Teams Elite Junior has reached a new pinnacle—securing a coveted spot in the world junior championships.
Returning with a silver medal this week after the Spring Cup in Milan, Italy, the team was selected as one of the top Junior synchronized skating teams in the country. They will represent Team USA March 13-14 in the 2020 International Skating Union (ISU) World Junior Synchronized Skating Championships in Nottingham, Great Britain. Earlier this year, Teams Elite Junior placed fifth overall against some of the best synchronized skating teams in the world at the French Cup in Rouen, France. The teams’ combined Spring Cup and French Cup score of 363.14 points placed them third in the ISU Challenger Series.
“The panel selected Teams Elite Junior based on strong showings at the French Cup and Spring Cup,” said Angus Shields, Recreation Division Manager. “This selection confirms Teams Elite’s status as one of the top synchronized skating programs in the country.”
Athletes are judged on technical and artistic ability and how well their performances tell the story of the music in their routines. Teams Elite Junior’s routines this season include a short program to “Ain’t No Sunshine” by J2 feat. Alih Jey and a captivating free skate to a remix of “Sound of Silence” by Disturbed.
In only its second season, the Junior-level team has quickly made a name in the synchronized skating community as a top-level competitor, becoming the first, first-year team to represent Team USA in the 2019 Spring Cup, returning home as the Spring Cup champions. In addition to Northbrook, Teams Elite Junior includes skaters from throughout the Chicago area, including Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Evanston, Vernon Hills, Prospect Heights, Orland Park and Palos Heights.
“To skate with such precision requires an impressive level of concentration, teamwork and trust as you complete these complicated maneuvers in sync with 15 other skaters,” said Eileen Loftus, Director of the Recreation Division. “Behind the grace and beauty Teams Elite displays on the ice is a lot of hard work, skill and discipline. These international achievements showcase not only the level of talent that exists within our synchronized skating teams, but the amazing recreation opportunities and experiences available through the Northbrook Park District. To start out in our skating school and end up on a world stage illustrates just how far our programs can take you.”
Founded in 1999, Teams Elite now includes eight levels. The program is open to skaters as young as the age of 5 at the introductory Snowplow Sam level. Additional levels include Synchro Skills I, Preliminary, Pre-Juvenile, Juvenile, Intermediate, Novice and Junior. Team placement is determined by age requirements and skill level through an annual tryout process. Tryout information will be posted at nbparks.org and teamselite.org on Sunday, March 1. Interested skaters are encouraged to attend the free Teams Elite Open House on Sunday, March 8 at the Northbrook Sports Center, 1730 Pfingsten Road, Northbrook, where they will receive an introduction into the world of synchronized skating. The event offers the opportunity for youth ages 5 to 19 to execute skills and drills to see if this sport is in their future. The open house times are 2:10-2:40pm for ages 12 and under with no moves experience, 3-4pm for ages 12 and under with moves experience, and 4:30-6pm for ages 13 and up.
“For the past five years, our synchronized skating program has been near the top of the rankings across all divisions it has entered,” Shields said. “The skaters’ hard work and determination are evident throughout the entire Teams Elite program.” Teams Elite swept every division entered in the 2020 Midwestern Synchronized Skating Sectional Championships January 14-19 in Wichita, Kansas, with the Preliminary, Pre-Juvenile, Juvenile, Intermediate and Novice teams earning first place.
Interested in showing your support and cheering on Teams Elite? All eight of the District’s synchronized skating teams will perform an exhibition on Sunday, February 23 from 4:30-6:30pm during “Celebrate the Season” at the Northbrook Sports Center.
The next competition for the Juvenile, Intermediate, Novice and Junior teams is the US Synchronized Skating Championship in Providence, Rhode Island February 26-29.