OXFORD, Ohio - With all the championship-winning performances produced by Miami this past week, it was impossible to pick just one athlete for each gender, so the Miami Athletes of the Week connected by Frontier Communications for the week of Feb. 25 to March 3 goes to all members of the ice hockey team, the collegiate and senior synchronized skating teams and the women's swimming and diving team.
The hockey team captured the final Central Collegiate Hockey Association regular-season title with a 4-2 win over in-state rival Ohio State Saturday night. In doing so, the RedHawks secured the program's fourth CCHA regular-season championship and fifth conference crown overall, also winning the CCHA Tournament in 2011. Miami last won a CCHA regular-season title in 2009-10 and also has done so in 1992-93 and 2005-06. Senior Curtis McKenzie, freshman Riley Barber, and sophomores Blake Coleman and Cody Murphy all scored goals Saturday for Miami, which finished the regular season 22-9-5 overall and 17-7-4-4 in the CCHA, three points ahead of runner-up Notre Dame. Freshman goaltender Ryan McKay pitched a shutout for 57 minutes, allowing the 'Hawks to jump out to a 4-0 lead, as he finished with 28 saves in the victory. Coleman and Barber each had a goal and an assist in the win.
The collegiate synchronized skating team cruised to its ninth consecutive national championship Saturday, finishing ahead of its nearest competitor by 8.15 points. The nine U.S. collegiate titles dates back to 2004-05 and ties the U.S. Figure Skating record for consecutive national titles, equaling pairs skaters Theresa Weld Blanchard and Nathan Niles' nine straight titles from 1918, 1920-27 (there was no competition held in 1919). Miami capped off its second-straight undefeated season with the title and pushed its string of first-place finishes to 11 consecutive, dating back to the start of the 2010-11 season. Miami earned a season-high score of 92.26 for its Rock 'N Roll-themed program to win gold for the 15th time in the 17 seasons the RedHawks have fielded a collegiate team at the intercollegiate level. Delaware was second with a score of 84.11.
The senior synchronized skating team finished second at the U.S. National Championships, earning the RedHawks a berth to the ISU World Synchronized Skating Championships April 5-6 in Boston, Mass. Miami will make its 10th world championships appearance in program history and first since 2011. The senior team was also recognized by the Professional Figure Skaters Association for having the best team performance at the national championships, the second straight year the 'Hawks have earned the honor, garnering it for their free skate program Saturday evening. Miami earned a combined score of 191.28, its best of the season, collecting a mark of 125.54 for its 1920's inspired free skate while earning a program component score of 69.25 and a technical element score of 57.29.
The women's swimming and diving team claimed its 17th Mid-American Conference championship Saturday in the 33-year history of MAC swimming and first since 2009. What made Miami's victory even more unique is that the RedHawks climbed to the top of the standings without placing first in any of the 20 individual or relay team events - a first in the history of MAC women's swimming and diving. Miami totaled 621 points at the MAC Championships, finishing well ahead of runner-up Ohio by 116 points. Senior Bekka Westrick earned First-Team All-MAC while senior Leah Thornton, senior Maegan O'Connor, sophomore Courtney Collett, freshman Aubrey Kluth and junior Nicole Wagner were all tabbed Second-Team All-MAC selections.
The collegiate synchronized skating team has now been named the Miami Athletes of the Week twice this year and four times overall while the other teams were recognized as a whole for Miami Athletes of the Week for the first time.
The hockey team earned the No. 1 seed for the CCHA Tournament, which comes with a first-round bye. The RedHawks return to the ice March 15-17 for a best-of-three second round series at Steve Cady Arena against an opponent to be determined. Tickets can be purchased here. The varsity synchronized skating team is off for a month before heading to the ISU World Championships April 5-6 in Boston while the collegiate team is finished with its competitive season and next performs in the Miami University Ice Show April 26-27. The women's swimming and diving team is also done with its competition as a team, however select individual swimmers will compete in the NCAA Championships March 21-23 in Indianapolis.
The next Miami Athletes of the Week connected by Frontier Communications will be announced Tuesday, March 12. For a list of previous winners, click here.
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