Synchronized Skating National Champions

Skaters wrapped in the flag of the United States.

The Skyliners Synchronized Skating Team capped its 17th season with history-making results at the 2018 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships last month in Portland, OR. For the first time, all five Skyliners qualifying lines took either gold or silver medals competing against the best skating teams in the nation. The Junior and Novice line skaters were crowned the 2018 National Champions, and the Senior, Intermediate and Juvenile line skaters earned their spots on the podium with the silver medal. No other team in those five divisions had a better overall result than Skyliners.

Amie Adjakaple, 15, from Kings Point in Great Neck, and Alyssa Politoski, 16, and Tracy Wang, 15, both from Manhasset, took home gold medals from the national event, defending both their teams’ 2017 championship titles. Between them the three girls have been skating with Skyliners for five consecutive seasons and have been crowned the gold medalists in four out of five national championships, winning silver in the other.

“I am so thankful to be part of such an amazing sport where I can learn and make friends with a fantastic group of girls. For me, this season was a season of growth, and when I stepped on that ice at Nationals, I felt supported and happy to be skating with my teammates. We were all so excited for our last skate together,” said Tracy Wang. “We skated our best and won the title. It was a wonderful experience ending the season with a bang.”

Adjakaple and Wang skate on Skyliners’ Novice Line while Politoski skates on the group’s Junior Line. Team practice schedules for the girls consist of, weekly, 10 hours of on- and off-ice training in Westchester and Monsey, NY, and Stamford, CT. In addition, individual practice time and lessons in figure skating and ice dance is done locally at the Andrew Stergiopoulos ice rink; Parkwood Sports Complex in Great Neck; Iceland in New Hyde Park; and World Ice Arena in Flushing. Adjakaple and Wang earned this year’s National Championship title with their best skate of the season, set to music from The Phantom of the Opera. Their rousing program earned them a season high score of 72.11.

“It felt exhilarating,” said Adjakaple. “Everything that my team worked so hard for came true. I couldn’t ask for a better season.”

Politoski’s Junior Line, which must perform both a short and long program, featured an emotional short program set to “You and I” by the Tenors, and a dramatic “Black Swan” long program which enthralled audiences and resulted in a combined high score of 175.69 at Nationals to take the gold.

“This has been an amazing season for Skyliners’ Junior, and we have a lot of metal hardware to show for the effort. This year we placed first in every U.S. competition and took one gold and one silver medal on the international stage. At Nationals, we were determined to skate our all-time best to defend our national title, and we did,” said Politoski. “Our team work made the dream work.”

Skyliners Senior Line’s “I Was Here” short program and “Cleopatra” long program showcased the skaters’ athleticism, power and grace. The judges rewarded their efforts with a season high combined score of 185.86. In addition, the senior skaters and coach Josh Babb won the Professional Skaters Association Best Performance Award for their elegant and powerful “Cleopatra” skate.

“It’s been a record year for Skyliners,” said Josh Babb, Skyliners head coach and director of synchronized skating. “As our team grows, so do our accomplishments. Our skaters and coaches work extremely hard, and their efforts have really paid off this year.”

After a stellar season, the Skyliners Junior and Senior lines have also been named to represent the United States at the upcoming World Synchronized Skating Championships. For Skyliners Junior, their eighth appearance at Worlds will be in Zagreb, Croatia, this month. And for Skyliners Senior, their first World Championship appearance ever will be in Stockholm, Sweden, in April.

The Skyliners Synchronized Skating Team was established in 2001 by a group of parents who wanted to create the most competitive synchronized skating club in the tri-state area. In that first year, the team had three lines. Over the last 17 years, Skyliners has grown into one of the top synchronized skating teams in the country, now with 12 competitive lines and 220-plus skaters ranging in age from 5 to 24. While most of the skaters reside in the Tri-state area, Skyliners also draws members from Massachusetts, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. The tremendous growth and success of the team is attributed to the dedicated athletes, talented coaches and devoted board members and parent volunteers who make Skyliners possible season after season.

Synchronized skating consists of eight to 20 highly skilled athletes performing a program on ice together, moving as one flowing unit. It is characterized by teamwork, speed, intricate formations and challenging step sequences. There are approximately 600 synchronized teams and nearly 5,000 synchronized skaters in the U.S. alone, with elite competitions at both the national and international level. Although not currently an Olympic sport, there is significant movement toward including it at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games.

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