Dear Skyliners,

And away we go...synchro season is officially in full swing! Our Pep Rally was a resounding success, drawing hundreds of family members, friends, alumni and fans to the Terry Conners Rink to cheer on the premiere performances of our awesome programs! Our Pep Rally dinner & dance party was a team-bonding (and auction-bidding) success! Thank you to all the fabulous volunteers without whom this showcase event would not have been possible, as well as our fantastic coaches and skaters who gave it their all and then partied hard.

Many of our lines have already completed their first competitions - and taken the ice by storm! At the Essex Synchro Classic in New Jersey, Pre-Juvenile, Preliminary and Pre-Preliminary finished strong, taking Gold, Gold and Silver respectively. At the Anaheim ice 2017 Synchronized Fall Classic in California, Junior and Senior impressed the judges with their Gold-medal performances in both their short programs and free skates.

Coming up: the Boston Classic in Marlborough, MA (Nov 18), Porter Classic in Ann Arbor, MI (Dec 1-3) and the Terry Conners Open in Stamford, CT (Dec 2-3). Please cheer on our skaters - either in person, online or in sky-spirit!!

This issue of SkyBlast features a Pep Rally photo gallery, the November team round-up, a special look at the Anaheim competition from the Junior and Senior Team USA members, and a great Q&A from our very own Assistant Coach Ashley Mulhern. Go Skyliners!!
SKYLINERS SENIOR CHOSEN TO PERFORM
AT SKATE AMERICA
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 26 LAKE PLACID, NY
U.S. Figure Skating has honored the Skyliners Senior line by inviting them to perform at 2017 Bridgestone Skate America in Lake Placid, NY, the evening of Sunday, November 26. Top skating athletes from around the world will compete at 2017 Skate America from November 24-26 for a chance to win the prestigious title of Skate America champion and earn points to progress to the Grand Prix final. Four disciplines of skating - including men's and ladies singles, pairs and ice dance - are showcased. Skyliners Senior will be featured at the conclusion of the competition in the Skating Spectacular, performing their "Cleopatra" long program which recently earned them the top score of 106.96 at the 2017 Synchronized Fall Classic in Anaheim, CA. To find out more about Skate America or buy tickets, click here.
UPCOMING HOLIDAY EXHIBITIONS
featuring Skyliners
RIVERBANK STATE PARK TREE LIGHTING
SATURDAY, DEC 9, 4-5PM
RIVERBANK STATE PARK
SKYLINERS SENIOR
WINTER ICETRAVAGANZA
SUNDAY, DEC 10, 2:30-3:50PM
CITY ICE PAVILION
SKYLINERS CENTRAL PARK BEGINNER 2

HOLIDAY ON THE HUDSON
FRIDAY, DEC 15, 7PM
CHELSEA PIERS NYC, SKYRINK
SKYLINERS JUNIOR

MORE TO COME!!
2017
PEP RALLY
PHOTOFEST
Head Coach
Josh Babb
Intermediate Skater Hana von der Linden performing the National Anthem
Board President
Lawrence Cooke
Central Park Beginner 2
Intro
Beginner
Pre-Preliminary
Preliminary
Pre-Juvenile
Juvenile
Intermediate
Novice
Junior
Senior
The Notorious Skyliners Conga Line
Skyliners Silent Auction
Lucky Auction Winner
The skaters dominate the dance floor!
Live auction with Brad Blosat!
SUPPORT SKYLINERS THROUGH AMAZON SMILE
Here is an amazingly easy way to support your team! Shop for everyone on your gift list this holiday at  smile.amazon.com/ch/13-4176216   and Amazon donates a percentage to Skyliners! This is a year-round fundraiser, and there is no additional cost to you. So everyone wins! Please bookmark it and have fun shopping!
HOLIDAY SPIRITWEAR SHOPPING
Were you too busy at Pep Rally to get your Spiritwear? Don’t miss out on the new Skyliners Swag!! Online sales will continue until December 7th for pre-holiday delivery. Items ordered after December 7th will be delivered in January. We have stocking stuffers, gifts for dad and moms, and of course skaters!

