Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

January 30, 2014

Synchronized skater readies for Jr. Worlds

The Andover Townsman

---- — Leah Gens, a sophomore at Andover High School, is gearing up for the Junior Synchronized Skating World Challenge Cup in Switzerland in March as a member of the Lexettes synchronized skating team.

The Lexettes earned their second trip to the Jr. Worlds earlier this month by topping 11 teams to claim the Team USA1 title at a qualifying event in Fond de Lac, Wis. The top two teams secured spots at the Jr. Worlds.

This is Gens’ fifth year skating on synchronized skating teams. After two years on Mini Mates (juvenile) and another two years on Ice Mates (novice), she was promoted to the Lexettes, the junior team of Hayden Synchronized Skating Teams based in Lexington. The team includes skaters from across Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut and even Australia.

Before the Lexettes head to Jr. Worlds, the team is competing this week in the French Cup in Rouen, France. The Lexettes were one of the teams selected earlier in the season to represent the U.S. at the International Skating Union-sanctioned event based on the team’s accomplishments last year. The event is intended to help the team experience competing against strong teams from other countries prior to the Jr. Worlds.

In addition to team practices four days a week, Gens works on her own skating skills with the assistance of coach Erika Hammar of North Andover. She credits the Phillips Academy Ice Rink and staff, Northeast Ice Skating Club and Valley Forum Skating Rink for making her individual practices possible. She also thanks Andover High School and its teachers for their continuing support.

The Lexettes’ sister team, the Haydenettes (senior), is a four-time world bronze medalist. Gens’ mother, Chie, says the Haydenettes would be going to the Olympics if synchronized skating was recognized as an Olympic sport. Two of the Haydenettes’ skaters are students at Merrimack College in North Andover.