Sunday, 22/4/2018 | : : UTC-7
Skate Today

Canadians Virtue and Moir Edge Their Way to Early Lead

There were few surprises in the compulsory dance event. Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, edged out training mates Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the USA by 0.86 points. Americans Kimberly Navarro and Brent Bommentre grabbed the third spot ahead of fellow teammates Jennifer Wester, and Daniil Barantsev, by 3.41 points. Two Canadian teams follow Kaitlin Weaver, and Andrew Poje, sit fifth with 30.94 points and Allie Hann-McCurdy, 20, and Michael Coreno, 23, follow in sixth place with 29.73 points.

The reigning Canadian Champions Tessa Virtue, 18, and Scott Moir, 20, of Ontario, Canada, earned 38.22 points in their well-timed compulsory dance. They displayed speed and velvety-smooth transitions during their Yankee Polka which went off without a hitch.

“It’s a different feeling. I suppose, we had that a little bit at Nationals,” Virtue stated [when asked how it felt to enter this event as the favourites]. “There is always pressure, the teams are amazing, and we know that we have to skate well and have to lay down three solid performances. It’s certainly not a comfortable position, and we are well aware who is coming up behind us. We’re just trying to do our best and skate like we’ve been training.”

World Junior bronze medalists Meryl Davis, 18, and Charlie White, 20, of Michigan, delivered a joyful polka displaying deep edges and wonderful flow. The duo currently train under Igor Shpilband and Marina Zueva in Canton, Michigan and placed seventh last season at their first Senior World Championships. They enter the original dance in second place with 37.36 points.

“I don’t think it was actually our seasons best. I think we could do a better Polka, but it felt pretty good,” Davis explained. “(We can improve) our unison and being much more together, and I think that we can make it much more powerful. We want to get as much experience as we can in the season going into Worlds. Four Continents is a great place to get out there one last time before you compete at Worlds.”

Americans Kimberly Navarro, 26, and Brent Bommentre, 23, currently train in Philadelphia, PA, and Newark, Delaware, under the tutelage of Robbie Kaine and Cheryl Demkowski Snyder. Both work part-time as coaches to help support their skating. The dancers Polkaed their way to third place when they blew through their previous personal best score of 29.37 demonstrating improved speed and ice coverage. They earned a segment score of 34.36 points.

“This being the last Polka of the year, we wanted to do the best Polka ever. It was a lot better than it was two weeks ago (at Nationals),” Navarro told the media. “It will be sad not to do it (the Polka) again this year. This is the first dance we competed at Nationals together a couple of seasons ago, so it’s fun to do it again as we have some history with it. We got to work with Ron Ludington (one of the creators of the dance) on it in Delaware, that’s always fun. He has all sorts of special advice and secret tricks.”

Husband and wife team, Jennifer Wester, 22, and Daniil Barantsev, 25, joined forces in 2003 after Daniil split with his previous partner Natalia Romaniuta, (with whom he won two World Junior Championships in 2000 and 2001 for Russia).

“It’s nice to come back and to see all the people I know,” Daniil said of his six year absence. “A lot of people remember me from when I was skating for Russia. It’s just a lot of fun to be at the big championships, and I forgot how much fun it was in the past six years.”

The partnership worked well and the two were married in 2006. The couple was darling and executed well-matched steps in their high-energy Polka. They accrued 30.95 points and held onto fourth place by a mere .01 points.

“I felt a bit more nervous this time, but it was good. I’m happy with how we performed. Nationals were rough, so here we were both happy after the first sequence when there were no uncharacteristic errors,” Jennifer said with excitement. (at Nationals) we had a very uncharacteristic slip on one of the pieces. There was no fall but a slip that we knew we shouldn’t have made. This is my first big international (competition). It was a lot of fun. I was more nervous, but it was a nice change of pace.”

A thread out of fourth place the U.S. /Canadian match-up of Kaitlyn Weaver, 18, and Andrew Poje, 20, in 2006 seemed magical when they won a bronze medal at Canadians after only five months. The two-some then captured another bronze medal a few months later at the Junior World Championships in 2007. The classy skaters took to the ice and displayed a lively dance with good expression and gathered 30.94 points.

“We worked a lot on this compulsory dance just trying to make it more mature and get a new feeling on it,” Andrew stated. “I think we improved it a lot. It was a challenge, because we weren’t skating together, just fighting to get through.”

“We’ve worked al lot on unison, edges, and the technical aspects as well as showmanship. We’re proud of how far we’ve come this year,” Kaitlyn added.

Canadians Allie Hann-McCurdy and Michael Coreno donned in neon yellow and pink were charming in their fun-loving Yankee Polka which accumulated them 29.73 points. The duo placed eighth at Canadians last season then took a huge leap this season winning the bronze medal last month in Vancouver.

“We like to attract attention,” Allie explained about the costumes. “I think the neon yellow does that and that lovely pink centre,” she added (referring to her brightly colored dress.)

The duo displayed improved speed edging them selves firmly into sixth place.

“We had the opportunity to do this dance at Skate Canada and Canadian Nationals and that’s the best we’ve skated,” explained Coreno. “The marks kind of reflects that. We’ve never been to Four Continents. This is our first year on the World team.”

The dance event continues on Friday with the free dance event.

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