Purchase Spiritwear Here:
Men's Greg Norman Zip
Cashmere pullover
Ivivva Fly Tech
Portable phone charger
SKYLINERS TRAVEL REMINDER!
For up to date information regarding skater hotels, parent blocks for chaperoned lines (where available), skater flights and competition rinks, please refer to the  Master Travel Chart under Competition Info on the Skyliners website.
NOVEMBER TEAM ROUND-UP
Central Park Intro
Central Park Intro jumped right into their season at Pep Rally! With their first practice the week before, they were excited to put on make-up and their adorable costumes, take pictures and skate in the finale with the "big" girls. Many on the line attended the Pep Rally dinner and were seen up on the dance floor, dancing away with the other skaters. With the start of their season now beginning, the line is excited to work on their program and looking forward to performing in exhibitions at Wollman Rink.
Central Park Beginner 2
Central Park Beginner 2 had a fantastic time at Pep Rally and the coaches were really happy with their performances. The girls loved their purple magic-themed costumes and music. They are motivated to start their season with the Winter IceTravaganza , an exhibition at City Ice Pavilion on December 10th. We welcome all to attend!
Good luck to our Intro, Beginner,
Pre-Preliminary, Preliminary, Pre-Juvenile and Juvenile lines competing at the
2017 TERRY CONNERS SYNCHRO OPEN
December 2-3 in Stamford, CT!
Intro

Intro had a wonderful time at their first Pep Rally! It was exciting to get to the rink, glam it up, wear our dresses for the first time, take pics, and watch and cheer for the other lines! Our biggest thrill was WOWING the audience with our fantastic skating! We were excited and proud! Then we had a blast at the party with all the Skyliners! A big thanks to our line moms - great job on your first time out! Next up for us is the Terry Conners Synchro Open for our competition debut - we cannot wait!
Good luck to our Beginner,
Pre-Preliminary, Preliminary, Pre-Juvenile, Juvenile, Intermediate and Novice lines competing at the
2017 BOSTON CLASSIC
November 18 in Marlborough, MA!
Beginner

The Beginner girls and their families had a great month on and off the ice. At the end of October, families came together for a fun barbecue playdate at the Trelles' home. The girls got to run around, bounce on the trampoline and play on the swings while the parents spent time getting to know each other and modeling their Trolls spirit ahead of the competition season. On the ice, the girls loved performing their program at Pep Rally and cheering on the other lines. They showed their Skyliners spirit loud and clear chanting, "We are proud of you..." after each line skated - much to the delight of the surrounding parents and spectators in the stands. They are really excited for their first overnight competition at the Boston Classic. Go Beginner! Go Skyliners!
Pre-Preliminary

Pre-Preliminary has had an outstanding start to the season! After a strong Pep Rally skate (and a great time dancing the evening away!) they packed up their clean, bright skates and headed to Essex. With determination, grit, and the knowledge that they're all in it together, they skated their best performance to date. It might've been the new Roaring 20's headbands! Pre-Pre earned the silver medal, second only to their sisters on Prelim. Those headbands are already packed for Boston this weekend!
Preliminary

After the high of debuting their program at Pep Rally, the Preliminary line competed in the Essex Synchro Classic on November 11th. Our Little Elvis’s earned gold! Congratulations are in order for a job well done. The girls had an excellent skate and displayed great focus in all the confusion created by a music mix-up. Our next competition is this weekend in Marlborough, MA at the Boston Classic. Go Skyliners!!
Pre-Juvenile

Pre-Juv: In the Groove! After months of practice and preparation, everything came together for Pre-Juv and the line was excited to finally unveil its program and Queen of Hearts dresses at the November 4th Pep Rally. The skaters proceeded to have a royally good time at the Pep Rally dinner. Our Queens went on to reign over the competition at the Essex Synchro Classic, bringing home gold for the royal treasury!
Juvenile

