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Livingston Community Corner

Blades of Glory

Marilyn Joyce Lehren, Livingston Public Schools

Saturday, February 8, 2014 • 7:08pm

With the Winter Olympics on the horizon, a LHS trio of skaters is on the cutting edge of athletes realizing their gold medal dreams. Erica Silverman, Emily Lemchuk and Kari DiTonno recently returned from international championships in Gothenburg, Sweden, where the Synchroettes Junior Team, representing Team USA, placed second at the Leon Lurje Trophy.

The Livingston High School students train with the Synchroettes, the Essex County Skating Club’s synchronized skating team. This past weekend they competed in Hershey, Pa., at Eastern Sectionals, where they came in first place. Next stop is Colorado Springs at the end of February, where they will compete at the U.S. Championships.  
 
The girls balance classwork and a rigorous training schedule to compete at such a high level. The effort, they said, is worth it.
 
“Representing our country with my 19 best friends and standing there with a silver medal around my neck as they raised our flag is a moment I will never be able to forget!” said Silverman.
 
Added her teammate, DiTonno, “After they announced we had won the Silver Medal, the goose bumps started, then came the tears of joy as we all hugged and cried.” 
 
Synchronized skating is a team sport skating on ice as a flowing unit. It uses the same judging system as singles, pairs and dance and is characterized by teamwork, speed, intricate formations, and challenging step sequences. It includes complicated intersections, vaults where skaters are lifted or flipped in the air by other skaters while skating, as well as other difficult moves. The team performs both a free skate (long program) and a short program with required well-balanced program elements.
 
The Livingston students and their teammates have been skating for the past several years at the nationally qualifying levels. It is a lot to handle; especially, now as high school students they balance the demands of schoolwork and college prep. “Add 15 to 20 hours of intense on and off ice training each week from 5:30 a.m. some days to 10 p.m. other days and it seems almost impossible,” observed Daena Silverman, mother of Erica. “Every day I am more and more impressed while watching these girls handle it all – managing school successfully while practicing and competing at such a high athletic level.”
 
The students returned from Sweden on January 20. As for their international competition, “This is the sport I love and with the hard work and many hours spent with my team has made this trip to Sweden the most memorable moment of my life,” DiTonno said.
 
Emily Lemchuk added, "There was no better feeling than representing the United States of America with my teammates and having all of our hard work and dedication pay off by getting a silver medal!"
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