Saturday, 23/6/2018 | : : UTC-7
Skate Today

Virtue and Moir Surge Toward Second National Title

World silver medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir continued their love affair with the Canadian fans as they went for their second National Title at the BMO Canadian Championships this morning in Saskatoon.

The leaders after the compulsory dance took to the ice with confidence. Her dressed in a pink fringy dress and him nonchalantly attired with black pants and simple white shirt with rolled up sleeves. Both smiling broadly as they took their opening pose. The duo did not disappoint and put on a show like no other finishing first in the original dance with 63.76 points. Nearly eight points ahead of their closest competition.

“A few months ago everyone laughed at me watching me walk,” Virtue explained about how far she has come since her surgery last fall.

The 19-y.o. from London, Ontario underwent surgery for chronic external compartment syndrome last September. Chronic external compartment syndrome is signified by symptoms of severe pain and tightness in the shin area of both legs. It is classified as a repetitive stress injury usually found mostly in high performance athletes. Tessa has undergone considerable physiotherapy and spent her off-ice time working on other facets of their performance. The duo who trains under coaches Igor Shpilband and Marina Zoueva at the Artic Ice Arena in Michigan missed the entire Grand Prix Season due to the injury.

However, there were few signs of those struggles as she took to the ice in Saskatoon this morning.

They opened their highly animated original dance to “Won’t You Charleston with Me” with near perfect twizzles earning a +3 GOE from two of the eight judges. They followed with well-matched midline steps and a strong dance spin. They remained in character throughout the dance and highlighted it with spectacular and innovative lifts with unusual changes of position.

For not being able to train at 100 percent the dancers appeared in remarkable shape and if anything was missing from their performance today it might have been a slight loss of speed in comparison to their usual standard.

“It’s fun for us to finally debut this program. It’s a really fun piece for us. We’re just happy being back here back at Nationals,” Tessa stated. “I think we come back with a rejuvenated sense and love for the sport. We are really fresh and are motivated to move on with the rest of the season.”

“We just skated for us today,” she added. “We weren’t concerned about the levels. We really just wanted to create the whole package of the program. So, I guess when we get back and review the tape, and we will narrow in on those elements/. Of course speed and power are always there (to work on) and spins, but focusing on getting stronger and getting more miles on it is important (in preparation for Four Continents and Worlds).”

The Canadian Champs will enter the free dance with a total of 103.09 points.

Vanessa Crone, 18, and Paul Poirier, 17, of Aurora, Ontario currently sit second with 91.18 points. Their charming portrayal of the music from the album “Scott Joplin Piano Rags” was well received by the audience.

The World Junior silver medalists took command of their program delivering a level four rotational spin with changes in direction and two exquisite lifts. On their diagonal step sequence, the Skate Canada silver medalists displayed exquisite edging and were halfway down the ice before they ever changed feet. The first lift a level four curve lift displayed wonderful positions and appeared effortless. Their second was mainly for choreographic purposes, however, adds no points to their technical mark. They moved from element to element with seamless transitions and the dance reflected the spirit and tone of the music. However, the team lost momentary focus and struggled on their final element the twizzle sequence.

“It’s what we hoped for,” Vanessa stated about standing second after the original dance. “For us just to know what we practiced all season has paid off. We just hope we can continue with our success.”

Showing marked improvement over the past year the duo has brought increased maturity to their performance. They racked up a total of 55.56 points for the original dance and will enter the free dance in second place.

Kaitlyn Weaver, 20, and Andrew Poje, 22, pulled up two spots and currently sit third with a total of 84.81 points. They skated with high energy and a mature presence in their original dance set to music from the Broadway Musical “Swing”. Their level four synchronized twizzles and level three midline step sequence were well-matched and carried nice speed throughout the elements. Unfortunately, Kaitlyn lost her balance during a transition on the rotational spin costing the duo several points. Overall, the reigning Canadian silver medalists skated with increased speed and improved ice coverage since their Grand Prix events earlier this season.

“We feel we can bring more emotion and more maturity to the competition, ” Weaver stated. “So we’re capitalizing on that, but also making sure we don’t have a weakness. We can only focus on ourselves, and that’s what our goal is.”

The 2007 World Junior bronze medalists currently split their training time between Toronto, Ontario with Shae Lynn Borne and Newington, Connecticut with Matthew Gates. They accrued a segment score of 52.92 points for their original dance.

Andrea Chong and Guillaume Gfeller hung onto fourth place after they performed a fifth place original dance to the music “Sing, Sing, Sing” and “Minnie and the Moocher” which earned them 50.93 points. They produced two level three step sequences, a level four rotational lift, a level four spin, but lost unison on the twizzle of their level four twizzle sequence. Despite the error the 2006 Canadian Junior bronze medalists displayed strong musicality and nice transitions between elements. They pocketed an event total thus far of 82.85 points.

Nipping at their heels is Siobbam Karam and Kevin O Keefe placed seventh in the original dance portion with 49.83 points. However, when combined with their compulsory dance score of 31.97 points they sit fifth with 81.80 points.

Their original dance to “Ding Dong Daddy” by Steve Perry included three level four elements and two level three step sequences. Karam struggled to stay upright on the side-by-side twizzles earning a -.25 GOE for that element. They displayed nice edging on the midline steps, however, overall the program seemed slower than the other top skaters.

2008 Canadian bronze medalists Allie-Hann McCurdy, 21, and Michael Coreno, 24, showed improvement since their performances at Skate America and Cup of Russia earlier this season. The duo who trains in Vancouver under Maiki and Victor Kratz has added retired ice dancers Meagan Wing and Aaron Lowe to their coaching team.

Their quick-stepping dance showed improved speed and well synchronized twizzles. The upbeat music of “Lili Marleen and “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” by the Andrew Sisters set the perfect backdrop for this military based routine. The program was inspired by Hann-McCurdy’s parents who both served in the military. They highlighted the program with a level three rotational spin with a unique entry but ran into a problem on their final lift which appeared to be behind the music. The 2006 Junior Champions picked up 50.00 points in the original dance and will enter the free dance with a total of 80.95 points.

2008 Canadian Junior Champions Kharis Ralph, 16, and Asher Hill, 17, finished fourth in the original dance with a point value of 51.82 points. However, when combined with their ninth place compulsory score of 27.39 points they are currently in seventh place with an event total of 79.21 points.

The youngsters highlighted their dance set to the music “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” with great edging, an effortless opening rotational lift and dance spin.

The dance event will conclude tomorrow evening with the free dance event.

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