For the second year in a row, Teams Elite Junior skaters are on their way to represent Team USA in the international spotlight.
This time, the stakes are even higher for the Northbrook Park District synchronized team.
Based on their achievements last season, which included placing first in their division during the 2019 Spring Cup in Milan, Italy, the team was chosen to represent Team USA in the 2020 French Cup January 31-February 2 in Rouen, France and return to the Spring Cup February 14-16. Both events are part of the Challenger Series for Synchronized Skating.
Now the team is setting its sights on making it to the 2020 ISU World Junior Synchronized Skating Championships March 13-14 in Nottingham, U.K., said Head Coach Danielle Ostrower.
“It’s really exciting, but there’s a lot of pressure,” Ostrower said. “How we compete internationally is a big factor in whether we’re named to the world team.”
Founded in 1999, the Teams Elite program includes eight teams, starting with an introductory team for ages 5 and older called Snowplow Sam. Other levels include Synchro Skills I, Synchro Skills II, Pre-Juvenile, Juvenile, Intermediate and Novice. The Junior team was formed in 2018.
“I am extremely proud of everything Teams Elite Junior has accomplished in such a short time,” said Eileen Loftus, Recreation Division Director. “To see them represent Northbrook Park District at the international level again is incredible. All the teams work so hard to embody friendship, collaboration and excellence at every level.”
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”—a performance Ostrower said can best be described as a theatrical trailer. The team’s long program is to a remix of “Sound of Silence.”
“We want to be part of the world team but in order get there, Teams Elite Junior just needs to go out and attack their skating,” Ostrower said. “They need to be so full of confidence, emotion and speed that they don’t leave a question in anybody’s mind.”
All the teams will debut their routines for the season during a Fall Exhibition Kickoff Sunday, November 17 from 4:35-6:05pm at the Northbrook Sports Center, 1730 Pfingsten Road.