Friday, 19/1/2018 | : : UTC-8
Skate Today

Ralph and Hill Reach the Top for the Third Straight Season

Kharis Ralph, 15, and Asher Hill, 16, claimed the top step at Nationals for the third time in a row. The duo from Ontario claimed the top prize in pre-novice in 2006, novice in 2007 and now juniors in 2008. The golden couple won all three phases of the junior ice dance event here at the Pacific Coliseum, on Thursday morning, with an event total of 145.64 points..

In their African based folk dance the teens displayed intriguing moves and colorful costumes. The duo who has been skating together since 2002, maintained near perfect unison on their opening level four midline non-touching twizzle sequence. Incorporating an authentic African flavor the couple delivered perfectly timed steps and outstanding level four lifts and gathered a segment score of 47.35 points.

The fourth place finishers at this year’s Junior Grand Prix in Lake Placid, skated with abandon during their powerful free dance to “Rainforest” by Karl Jenkins. Opening with a blazing fast level three combination spin the Scarboro skaters delivered intricate footwork, outstanding lifts, and the program was jam-packed with unusual highlight moves which intertwined with the nuances in the music. Ralph and Hill earned a segment score of 69.63 points – a new personal best.

Karen Routhier, 16, and Eric Saucke-Lacelle, 18, moved up to the second spot after placing fourth last season in the junior dance event. The couple were unable to catch their rivals but were happy with their silver medal performance and finished the three segment competition with 141.36 points.

The fifth place finishers in the Junior Grand Prix in Sophia, Bulgaria delivered strong character portrayals during their charming folk dance to Russian Gypsy Songs. The Quebec couple have only been together since 2006 and lost unison on their opening twizzle sequence. Coached by Tyler Myles and Elise Hamel, the dancers delivered a high level of difficulty and were well rewarded by the judges with 44.70 points.

Their free dance to “My Sweet and Tender Beast” was captivating and they were able to utilize the music to highlight their exquisite elements. Eclipsing Ralph and Hill on the technical score (38.87/38.13) the duo lost ground on the components (30.00/31.5) costing them the gold medal. Their opening curve lift into rotational lift was outstanding earning a positive GOE of 0.42. as were their straight line and circular step sequences. The couple earned a segment score of 68.87 points.

Sophie Knippel and Andrew Britten shocked themselves when they captured the bronze medal after being together only since April, 2007. The eighteen-year-olds stepped-up here in Vancouver and earned a event total of 135.69.

Their folk dance to “Dark Eyes” had less difficulty and they appeared less aggressive then the top two couples, but the Ontario based skaters delivered two level four spins and two level three step sequences. Their folk dance score of 44.27 kept them in contention for a medal during their first season together.

Knippel and Britten had troubles in their free dance and placed fourth when they skated to “Bolero for Strings.” They ran into problems on their opening twizzles when they were far apart and they lost unison. They earned a total of 65.53 points capturing the bronze medal.

Tarrah Harvey, 18, and Keith Gagnon, 20, finished third in the free skate with 65.88 points but the duo was unable to gather enough points for a podium placement. They earned an event total of 132.86 good enough for forth place.

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Skate Today was created in November 2004 to showcase the people of the skating world, skaters and coaches and others, who make figure skating and ice dancing a pleasure to watch for fans from around the world. The goal was to create a site that would give viewers an insight into the personalities of the people involved in this sport and to give you a more personal connection when watching them live at an event or on the television. Our staff knows how much time and dedication is put into this sport and that's why Skate Today was created.

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