Forget-Me-Not Skaters Place Third at California 

    Juneau's Team-Forget-Me-Not youth synchronized skating team competes at the Synchro Fall Classic in Irvine, California on Saturday. (photo courtesy Cynthia Slawter)

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Juneau’s Team Forget-Me-Not youth synchronized skating team placed third out of 10 teams in their pre-juvenile division at the Synchro Fall Classic in Irvine, California, on Saturday.

      “It was really nice to see,” coach Leah Farzin said. “We made the program this year a little bit on the difficult side, trying to get as many points as we can under the scoring system and that paid off because it left a lot of room for error. You set it up so that there is more points that we can possibly get. And then when all the deductions come, because there are always deductions because it is figure skating, we were still left with a really good score and it put us in third place.”

      Team Forget-Me-Not scored 27.77 points. Top team Pacific Edge All Year Skating Club scored 33.27 and second place Matrix Glacier Falls Figure Skating Club scored 28.51.

      “It was really nice to see the strategy pay off and to see them have fun out there and skate a fun program,” Farzin said.

      Team Forget-Me-Not’s two-and-a-half minute program featured six judged elements that were worth 18.50 points if executed flawlessly, which is rare in figure skating. 

      The first planned element was a Traveling Wheel, performed at the highest level of difficulty, for a base value of 2.00. They received a Grade of Execution (GOE), which can range from -5 to +5, from the judges of -0.67, meaning they received a slight deduction to total 1.33.

      “We do a pin-wheel shape,” Farzin said. “Like, three spokes, and it rotates and it also moves across the ice as it rotates.”

      The second element was a Pivoting Block, performed at the basic level of difficulty, with a base value of 1.50 that was given a GOE of -0.10 for a score of 1.40.

      “There are three lines in a row that pivot at one end,” Farzin said. “And then they pivot at the other end.”

      The third element was an Intersection, which they executed with an added point of intersection for a base value of 4.00, of which the team executed for a GOE of -0.27 for 3.73.

      “One skater has to pass by another skater,” Farzin said. “The easiest one to picture is two lines going in between each other. They skate directly at each other and drop their arms and go between each other. They did a more complicated version where it was four lines coming at each other at right angles. You intersect at different times but with everybody.”

      The fourth element was a Linear Line, performed at the highest difficulty, also with a base value of 4.00. The team received a GOE of 0.00 for a 4.00 score.

      “This was a point of pride because there is no level cap on that, we could do the highest level that any team could do,” Farzin said. “I wasn’t sure if they were going to get the level four called, it means they had to execute a certain number of special features within the line. They got the highest level called and got an even, which meant no deductions.”

      The fifth element was Rotating Circle, performed at the highest difficulty, with a 3.00 base value. The team had a -1.40 GOE for 1.60.

      “I went for a 3 because I assumed there would be some errors,” Farzin said. “A difficult element. It’s kind of called ‘over choreographing,’ you want to build in some buffer. Because we have a lot of new skaters I know the nerves can kind of get to people. But also I like to make their programs challenged. I don’t want them to do the very lowest thing, I want them to do more. I like to make sure it is not too easy of a program.”

      The final element was an Artistic Wheel, again, performed at the highest level, with a base value of 4.00. The team’s GOE was -0.27 for the 3.73 score.

        “In terms of the technical side and in terms of learning the new judging system we did very well,” Farzin said. “There are a lot of competitions in skating where as a team or individual you skate well, and you maybe don’t place particularly well, and it’s harder to stay motivated in those particular times. But getting that brass ring, that reward, that placement like we did, to be recognized for how well we skated really goes a long way for encouraging people to keep at it. And I’m really grateful that is how it turned out this time.”

      The total base value available was 18.50 and Team Forget-Me-Not achieved a score of 15.79.

      The team also received 13.48 points on three additional program components - Skating Skills, Performance and Interpretation of the Music - to total 27.77.

      They did have a Falls deduction of 1.50 for a fall in the wheel and two in the circle.

     “Most of the program was really, really good,” Farzin said. “But the team will tell you, unfortunately, there were three falls in the program, so that really cut into our program a bit. I think it was, overall, a very good program and the scores reflect that. They had some falls and that kept them out of what I think would have been, had everything else been the same, probably second place but maybe not first place. It was tough. A lot of our team is new and we don’t compete very much because we can’t because the travel is so onerous and expensive. So I think there is a lot of pressure on them to skate well every single time we compete. For the most part they did. They skated really, really well. There were just some falls and that might tarnish their memories just a little bit of the whole event.”

     The team had no other deductions among a wide judging criteria that included costume/prop violations, program time violations, music requirements, illegal elements, interruptions in excess, separations in excess, costume failures, additional elements, ice pattern requirements, repeated element shapes, holds, program interruptions, excess stopping, non-permitted elements and late starts.

      “I liked how hard they worked once they got here,” Farzin said. “After the pandemic and everything, just getting out of Juneau was such a treat for everybody that it was very easy for them to kind of get to California and go, 'Oh, we’re out of Juneau.’ But they were able to keep focused and keep practicing. Just with our practice time down there they were able to improve. I really liked that. They were able to focus and they really skated close to their very, very best in the program. That was very impressive. Travel also gets them all getting to know each other better and spending time together. It was nice to see them all get along.”

      Team Forget-Me-Not’s next competition will be in February in California.

      “Hopefully keep getting some recognition for their skating,” Farzin said. “Medals are always nice. Placing third in a group of 10 is a big confidence booster. We might change a couple elements or add some time to the program. We might add some music or more elements.”

      Team Forget-Me-Not is a mix of skaters from Thunder Mountain and Juneau-Douglas Kalé high schools, IDEA homeschool and Floyd Dryden and Dzantik’i Heeni middle schools.

      The team is comprised of  JDHS senior Dominique Morley, TMHS juniors Aliyah Overturf, Lydia Powers and Carly Phelps, JDHS sophomore Maggie Higgins, TMHS sophomores Kennedy Love, Jade Hicks, Sophia Nylen and Angelica Rodriguez, IDEA sophomore Melissa Maxwell, IDEA freshman Rebecca Maxwell, DHMS eighth graders Paige Kirsch and Sam Lagerquist, FDMS eighth grader Ellis Gottschlich and DHMS seventh grader June Troxel.

      Assistant coach is Emily Bowman and team managers are Nicchia Leamer and Tracey Maxwell.

    Above Photos - Juneau's Team-Forget-Me-Not youth synchronized skating team competes at the Synchro Fall Classic in Irvine, California on Saturday. (photo courtesy Cynthia Slawter)

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