn said. “Having learned some valuable lessons at the U.S. Championships, we have tweaked our programs to get the maximum points out of each element. We feel we have nothing to lose at this point and everything to gain.”
Miami's skaters are confident and in high spirits going into the World Championships.
“This is by far the best team I have ever skated with. We actually have a close chance of making it to the podium, which is amazing on many levels. Not only to bring home a new title to our university but to be the first U.S. team on the podium – that would be unforgettable,” Miami skater Rachael Funk said. “We have become a threat to other international teams and plan to make some waves.”
Teammate Becky Search agrees.
“Our bodies are well rested, and we are pumped to compete our programs for the final time this year,” she said. “This will be an emotional skate for a lot of us, considering there are nine graduating seniors. Our team has put so much effort, time and energy into everything we have done, and we are really looking forward to it all coming together at the World Championships.”
Canada last hosted the event in 2003, when it welcomed teams to Ottawa. That year, the Haydenettes and Miami placed fifth and ninth, respectively. Synchronized skating in the United States has blossomed since then, with Miami placing just off the podium last year, earning fourth place with 178.79 points. The Haydenettes placed seventh last year with 171.35 points.
The number of entries for each country at the World Synchronized Skating Championships is based on results from the previous year. The U.S. is one of five countries that qualified two teams, the others being Finland, Sweden, Russia and Canada.
The John Labatt Centre is a multipurpose facility which caters to sporting and entertainment events. It was built in 2002, and has supported the rehabilitation of London's downtown. The Western Fair Sports Centre, also in London, serves as the practice venue for the event.