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Synchronized skating wins 11th straight national title

By Jack Reyering, The Miami Student

Miami University collegiate synchronized skating won its 11th consecutive title Saturday at the U.S. National Championships in Providence, Rhode Island The title is the team's 17th overall.

The senior team placed second, earning the right to represent the United States in the International Skating Union World Championships this spring. Miami is one of three teams to contend for the U.S.

Head coach Carla DeGirolama was proud of each teams' performances.

"I thought all three teams did an outstanding job this weekend," DeGirolama said. "We had goals coming in of really being aggressive and attacking the performances and leaving everything out on the ice, and I think all three teams accomplished that this weekend."

The collegiate team won with a 94.12 score, besting second place University of Michigan by 8.43 points.

Senior captain Melissa Marches, who has achieved four consecutive titles with the collegiate team, credited the high degree of difficulty in the RedHawks' routine as a factor that set them apart.

"Performance-wise, we were really able to put on a show," Marchese said. "I also think technically we went for the most difficult elements and had the highest technical score as well."

Despite the group's consistent accomplishments, DeGirolama believes they must focus on regrouping and moving forward.

"It's great to celebrate your successes," DeGirolama said, "But then right away we turn around and think about what are we going to do next time. How are we going to do this better so that we can continue to stay on top?"

She also acknowledged the dedication and attitude of the skaters.

"It's an incredible honor to be able to win a championship, let alone 11 championships in a row," DeGirolama said. "I think that's really a testament to the athletes and the program, that we are able to maintain that high standard of excellence."

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Most of the seniors skated for the last time in competition this weekend, and winning the title was a memorable way to finish their college careers.

"Being with each other for four years and with the underclassmen was a great experience to share," Marchese said. "I think we really left our skating careers on a high note."

Though the collegiate and junior teams' seasons end after nationals, the senior team's season continues at the ISU World Championships.

"It really is a huge honor," DeGirolama said. "As an athlete, there is nothing better than being able to represent your school and to also represent your country."

The team will prepare for the competition during the next month.

"We definitely have a lot more work to do to make sure that everything is sharp and clean," DeGirolama said. "We will make little changes to the program to freshen them up before we leave for the next event. But we're really just fine-tuning everything that we have, getting it really consistent and solid for that peak performance at the pinnacle of our competition season."

The ISU World Championship is April 10-11 in Hamilton, Ontario.