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Synchro switch pays off for Cerruti

April 3, 2018
By CHRISTIE SAUSA - Correspondent , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - Several years ago, Ciana Cerruti saw synchronized skating live at the Olympic Center and was inspired to take a chance on switching from singles to synchronized skating. This year, she will compete at the World Synchronized Skating Championships April 6-7 in Stockholm, Sweden as part of the Skyliners Synchronized Skating Team.

Cerruti is only the third Skating Club of Lake Placid home club member in history to earn a spot on a World team. The two previous members were 1960 National Junior champion and 1961 National bronze medalist ice dancers Robert F. and Patricia Dineen, who were two of the 72 victims of the tragic plane crash that claimed the lives of the entire 1961 US World Team.

Cerruti often trains in the same 1932 rink at the Olympic Center where the Dineens skated, outside of which is a plaque commemorating the 1961 World Team. Cerruti will attempt to do what the Dineens were tragically unable to do: represent Lake Placid and the Skating Club of Lake Placid on the world stage.

Article Photos

Skating Club of Lake Placid skater Ciana Cerruti earned a spot on the Skyliners Synchronized team that will compete in Stockholm, Sweden.
Photo provided

Cerruti started skating at age 8 and has been skating for 10 years in singles skating. Previously, she split her time between Lake Placid, where she trained with former US National Team member Tracey Prussack, and Newburgh, with 1984 Olympic pairs bronze medalists Larisa Selezneva and Oleg Makarov as her coach.

Cerruti competed in several regional championships and at local Lake Placid competitions such as the Lake Placid Summer Figure Skating Championships and the Empire State Winter Games.

But perhaps it's not too surprising that synchronized skating caught Cerruti's interest. Synchronized skating is a strong part of Lake Placid's figure skating history, as it has hosted synchronized skating championships such as the Eastern Synchro Sectional Championships multiple times (most recently in 2015) and summer synchro skating camps that included the Skyliners as participants.

"I decided to try synchronized skating because it was time for a change; years ago, I watched a synchro competition held in Lake Placid and had been wanting to give it a try since then," Cerruti said. "(There's) no time like the present."

This initiative paid off when 18-year-old Cerruti auditioned for the team and was offered a full contract to compete and tour with the Senior line.

"I entered the two-day tryouts as an underdog last year with no synchronized experience and only my freestyle skating skills to try and earn a spot," Cerruti said. "It was a very competitive turnout and I was the only skater with no previous experience."

The Skyliners include several qualifying and non-qualifying lines of varying levels. The Senior line is the highest level available, comprised of 20 skaters total - 16 who skate and four who serve as alternates.

A prestigious synchronized team founded in 2001, the team represents the Skating Club of New York in New York City and the Springdale Figure Skating Club in Connecticut, and includes skaters from throughout the Tri-State area. Shortly after being chosen, Cerruti started spring training with the Skyliners at their training bases in Monsey, New York and Stamford, Connecticut.

There are big differences between synchronized skating and singles skating. While singles skaters perform on their own, synchronized skaters must skate alongside other skaters on their team, and ensure all moves are perfectly synched.

Synchronized skating is not just skating in formations. While typical synchronized skating elements like circles, blocks and lines are the foundation of the discipline, synchronized skaters are also expected to be proficient in jumps, spins, footwork and spirals. At high levels, pairs elements like lifts and death spirals might be included.

While Cerruti acknowledges the challenges, she has adjusted well to the sport and has enjoyed the experience.

"It has been a challenge to learn how to synchronize with 15 other people after having been a single skater for so long," she said. "I enjoy the camaraderie of a team, the competition, international travels and the excitement of representing the United States as a member of one of the premier synchro teams in the country."

Travel is certainly a big part of synchronized competition. With the Skyliners, Cerruti has competed domestically in California, Michigan and Oregon, and internationally in Germany and Austria, along with this month's trip to Sweden.

Yet, despite its creativity, complexity, international appeal and growing popularity, synchronized skating is still not part of the Olympic Games.

The International Skating Union wants to include synchronized skating in the program at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing, China. Although the ISU failed to have the discipline added in the 2018 Games, they are not giving up on including synchronized skating in the future. If that happens, US Figure Skating, the governing body for figure skating in the United States, has already stated that they want to make sure their teams are ready to compete on that level.

Cerruti, like other synchronized skaters and fans, hopes that one day this will come to pass and that perhaps she can be part of the winning team.

"With synchro's rising popularity today, I believe synchro is more than capable and headed in the Olympic direction," Cerruti said. "Competing, representing the United States and winning at the Olympics has always been one of my dreams since I first started skating."

For more information on the Skyliners synchronized skating team and the Skating Club of Lake Placid, go to www.skylinerssynchro.com or www.skatingcluboflakeplacid.com. And to read more about synchronized skating, including the World Championship results, visit www.isu.org.

 
 

 

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