After one of the practice sessions, our team went outside to enjoy the snow.
After one of the practice sessions, our team went outside to enjoy the snow.
Photo Credit: Jodi Fechtel/Used with Permission

Academy girls participate in synchronized skating sectional competition

On January 19th, 2024, Senior Staff Writer Danica Lothrop and I traveled to Durham, New Hampshire to compete in this year’s Eastern Synchronized Skating Sectional competition. Last year, I wrote another article on Sectionals, but for a little background: “Synchronized skating consists of a team of around 8 to 20 skaters performing footwork and various skating elements in perfect unison. Skating elements are judged on composition, presentation, and skating skills. Routines also must include specific requirements at each level of competition”.

Our club, Suncoast Skating, has grown from one team to three competitive teams since last year, and all three competed at Sectionals. Suncoast Skating is based in Wesley Chapel at Advent Health Center Ice. We have been practicing there every Saturday evening since the beginning of August, one month earlier than our season started in October of last year.

This year, our routine theme was criminals. We combined Jailhouse Rock, Rob a Bank, and Bad Guy to create the music for our performance, and had dresses based on an inmate’s uniform to fit our theme. Our choreography even included gun hand movements to add to the felonious vibe.

While most of the team skipped school early Thursday morning to fly into Boston, which was the nearest airport to Durham, I finished the school day and took a later flight along with two other friends on my team who were not willing to compromise school time. We landed in Boston at 9:00 p.m. and it was about an hour’s drive to the hotel. The next morning we had to wake up for official practice ice, where we ran through our routine a few times at the rink where we would compete the next day. After our practice ice, I went out to breakfast at The Friendly Toast, which was near our hotel, did some homework so I wouldn’t be behind when I got back to school, and later, we had unofficial practice ice at another ice rink.

The next day was competition day. We had to wake up around 5:00am, so we could do hair and makeup. We were on the bus and ready to compete by 6:30. When we got to the rink, we were all feeling ready to compete. Before getting on the ice, we are allotted a ten-minute warm-up to stretch and get ready to skate. Before we knew it, we were on the ice. We skated a couple of laps before skating over to our coaches for some last-minute instruction. We stood shivering in our outfits and tried to pay attention to our coach, the anxiety of competing was getting to all of us, but thankfully our coach gave us a few words of encouragement, and then we were ready.

Our routine was over before I even knew it. We had a clean skate, and we were all feeling really happy with how we performed. We did not end up placing, but we improved our score dramatically from the last competition, so we were satisfied with our results.

The next day, we all filed onto the bus for the last time to be taken back to the Boston airport. We were tired from competing and ready to get out of the 12-degree weather and make it back home to Tampa.

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