Montclair Residents Win Medals with Synchronized Skating Team Nationals

Skyliners Junior Free Skate 2017 US Synchronized Skating Championships
Skyliners Juvenile (L to R): Jacqueline Preuninger of Montclair, Christine Song of Short Hills and Chelsea Peng of Livingston.
Skyliners Junior (L to R): Emily Kirillov, Fair Lawn; Michaela Kaminski, Whippany, Audrey Laude and Virginia Barney, Short Hills; Alexandra Perez, Gladstone; Jessica Hu, Short Hills
Skyliners Novice (L to R): Ethne Laude and Jocelyn Song of Short Hills and Shirley Zhu of Livingston.
Skyliners Junior Short Program, 2017 US National Champions and Team USA 1 representing the US at the World Junior Synchronized Skating Championships in Mississauga, Canada March 10-11.
Skyliners Juvenile 2017 US National Champions
Skyliners Novice 2017 US National Champions
Skyliners Senior (L to R): Eliza Farber of Montclair and Erin Dingley of Maplewood.
Skyliners Senior 2017 US National Bronze Medalists

ROCKFORD, IL - The Skyliners Synchronized Skating Team capped a record-breaking season with four of their qualifying lines winning Gold medals and their Senior line earning Bronze at the 2017 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships in Rockford, Illinois, February 23-25. The Junior, Novice, Intermediate and Juvenile lines all topped the podium and were crowned National Champions after competing among the best teams in the nation.

Jacqueline Preuninger of Montclair, Christine Song of Short Hills and Chelsea Peng of Livingston compete for Skyliners Juvenile. Skyliners Juvenile earned their fourth national championship title with their inspiring “Angels” program. In their first season under the IJS system, the Juvenile line won gold with a high score of 46.45 points.

Eliza Farber of Montclair and Erin Dingley of Maplewood skate as members of Skyliners Senior. Skyliners Senior  – just coming off a Gold medal win representing Team USA at the Zagreb Snowflakes Trophy in Croatia – earned Bronze in the highly competitive Senior division with a total score of 172.96 points, performing their Whitney Houston-themed free skate and “California Dreaming” short program. It’s their third straight Bronze-medal win at Nationals.

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“This season has been truly exceptional, with all of our lines performing at the top of their game,” said Josh Babb, Skyliners Head Coach and Director of Synchronized Skating. “Earning four 2017 National titles and the Senior Bronze is a testament to how extremely hard working and determined our skaters and coaches have been.”

Short Hills skaters on the Skyliners Junior line include Virginia Barney, Jessica Hu and Audrey Laude as well as New Jersey skaters Michaela Kaminski of Whippany, Emily Kirillov of Fair Lawn, and Alexandra Perez of Gladstone. Skyliners Junior – who will represent the United States at the World Junior Synchronized Skating Championships in Mississauga, Canada, March 10-11, 2017 – earned a total score of 174.67 points and the Junior National Crown with their rousing “Last of the Mohicans” free skate and their dramatic “Gangster Hip Hop” short program. It is their fourth big win this season including New England Challenge Cup, Porter Classic and The Cup of Berlin in Germany, proving that they are a force to be reckoned with. All eyes now turn to Worlds.

Short Hills residents Ethne Laude and Jocelyn Song as well as Shirely Zhu of Livingston helped Skyliners Novice earn their first-ever national title with a powerful Camelot-themed program that earned a score of 75.93. It was a perfect end to their historic all-gold medal season.

Intermediate earned their second straight national championship, skating to a dazzling Wizard-themed program. Their exciting performance earned them a high score of 65.31. Sharon Bivkin of Livingston and Julia Edelman of West Orange skate for Skyliners Intermediate.

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 16 years, Skyliners has grown into one of the top synchronized skating teams in the country - now with 12 competitive lines, and 200+ skaters ranging in age from 5 to 26. While the majority of the skaters reside in the tri-state area, Skyliners also draws members from Minnesota, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. The tremendous growth and success of the team are 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 8-20 highly skilled athletes performing a program on ice together, moving as one flowing unit at high speeds. It is characterized by teamwork, speed, intricate formations and challenging step sequences. There are approximately 600 synchronized teams and nearly 5000 synchronized skaters in the United States 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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