North Shore athletes and Team USA skate to victory

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The Skyliners, Team USA 1 in synchronized skating and 2019 champions in synchronized skating, took home their second consecutive world medal last month. Tracy Wang and Amie Adjakple are in the top row and center and Alyssa Politoski is on the bottom row, first from the right. (Photo courtesy of Gigi Politoski)
The Skyliners, Team USA 1 in synchronized skating and 2019 champions in synchronized skating, took home their second consecutive world medal last month. Tracy Wang and Amie Adjakple are in the top row and center and Alyssa Politoski is on the bottom row, first from the right. (Photo courtesy of Gigi Politoski)

Alyssa Politoski and Tracy Wang of Manhasset and Amie Adjakple of Great Neck helped Team USA skate to another international victory last month, as the U.S. junior team claimed bronze in an international synchronized skating competition.

In 2018, Team Skyliners won silver in the International Skating Union World Junior Synchronized Skating Championships in Croatia, marking the first ever medal for Team USA. The team captured bronze in the 2019 competition in Switzerland, and winning medals two years in a row was a first for the junior team.

“This has been an incredible season and our team’s proudest moments were skating for Team USA and bringing home medals for the United States in both of our international assignments and, of course, our history-making second world medal for our country,” Politoski, a senior at Manhasset High School, said. “Nothing feels better than that.”

The Skyliners performed a short program set to “Who Wants to Live Forever” by Queen, finishing with a score of 75.79. They performed to the opera “Carmen” the next night, earning a total score of 193.42 – just behind Russia’s Team Junost and Team Crystal Ice.

“It was the best I’ve seen them perform all season, which is what you want at the World Junior Championships,” said Josh Babb, the head coach of the Skyliners and director of synchronized skating.

Adjakple described the event as an “unforgettable experience.”

“The adrenaline, the nerves, the excitement all happens at once and it’s a feeling that’s indescribable,” Adjakple said. “I am extremely proud of how much our team grew over the course of this season, and elated that all our hard work paid off.”

The Skyliners’ third place performance comes off a series of gold and silver medal wins. They won gold at the 2018 Porter Classic in Michigan and the 2018 Synchronized Fall Classic in California, as well as silver in the Mozart Cup in Austria and French Cup in Rouen.

For Wang, the chance to travel and compete with the Skyliners was a “magical experience.”

“Personally, traveling the world with 19 best friends has been the best feeling in the world,” Wang said. “By competing internationally, not only did our performances resonate with our hard work and dedication, but it also expresses our gratitude for the opportunity to skate for the United States.”

During the season, the three North Shore students practiced about 12 hours each week with their team in Monsey, New York, Westchester County, New York, and Stamford, Connecticut. On top of this was individual training at rinks in Great Neck, New Hyde Park and Flushing.

Competing also came with academic challenges, with the girls having to miss more than 20 days of school while staying on track academically.

“The biggest challenge is balancing practice sessions and other competition responsibilities with international time differences making it hard to coordinate getting work done, handing in assignments and prepping for tests when you get back home,” Politoski said.

Town of North Hempstead officials honored the teens on Tuesday, April 9, with Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth and council members Veronica Lurvey and Lee Seeman presenting them with certificates of recognition.

Also in attendance were Great Neck Park District Commissioners Frank Cilluffo, Robert Lincoln and Tina Stellato, as well as Cindy Zubli, president of the 75-year-old Great Neck Figure Skating Club, which the skaters have been a part of since they were 5 years old.

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