Australia lived its State Championships in New South Wales
Majestic Ice Basic Novice - ‘Madagascar’ / Credits: Steve Aird
As the qualifier event for the Australian Figure Skating Championships, the NSW State Championships are an important competition in the synchro calendar. The top four teams from each division will automatically qualify for Nationals, which will be held in Sydney at the beginning of December.
For the first time, States was held at Erina Ice Arena on the Central Coast of NSW. This unexpected change of venue injected a fresh sense of excitement and anticipation in the competition that also opened up our sport to a new crowd. The rink’s placement inside a popular shopping centre gave the local shoppers a surprise as they stood and watched in confusion as teams ran through their off-ice activities in full view of the public. There were also a substantial number of locals with their faces pressed up against the glass of the viewing area outside the rink eagerly watching the programs on the ice throughout the afternoon. This increase in public attention can only serve to raise awareness for our sport, which is never a bad thing.
Advanced Adult opened the competition, with Revolution scoring 29.47 points for their program, an unfortunate 2.84-point decrease from their first competition due to some minor errors. However, as there was only one team competing in this division, Revolution still secured the gold medal.
Senior skated their Short Program next, and Team Unity was also unchallenged as the only team in their division. The two boys in the program were sporting classy, new grey tops that complemented both the girls’ dresses and the evocative music they skated to: Call Out My Name by The Weeknd. Unfortunately, due to some issues with the spread eagles in the moves element, Team Unity only scored 31.37 for their short program.
This was followed by the Junior Short Programs, which were very competitive. Southern Sky skated first and demonstrated their technical strength through their clean pivoting block being called at a Level 2. However, they suffered two falls and had their intersection only called as an I1+pi1, which ultimately resulted in their second-place finish. Majestic Ice presented their energetic Hollywood Wiz next, with their opening spins being called at a Level 3. Despite one minor fall in the no-hold element, the team delivered a clean and well executed skate that pulled them into the lead with higher program component scores and technical segment scores, resulting in an overall lead of 2.29 points.
After an ice resurface, Basic Novice was next to take the ice. Majestic Ice opened the division, with a fun and choreographic program to the soundtrack of Madagascar. A stunning creative intersection featuring unsupported dips took the crowd’s breath away, but unfortunately a badly-timed fall in the travelling wheel pushed the top spot just out of their reach and they finished with a bronze medal around their necks with 25.09 points. Southern Sky Erina skated next, with a significantly re-worked ‘Hairspray’ program that the skaters were not quite used to yet, resulting in two falls and some elements not being called. While their program shows much promise for the future, and some very clean flip jumps, they ultimately ended up in fourth place with 21.21 points. Southern Sky Hills skated a clean program, featuring an impressive highlighted catchfoot spin in the centre of a circle, which secured them the top spot on the podium with a very commendable 29.83 points. Eclipse skated last in the Basic Novice division. This was their first season competing in an IJS division and they blew away all expectations with their Beetlejuice program and black-and-white striped dresses, finishing their first ever state championships with a silver medal, beating the third place team by a mere 0.39 points.
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Following Basic Novice was Mixed Age, with four teams competing for a spot on the podium. Ice reflections skated third and just edged into the lead with their very interpretive and enjoyable program to ‘The Greatest Showman’, which showed significant improvements since the first competition of the season two weeks ago, earning them 35.33 points. Missing out on the gold by just 0.22 points was Majestic Ice, who’s lively program was skated to a medley of Latin beats. Their smooth transitions and changes of configurations boosted their program component score but two unfortunate falls in the final seconds of the program saw them claim second place. The bronze medal went to Southern Sky and their Mulan program, which incorporated an exciting group spin in the middle of an artistic circle element. This earned them 32.63 points. Revolution rounded out the group of four on 27.83 points. Last competition, this team competed in a myriad of different dresses from previous seasons and competitions. However, today they skated out on the ice looking unified in classy, black dresses adorned with crystals and silver headpieces to match.
Advanced Novice took to the ice next. Southern Sky skated their ‘Dirty Dancing’ program with lots of energy, displaying a spectacular, collapsing creative intersection complete with choreographic arms and supported dips. However, a fall in the travelling wheel and no-hold element ultimately resulted in their second-place finish. Majestic Ice competed second and delivered precise and interpretive choreography to the soundtrack from ‘Rio 2’. An intricate no-hold element with clean steps made up for a minor fall in the artistic circle and saw their colourful dresses take the lead by 2.19 points.
At the opposite end of the age spectrum, Adult competed next. Dominoes pulled in front by a slight 0.72 points with their beautiful, gradient-blue dresses and choreography to the music from ‘Romeo and Juliet’. A slow but steady pivoting block lead into an artistic circle that featured a beautiful backspin in the centre. Coming in a near close second was Revolution, with their haunting music and dresses to match. A solid line element was backed up by their creepy choreography, but it wasn’t quite enough to push them into first place.
Finally, the Senior free program had come. The crowd erupted with cheers as Team Unity stepped onto the ice. This was the first time they were showing off their free program dresses and they looked stunning. The gradient of brown to tan contrasted with the crystals to create a truly eye-catching garment. The strong start with the artistic circle, choreographed to perfection with the music of ‘Romeo and Juliet’, lead into flawlessly executed group lifts that sent the crowd wild. A discrete fall in the twizzle element and a knee-assisted exit out of the death spirals detracted a little from an otherwise amazing program with an effortless angled intersection and very emotional ending sequence. This gave Team Unity a total segment score of 70.22.
The final competition of the night was the Junior free programs. As the silver medallists in the short, Southern Sky skated first. They opened their ‘Wings’ program with impressive partner-assisted butterfly kicks and a group vault. Their Upright Spiral 135 pivots were synchronised nicely, and their transitions were very innovative, however the team ran into a few technical issues when their wheel was called as a base and a minor fall in a transition ultimately secured their second-place finish. Majestic Ice was the final team to skate and the crowd erupted in applause as they set their positions. Their powerful choreography to ‘The Greatest Showman’ and strong skating skills created a stunning program, highlighted by strong angled and creative intersections. An unfortunate fall occurred on the exit of a death spiral, but the superior program component score ensured that they were awarded the gold medal, finishing with a total of 85.80 points, a double-digit improvement from last competition.
This wrapped up the NSW State Championships. Teams now have 9 weeks of hard training until the Australian Figure Skating Championships which will be held in Sydney from the 1st of December.