Synchronized skaters targeting a top-10 repeat at nationals
August 14, 2019 | Lynchburg, Va.
A 10th-place showing in the Collegiate Division and highest score in program history at the United States Synchronized Skating Championships last March in Michigan has set the bar for Liberty University's synchronized skating team for the 2019-20 season.
"The girls were able to recognize the improvements that they saw over the year and really finish off strong," Lady Flames Head Coach Tatiana Payne said. "It was a great performance and a great skate. Everybody left feeling really, really proud of themselves."
Payne will welcome a few strong incoming recruits and anticipates several walk-ons at tryouts set for Tuesday at 9:45 a.m. at the LaHaye Ice Center. She is also eager to see how her returning skaters have progressed in the offseason as they begin preparations for the 2020 U.S. Championships set for Feb. 26-29 in Providence, R.I.
"Immediately following nationals, we sent them out a list that we created at the end of the season detailing what we would like them to improve on and things we anticipate doing in the program for this upcoming year," Payne said.
Unless she lands a few more prospects at tryouts, Payne is focused on maintaining quality over quantity on her team this year.
"Small but mighty is our theme," she said. "Although this may be the smallest team we have had in a while, it's also going to be the most competitive as far as skating skills. We have a very, very high level of skating skill on our team this year, so that's really exciting as a coach to know that you get to work with some really elite athletes and really be creative with the choreography because of what they bring to the table, so we're really excited about that."
Fall semester competitions include the Boston Synchro Classic from Nov. 15-16 and Kalamazoo (Mich.) Kick-Off Classic from Nov. 22-23 before the Lady Flames travel to Albany, N.Y., for the USFS Eastern Synchro Skating Sectionals from Jan. 17-18.