Over the past weekend, 179 teams came from all over the United States to compete at the 21st annual Dr. Richard Porter Synchronized Classic in Ann Arbor, Michigan at the Ice Cube. Year after year, Porter ranks in as the biggest non-qualifying competition of the season. Ann Arbor’s quaint college town charm welcomes teams near and far to one of the most exciting events in American synchronized skating.
The Senior division kicked off the competition Friday afternoon with the Short Program Event. Many strong competitors were included in Friday’s Short Program lineup. Miami Senior Varsity from Miami University, Skyliners from The Skating Club of New York, and Crystallettes Senior from Dearborn FSC, just to name a few.
Skating first in the Senior event was Miami University Senior Varsity, skating in black and red 50s style dresses to the « Right Amount of Wrong » by Imelda May. Miami’s clean and fast skate to their flirtatious music earned them the highest program component score of the day and an overall segment score of 54.50. Skating next was Miami Senior Varsity’s sister team, Miami University Junior Varsity. This is the second competition Miami JV has skated in the Senior division this season after had been moved up from the Junior division to Senior. Miami Senior Varsity cheered them on from the sidelines as they skated to Miley Cyrus’s « Girls Just Wanna Have Fun ».
Team del Sol from the San Diego FSC was third to skate in the event. They wore hot pink dresses and skated to « Americano » by Lady Gaga. Del Sol is also the only team with two males on their starting line this season, which has not been seen in American Senior synchro skating thus far. Team del Sol skated a clean short program, and earned 45.50.
The last team to skate in the first Short Program flight was Skyliners Senior, who skated to a slow and pretty version of « California Dreamin » by Sia. They had one fall in a transition, but were able to recover with their strong skating skills, flow and speed, which earned them the third highest Program Component score of the day and a total score of 50.82.
Team Excel from the Skating Club of Boston started of the second flight of the Short Program Event. In red dresses, they skated to « Human » by Christina Perri. There were some unfortunate falls throughout their skate, which earned them a total segment score of 26.92.
Adrian College Senior from Adrian, Michigan took the ice in black dresses with red and orange feathers on the back, which went with their phoenix program to the song « Rise ». Adrian’s dynamic music complemented the speed they had throughout their program earning them a clean skate and the second highest technical score of the day with a total segment score of 50.80.
The second team to come from California was California Gold from the All Year Figure Skating Club. They took the ice in black and white dresses and skated to a fun and upbeat Black Eyed Peas medley. With one deduction, they earned a total segment score of 35.73 and an overall 6th place finish for the short program.
The last team to skate was the Crystallettes from Dearborn, Michigan. Living up to their team name, the Crystallettes did not disappoint and skated out in beautifully crystalized blue dresses. They skated to a powerful version of « Lean on Me ». Their performance was just as intense as their music, which earned them an overall segment score of 57.94 and 1st place in the Short Program event. Crystallettes made close to a 3 point improvement in their SP score from their skate two weeks prior at the Kick Off Classic in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
The next day, the competition was fully in action with Novice, Adult, and Junior Free Skate. The highly anticipated Senior Free Skate event was the last to take the ice Saturday night. Audience members, judges, skaters, and coaches were all excited to see the new requirement added to the Senior division, a second group lift.
The first team to skate was Team Excel. In pretty black dresses and fingerless gloves, their music started out intense but then transitioned in to a slow song « Rise Up » by Andra Day. Team Excel was the only team to attempt the one hand feature on their second lift. They earned a total segment score of 63.28 and an overall score of 90.20.
Miami Jr. Varsity took the ice in orange and red dresses that complemented their program to a sassy Santana medley. They skated a clean program and earned 66.30 points for a total overall score of 95.86.
Team del Sol Senior was next to skate in the Free Program event. They skated in red and black Latin dress that went well with their « Mask of Zorro » theme. For their second lift, they attempted three well executed split lifts with the difficult entry and exit feature. In addition to other American teams this season, Del Sol highlighted some of their individual skater talents by adding several axels and impressive spins into their transitions. They received a segment sore of 84.36, with a combined score of 129.86
The last team to skate in the first flight for the Free Skate event was California Gold. They skated to songs from the movie, « The Haunted Mansion ». Their choreography complimented well to the theme from start to finish. With one fall, their segment score was a 67.90, and an overall total of 103.68.
Adrian College was the first team to take the ice for the second flight of the event. After starting out the season consistently strong, Adrian was a highly anticipated team to watch that night. The Bulldogs skated to songs from the musical, « Evita » in dark maroon dresses. They were one of three teams this competition to execute Team Surprise’s famous « Clown » lift, which they performed quite well with a difficult exit feature. During their transition into their second lift, there were two falls that affected one lift to get in the air at the correct timing, however the two skaters recovered quickly and still attempted the split lift with rotation a couple seconds after the rest of the team. They received a total combined score of 135.30 and a 4th place overall finish.
Three teams left to skate, Miami Sr. Varsity was next to take the ice. The RedHawks wore pretty teal dresses to go with their « Samson et Dalila » theme. Their opening was a dance piece that showed off their unison and interpretation to the music. For their first lift, they lifted their flyers into a difficult side plank position. Miami had clean and precise transitions, including one with throw axels. They had one fall during their no hold element, but held out strong with the second highest technical element score and program component score of the night and an overall score of 157.40.
After the excitement over their 1st place finish from the short the night before, Crystallettes were looking to finish strong with their free program. Skating to the soundtrack from the movie « Sorcerer’s Apprentice », the Crystallettes wore a gorgeous dark green dress, which were no less sparkly (if not more) from their dress in the short. Right from the beginning they skated with speed into pair pivots and pair camel spins. Their first lift was a split lift with the difficult entry and exit feature. Throughout the program, their transitions and elements were packed with choreography, which set them apart from their competitors. They earned the highest score in both, technical and program component with the total score of 167.22 and the gold medal.
Last, but not least to skate was Skyliners Senior. They took the ice in beautiful royal blue dresses while paying tribute to Whitney Houston by skating to some of her most famous songs. Their program had a lot of fun and dance choreography, which led them to have the third highest program component score. Skyliners were the only team to attempt a clown lift into a split lift for one of their lift requirements. Other than two falls in the no hold element, they skated well, and earned a total score of 146.90 and the bronze medal.
Dr. Richard Porter Synchronized Classic 2016 was another competition for the books. For some, it was their first « Porter », for others it was one that was added to a list of memories at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube. Reuniting with friends from other teams and sharing the moments of success from current teammates separates this competition from the others. International and Sectional season is next for these American teams! Can't wait to watch their seasons unfold from here.