Pep Rally was an amazing day! We had so much wonderful support from friends and family that came to watch us skate. We were very proud of our clean programs and are working hard for our upcoming competition, the Boston Classic. Coaches Natalie and Nikki made the perfect match with these skaters and their program, and it shows!
Good luck to our Intermediate, Novice, Junior and Senior lines competing at the
PORTER CLASSIC
December 1-3 in Ann Arbor, MI!
Intermediate

Twisting and twizzling their way into our hearts, the Intermediate girls had so much fun performing for family and friends at the Pep Rally! The celebration continued into the night - enjoying the food, bidding on auction items and dancing rounded out a great day. Go Intermediate!
Novice

Novice is ready for a Phantastic season! The girls showed great teamwork while getting themselves ready for Pep Rally and even had some help from their Junior sisters with applying their fake eyelashes! The Phantom would be proud of the girls' hard work and effort that was evident during their performances! Now, it’s off to the Boston Classic to start the Novice competition season!
Audrey Laude (left) with teammate Kylie Saloma
In-n-Out High!
Junior
Anaheim Diary by Audrey Laude

For our first competition, Skyliners Junior flew out to sunny California, where we had a successful weekend full of fun and skating! After we landed at LAX, we headed to the hotel where we went to bed to rest up for the busy weekend ahead. During our first two days, we worked hard on the ice, and then we enjoyed the sunny 60-degree weather outside while catching up on homework and bonding with each other. We visited Downtown Disney with Senior in the evening, where we got to sing Christmas songs and enjoy Disney-themed treats amidst the holiday lights and decorations. My favorite day was competition day, because we had the chance to share Skyliners Junior traditions as a team for the first time, like belting “Defying Gravity” despite our collective inability to hit notes, eating copious amounts of Tic-tacs and Starbursts, and screaming our cheer in the locker room. We were so excited to show off our “You and I” short and “Black Swan” long with the stunning dresses and beautiful choreography. As soon as I stepped on the ice, I remembered how much I missed the energy of the line – it’s unlike any other feeling in the world. We were so proud of Senior’s gorgeous skates and happy with our performances, although we will keep working hard to improve throughout the season. To celebrate our wins, we visited In-n-Out Burger for milkshakes, fries, and burgers, before flying home. Anaheim just ended, but already, we can’t wait for Porter!
Senior
Anaheim Diary by Alice O'Connor

This past weekend at the Synchronized Fall Classic in Anaheim, CA, Skyliners Senior earned GOLD in both the short and long programs!!! On Friday at an unofficial practice, we were determined and skated with enthusiasm to do some last-minute work on the programs. That evening we went to Downtown Disney with Junior. Saturday morning in the short program, we poured emotion into expressing our story and skated a strong and calm program, earning 64.59 points! Later that same day, we skated a long program that built in emotion and energy, while holding corrections from practice, earning 106.96 points! For a combined score of 171.55 points!! For almost half the team, it was either their first time competing at the Senior level or with Skyliners. Because of this, there was an electric energy throughout the weekend even when the mornings were early and the evenings were late. We are very proud of how we skated and how that placed us. We hope to carry this feeling to Porter in early December. We are ready to continue working hard on both of our programs! Go Skyliners!
Q&A WITH ASSISTANT COACH
ASHLEY MULHERN
ASHLEY MULHERN is the assistant coach of the Skyliners Pre-Preliminary and Preliminary lines. She joined Skyliners as a coach in 2016, but has a long history skating with Skyliners starting in 2002.
When did you start skating?

I started skating at 4½, right after I had moved to Connecticut from California. I had only been on the ice once in California, but immediately when I moved, I asked my mom for skating lessons.

How did you get involved in synchro?

In 2000, when I was 6, Stamford Twin Rinks was trying to get together a little learn-to-synchro team. I was there for a year. It ended up becoming a preliminary team. It definitely was the first step that made me fall in love with the sport. Then they merged with Team Image and I ended up skating with Team Image for two years as a preliminary and juvenile skater. I made the move to Skyliners in 2002.

What did you like about synchro?

I went through the beginning levels of a freestyle career, but I quickly realized that I definitely loved the team aspect of synchronized skating a lot more than I liked being out on the ice by myself. That definitely made me stick with it and pretty quickly made me focus on synchro rather than continuing to compete by myself.

