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    December 3, 2022 Lynchburg, Va. RSS |

    With final exams fast approaching, and Christmas less than a month away, members of Liberty University’s synchronized skating team will have the opportunity to get away to share some holiday cheer in New York City before performing their new routine in competition for the first time at Saturday’s Terry Conners Open Synchronized Skating competition in Connecticut.

    The nine skaters will travel with first-year Head Coach Hannah Pulley and Assistant Coach Haley Gram, both former Lady Flames synchro team members. They will arrive at Rockefeller Center on Thursday night, the night after the 90th annual lighting of New York City’s iconic Christmas tree, and spend free time shopping and having a team dinner at a downtown restaurant.

    On Friday morning, the team will attend an 11 a.m. performance of the Christmas Spectacular synchronized skating show by the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall before skating for fun at The Rink, the centerpiece of the outdoor Bryant Park Winter Village, on Friday afternoon. The team will then make the two-hour trip to Terry Conners Rink at Cove Island Park in Stamford, Conn., in time for Saturday’s competition.

    The Lady Flames perform to a ‘Warrior’ theme that brings out their artistic flair and bold faith.

    Six of the nine travel team members are freshmen newcomers, giving the program a brand new look under the direction of the new coaching staff — Caroline Colson, Ella Micalizzi, Ellie Haynes, Isabelle Thompson, and Lauren Toone, as well as alternate Halli Gravely, who is currently sidelined by injury.

    The remaining three are returning skaters, senior captain Alecia Bernau, senior Hailey Jordan, and junior Jacalyn Hagar, who are all coordinators who helped Pulley and Gram with the choreography.

    The team shined in an exhibition performance between periods of the Flames’ ACHA Division I men’s hockey game against Stony Brook on Nov. 5 at the LaHaye Ice Center.

    “They did skate very well at the hockey game, which allowed them to perform in front of a larger audience before their first competition in front of judges,” Pulley said.

    The competition will be scored on a 6.0 judging system for the Open Collegiate division that the Lady Flames will be in that will also include Princeton and Mirror Images, made up of skaters from multiple colleges and universities in the Northeast.

    Pulley said founding Head Coach Tatiana Payne has been instrumental in mentoring her throughout the semester.

    “She has been a ton of help to myself, being the new head coach, as well as helping with the dress designing and heading up the music,” Pulley said.

    The theme of the 2 minute, 28 second routine is “Warrior,” and features the songs “Warriors” by League of Legends with 2WEI and Edda Hayes and “Warrior (Stand up)” by Hidden Citizens and Rayelle.

    Both are high-energy selections that bring out the skaters’ artistic flair.

    “They are able to skate powerfully through the program with the music and choreography that allows them to express themselves through their facial expressions and their skating movement,” Pulley said. “We are trying to be like warriors on the ice, strong and bold and powerful.”

    Pulley compared the spiritual preparation for performing the routine to putting on the armor of God and walking into a battle. She requires her skaters to sport their Liberty apparel wherever they go to open witnessing opportunities to share the Gospel with passersby and competitors, alike.

    By Ted Allen/Staff Writer