One Bayside teen skated her way to a national championship last weekend.
Local skater and St. Francis Preparatory freshman Emma Estrada was crowned National Champion at the 2016 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships in Kalamazoo, Michigan as a member of the Skyliners Intermediate Synchronized Skating Team.
Performing to a “Superheroes” music medley, Estrada and her teammates impressed the nine-judge panel with the technical difficulty of their program. The Skyliners competed among the twelve best synchronized skating teams in the country, clinching an impressive victory with the best score of the season. This is the Skyliners first national crown in the Intermediate division.
Josh Babb, Skyliners head coach and director of synchronized skating, called this a record season for the team.
“As our team grows, so do our accomplishments. Our skaters work extremely hard and their efforts have really paid off this year,” he said.
Synchronized skating is a competitive group sport consisting of 8 to 20 athletes performing a program on ice together in unison. Routines require intricate formations, speed and challenging step sequences, as well as enormous teamwork to pull it all together. Though not currently an Olympic sport, skaters compete in both national and international arenas, and there is a move towards inclusion at the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Founded in 2001 by a group of competitive parents, the Skyliners Synchronized Skating Team was designed to be the most competitive synchronized skating team in the tri-state area. The team started small with three lines, but has grown enormously to eleven lines and 190 skaters, ranging in age from 5 to 26. The team is primarily tri-state, but has members from across the country, from as far as Minnesota and California.
“We’ve worked really hard as a team and individually all season and it paid off,” said Estrada, enthused at the team’s win. “It was a great experience.”