How have you seen the sport change?

The very first year I started, it was still called precision skating. It wasn’t until my second year that it officially became known as synchronized skating.
Ashley with 2016-17 preliminary skaters
Ashley (center) with fellow Skyliners Coaches Sennett, Sarah, Nina and Natalie
Spitfires Preliminary 2000
Skyliners Juvie 2003
Team Image Juvenile 2002
Skyliners Juvie 2004
Skyliners Juvie 2006
Over my 16-year synchronized skating career, I absolutely saw it change and evolve and just become a lot more intricate and challenging. It really moved on from the basic shapes and formations to adding a whole lot of detail.

And now that I’ve transitioned into the coaching world and no longer compete, I’ve seen it transition further. Just the sheer number of teams is unbelievable to me now. We would go and compete in Easterns against just a couple of teams, and now it takes three, four days just to get through the whole competition. 

You’ve been on Skyliners almost since its beginning. Talk about those early years.

When I came over to Skyliners, I skated on Juvenile; I believe the highest level was Novice. There were three lines. By my second year, I actually ended up cross-skating Juvenile to Novice. That is such a foreign concept to people now - how in the world did you skate on two lines at once? It was definitely a lot, just because I was on the ice so much. But I got a taste of two different lines, two different dynamics, two different coaches. Freshman year of high school, I cross-skated Novice to Junior. That was probably the year that kept me the busiest - three programs and running from one place to another.
Skyliners Junior competing as Team USA 1 at the 2011 World Junior Challenge Cup in Neufchâtel, Switzerland
What was it like to be on the team when it wasn’t as successful in competitions as it is now?

I feel very lucky to have been part of the organization at that point. It taught me so much. First of all, you couldn’t count on going to Nationals. We had to work extremely hard to even have the hope of getting there. I remember going to Nationals and being thrilled to be there and then coming in 10th, 11th, 12th. I don’t think we were ever satisfied with that, but I do think that was the fire to push us to get better and better the following year.

That’s where the things we do now - fitness, ballet, dance, stretch - came from, as well as just bringing in people from U.S. Figure Skating. Adding these layers each year helped us get stronger and stronger. It was a gradual development each year. We went from being at the very bottom of the pack at Nationals to being sort of in the middle.

2006 was Skyliners’ first national medal: pewter for the Novice team. I was on that line. We didn’t have 100% our best performance. The program was “Remember the Titans,” the dresses were navy, blue and gold. It was not really a fabulous skate by any stretch of the imagination; it just kind of happened that with the new scoring we ended in fourth. We were thrilled, but also stumped because that had never really crossed our minds. We were working on holding our spot in the top six or seven, but then all of a sudden we go out and get that pewter medal.

From there, things continued to improve, and we moved up from the middle of the pack and kind of evolved into the team it is now. But I think they always strove to have that competitive mentality regardless of whether we were on the bottom, in the middle or at the top.

What was the most pivotal moment in your Skyliners skating career?

My second year on the Junior team, the 2008-2009 season. The year before, at the end of 2007-2008 season, that was when we competed in our very first international competition in Zagreb, Croatia and won gold. Winning that competition was definitely a huge moment for the organization and for my line in general. I think that year we came in 7th at Nationals, so it wasn’t a great showing, but then to go out and win an Internationals was huge.

Then at Nationals in the 2008-2009 season, we got the Bronze medal in Italy in our second International ever and we were also Easterns champions that year. We went into Nationals and had a very strong short program - we were second place after the short program. We skated to Les Miserables. And then we went out to skate our long program and it was a little bit of a disaster. We had somewhere between four and six falls. It was pretty devastating from the very first element. Right out of the gate, we had a fall and then we kind of crumbled from there. We skated to Sunset Boulevard in really pretty blue dresses.

I’ll never forget standing in the kiss and cry, waiting for the scores, knowing they were not going to be great at all. I can still see it, the look on everyone’s faces - being so much further ahead than we’d ever been before in the short and then to have it all slip away was devastating. We ended up in 7th.

