Melissa Maykut, Staff Writer

After qualifying for the world championships with its second place finish at the national championship, the Miami University senior synchronized skating team will compete in the World Synchronized Skating Championships April 8 and 9 in Helsinki, Finland.

The RedHawks often have themed practices before going into a competition. There was an ugly dress theme, a costume theme and before going to Milan, Italy, for the Spring Cup Feb. 13, the team wore red, white and blue to practice for representing the United States.

At 9 a.m. Saturday morning, the 20 girls on the senior team were dressed in blue and white for their Finland-themed practice. The objective of Saturday’s practice was to clean up the details of the team’s two programs before leaving for Finland Monday morning.

Sixteen girls skated through their long program themed “Hypnotized in a Dream,” as four extras skated behind the main group. The RedHawks skated with poise and power as the intensity of the music increased. The music was suddenly cut off. The team stopped gliding across the ice and returned to the center where coach Carla DeGirolamo was waiting.

Coach DeGirolamo focused on an arm movement that could be cleaned up and improved, then sent the girls back out onto the ice to practice before beginning the music again.

The goal these past few weeks has been to make sure everyone’s body positions are the same, make sure the counts are sharp and that the team’s skating is clean and synchronized.

“We’ve been making sure the girls are skating with full intensity and full activation every time they skate so that when they go out to compete it’s just business as usual,” DeGirolamo said.

Fifteen of the 20 girls on the senior team will compete in worlds for the first time in their skating careers, but rather than be nervous, the girls are excited and bonding over the experience.

It is sophomore Aziza Alaoui and senior Amanda Zanotelli’s first time competing at worlds. For them, the excitement and anticipation for worlds has just been building over the last couple of weeks.

“At nationals we put out two really great skates and the past month we’ve just been pushing just that little bit further to make little improvements on small things and rack up a couple more points,” Aziza said. “It’s just been kind of like putting the icing on the cake.”

Senior Jana Fonda is one of five girls on the team who has skated at worlds in the past. This season being her third trip to worlds, Fonda is considered a veteran on the senior team.

“I’m expecting to show that we’re one of the top teams that deserves to be at this competition and that’s how it should be,” Fonda said.

The senior team will get time to practice Wednesday and Thursday in Finland and will begin competition on Friday.

“I know the team is ready,” DeGirolamo said. “I know they are going to go out and skate even better than they did at nationals, which I thought was outstanding, so I think as long as they go out and do what they’ve been doing, they will represent Miami and the United States well.”