Hannah R. Miller

(Michael Griggs / The Miami Student)

The synchronized skating team has a lot to be proud of after opening its season this weekend at the Dr. Richard Porter Classic.

The competition, held Dec. 5 and 6 in Ann Arbor, Mich., featured teams from all over the globe. The schedule had the ‘Hawks showcasing short programs Saturday and long programs Sunday. The junior and senior teams competed both days, while the collegiate team competed only in Sunday’s events.

“It went really well,” Head Coach Carla DeGirolamo said. “We had a lot of good skating, but we also have a lot of room to grow.”

The junior team took third Saturday in its part of the short competition, making it the top finisher from the United States with a score of 51.68. The senior team also finished third in its short competition with a score of 63.24.

All three RedHawk skating teams showcased their long programs Sunday. The collegiate team finished in first in its division with a score of 92.94, the junior team took fifth in their division with 75.44 points, and the senior team placed in third in their division with a score of 109.42.

According to senior skater Carli Jenkins, the weekend debut was a success.

“We received a lot of positive feedback after both programs and the crowd really got into them,” Jenkins said. “I think our strength was our presentation. Our teams put a lot of personality into our programs and that was definitely reflected in our scores.”

The senior team’s routine for the long program is pretty new, and DeGirolamo said they’ve worked hard to come as far as they have in just a few weeks of training.

“We really focused on going out and skating with personality, and skating from the heart and really showing the audience and the officials that their emotions are real,” DeGirolamo said. “I think they did a really good job with that.”

This weekend’s competition featured teams from both the United States and Canada. There were teams from California, Massachusetts, Michigan, Illinois and more. The weekend gave the ‘Hawks a preview of their competition for the rest of their season.

“These are pretty much all of the same U.S. teams we’ll see again at the national championships in March,” DeGirolamo said.

The head coach was proud of her skaters for their work in the classic both on and off the ice.

“For me the best part, I think more than anything else, was seeing all three teams coming together as one program, really supporting each other, and enjoying the process and seeing each other skate,” DeGirolamo said.

The RedHawk skaters performed well in terms of scoring, but according to their coach, they have some improvements to make. One of the biggest improvements needs to come in the technical aspects of their performance.

“They have a couple technical things to work on, but at this point in the season that’s a pretty common thing,” DeGirolamo said. “We need to just keep tightening up their performances, and their shapes, and cleaning everything up as we go through the season.”

Jenkins agreed.

“At this point in the season our weakness seems to be the technical score,” Jenkins said. “We had several elements downgraded from their base value which ultimately hurt our placement.”

Since this was the first competition of the season, the ‘Hawks came out strong. Their performances were solid, the three teams were working together and they know what they need to do to improve.

“I think they can hold their heads up high; they put in a lot of effort for their first time out,” DeGirolamo said.

The synchronized skating team is looking forward to its next competition. The team will travel Jan. 8 and 9 to Lowell, Mass., for the Junior World Qualifier.