What did the coaches say after that result?

One thing that sticks in my mind, something Josh always said, whether it was in practice or in competition: “You guys just lost your focus.” That was a big thing for the following season, figuring out whether it was nerves, distraction, adrenaline, over-confidence –figuring out how to focus through everything that’s going on.

I really do look at it as a pivotal moment. After that year, we obviously knew we never wanted that to happen ever again. And we put more energy into it than we ever did. We came back in the 2009-2010 season and went on to win the Nationals silver medal. And we realized that there were a lot of things that were out of our control when we fell apart in 2009, but there were also a lot of things that we could control. 
Ashley and Coach Josh Babb
What were some other highlights for you?

In my senior year we won Nationals, the first Junior gold medal for Skyliners. I was part of the Dream program with U.S. Figure Skating from senior year of high school through senior year of college, and also on the athlete advisory committee, which I’m still on.

And you skated competitively in college.

At Miami University, I continued to skate at the Senior level all four years. While at Miami I was still part of Team USA and had the opportunity to compete in 2 Senior World Championships. I absolutely loved my experience and the fact that Miami gave me the best of both worlds, as a fully funded NCAA Division I student athlete competing for both my university and my country. I studied early childhood education, but ultimately I decided to go into sales instead of teaching.
Ashley performing on Miami University Senior Synchronized Skating Team
What are some of the most important things you learned from skating that apply to other experiences in your life?

One of the biggest things was working on a team with people who absolutely do have the same end goal but have such diversity in their backgrounds and in what’s going on in their lives outside the rink - to kind of take all of that and figure out how to get everyone on the same page and working for a common goal. It’s something I really took away from the sport of synchronized skating that has helped me outside the rink. We all know this sport is definitely not easy. Not every practice is the most enjoyable. And it sometimes can be tricky to get through a practice or a week of practices if you don’t have teammates behind you to realize you’re all going through the same things. 

Now in the workplace, I’m working alongside others and figuring out how to connect with others to accomplish the same goal. Skating also absolutely helps me with time management. That’s a common thread for anyone that’s in the sport at the level that Skyliners raises you to because there is so much that you sacrifice, but you have to prioritize how everything is going to get done. Creating a work-life balance – I think that has come out of my synchro experience as well.

You started coaching with Skyliners last year. What has your skating career taught you about leadership and coaching?

I was fortunate enough to have several previous leadership opportunities, between being captain of the junior line my senior year of high school and the Miami University senior line my senior year of college. It gave me a new outlook in terms of being a leader and working to bring everyone together to motivate them day in and day out. 

As a skater, I was always fairly vocal on the ice in a motivational way. You can look around and you can tell who’s on it and who’s not on it, whether they’re exhausted or they’re just having a tough time. Throughout the program, I would say different things: “Girls, we’ve got this” or “Refresh–we can do this.”

That was probably one of my greatest tactics for trying to bring everyone together or get them to refresh and refocus. I do think I’ve brought that into my coaching. I look at who’s having a tough time, who’s getting frustrated with the girl next to them because she’s having a tough time. I work on just kind of bringing it back after a run-through: “Yes, these are the changes we need to make, but this went really well. We wouldn’t be pushing you so hard if we didn’t know you guys are awesome and can do it.”

Also, I think it’s easier as an assistant coach to be able to zero in and help people as individuals.

How would you describe your coaching style?

I definitely take a different approach to some of the other coaches, just coming from being a recent skater and competing myself. I was lucky to have a lot of experience with the IJS system and a good working knowledge of it. I know what it’s like very recently to have been in the line myself, and over the years, I skated in different positions within the lines in different elements. I think I take that into consideration when making corrections. 

There are different tips and tricks that I’ve come across through my skating that I try and bring to them. That’s why I like working with a variety of different coaches, because people have different styles and explain things in different ways. Being a fairly new coach, I’m so lucky to have the opportunity to work with the very experienced and tenured coaches. I’ve learned and continue to learn so much from them. I’m doing everything that I can to make my own little hybrid coaching style, and to take the things that they are fabulous at and add my own little twists to that
Skyliners are crowned the 2011 Junior National Champions. This is the first national championship in the organization's history, following the Juvenile championship the previous day.
What are the biggest challenges in coaching for you?

