Hometown crowd gives Scimeca and Knierim a warm welcome

26 Oct

By Nicolette House

Competing at the 2014 Hilton HHonors Skate America in Hoffman Estates, Ill. is a special treat for Chicago-area native Alexa Scimeca and her partner both on and off the ice, Chris Knierim. It’s not often skaters get to compete at home. When the opportunity presents itself, it connects the skaters and audience in a deep way.

As evident by the rousing cheers the duo received when they took to the ice Saturday to perform their short program, they have quite the support group in Chicago.

“We’ve been here a few times through this season and last season so we’ve practiced at a few of the rinks in the area,” Knierim said. “It’s nice because she (Alexa) has a lot of family here so we have a lot of support.”

Scimeca’s parents, as well as her brother, sister, aunt, nana, papa, cousins, and multiple skating friends filled the Sears Centre to cheer on the couple.

“It’s really special,” Scimeca said. “I’ve never had any family come to a Grand Prix or classified international event because of travel distance and expenses. It’s been amazing to have it in my hometown and for it to be on a weekend. My parents didn’t have to miss too much work.”

While competing has kept them busy much of the time, Scimeca and Knierim will spend an extra day in Chicago, catching up with family. Scimeca has already visited her home and spent time with her parents and the family’s beloved cats.

Scimeca began her career as a singles skater in Chicago and had her first pairs lessons at a rink not far from the Sears Centre. Scimeca trained in Addison for 10 years, before taking up pairs.

“I needed some fresh new experiences and decided to look into pairs. Jeremy Allen gave me some lessons in Illinois,” Scimeca said.

Since then Scimeca has never looked back and her pairs career is taking off. In addition to Skate America, Scimeca and Knierim are slated to compete at another ISU Grand Prix event, Trophee Bompard, in November. Scimeca and Knierim’s goal is to improve with each competition.

“We still have some technical errors we need to work out, but our other mark is growing which is something really nice to see,” Knierim said.

Part of that growing score might be attributed to a mature short program music choice, El Tango de Roxanne.  The routine pushed Scimeca and Knierim out of their comfort zone, but the style suits them perfectly.

“We definitely chose it (the music) because it’s nothing like anything we’ve done before. We typically pick something slower and softer. We wanted to spice it and do something different,” Scimeca said.

Fans of their typically soft and elegant style will be in for a treat during today’s free skate, where they will skate to An American in Paris, by George Gershwin.

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