It’s the lack of control that I have. Being an athlete and being in the program, I felt like I had more control. Of course it’s a team sport, so you never have complete control. It has to come from each individual doing their part. But as an athlete I had more control over making sure my job was done, as well as connecting with everyone else.

But as a coach, when the girls step out on the ice to compete, your job is done. At that point, you can’t make any changes. You want to say “slow down” or “push harder here,” and you just can’t. That’s the toughest thing - knowing how capable the skaters are but not having the control to change anything.

What do you see yourself doing with synchro in the future?

I don’t know exactly where I’ll be in the next five or ten years, but I know for a fact that it will continue to be a big part of my life – whether that’s in a coaching capacity or a judging capacity. I’ve been so heavily impacted by the coaches who have coached me growing up that I would love to be that coach for someone else.

I absolutely love working with the Preliminary levels now. They are so fresh and new to the sport, and you can make such a big impact getting them to fall in love with the sport. But I also did have such a big connection to the Junior and Senior levels that I would love to eventually get more involved with those levels as well.

Describe your life outside of Skyliners. Work? Hobbies?

I’m in sales and advertising at News America Marketing. I work with consumer packaged goods companies to help with their marketing and advertising needs. Between a full-time job in sales in the city, and coaching for Skyliners, and doing a little bit of teaching private lessons, it doesn’t leave a ton of time for other things. 

One of my biggest hobbies is working out and trying new classes, just to do something new and different. Now not being on the ice as much as I was, it’s fun for me to try different elements of fitness, like barre and a boot camp type classes where you’re basically being run into the ground the entire class, but at least you’re surrounded by other people, all working to feel that sense of accomplishment at the end.

What are some things that people might be surprised to learn about you?

I guess one thing I don’t think that many people know about me is I have grown into a huge college football fan. Being a collegiate athlete myself, it gave me a little bit of a tie to other collegiate athletes. My family made me grow up to be a Penn State fan - that’s where my dad and sister went. We are a little crazy when it comes to game days. My sister has season tickets this year and I have been her “plus one” a few times. If we’re not at the games, I can guarantee we’re in front of the TV somewhere watching them.
Skyliners' Angels! (Charlie would be jealous!)
The 2014-15 Juvie "Can-Can" girls take a snooze after an early morning practice!
SKYLINERS & ALUMS!
Dig up your SkyBlast from the Past pics and send them here for the next edition...
16 YEARS OF SKYLINERS
Skyliners was established in 2001 by a group of parents who wanted to create the most competitive synchronized skating club in the tri-state area. In that first year, the team had three lines - Preliminary, Juvenile and Intermediate. Sixteen years later, Skyliners has grown into one of the top synchronized skating teams in the country, now 12 lines and 200+ skaters strong. While the majority of the skaters reside in the tri-state area, we also have skaters from Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. Our resume of achievements includes 21 Eastern championships, 10 National championships, 6 International gold medals...and 10 years designated TEAM USA. 
School Absence Letters
The Skyliners organization is extremely sensitive to the skaters school requirements and makes every effort to minimize the number of school days that are missed due to competitions. To help inform school administrators and teachers of the requirements of our athletes throughout the season, the board and coaches have worked together to develop letters that ask schools to be supportive throughout the competition season. The Skyliners letter lists the current season's competitions and dates for your given line, and supplements the standard letter produced by the USFSA. Both letters have been posted on the website  www.skylinerssynchro.com under "Parent/Skater Info." in the password-protected Skyliners Only section. Questions can be directed to  info@skylinerssynchro.com
SKYLINERS!
Download the SI PLAY app

Parents & Skaters - We encourage you to download the SI PLAY app on your smartphone or tablet. It works in conjunction with League Athletics, offering schedule, team chat, roster, photo & video uploading capabilities. Use the same account information as you use for League Athletics, and you can link in to your line's information. 



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