Monday, January 21, 2008

Canadian Nationals

Well Canada's best have been established...let's see who came out winners!

It was very close in the pairs competition. In the short program, defending champions and world upstarts Dube and Davison had problems, so much so that they found themselves in fifth place. Anabelle Langlois (remember her with Patrice Archetto?) and Cody Hay were in fact the leaders after the short. In third was new team of Meagan Duhamel and Craig Buntin (remember him with Valerie Marcoux?). Dube and Davison came back strong in the free skate, but a solid performance from Anabelle and Cody secured them their first Canadian victory. Duhamel and Buntin were third and will round out the world team.

Amongst the ladies Joannie Rochette gave us reason to pause. She was leading Mira Leung by just over a point and what was assumed to be a blowout was in fact a nailbiter. Virtual unknown Myriane Samson was in third coming out of the short program. But Joannie did what she has done all season and come back with a strong free skate to win the title easily. Mira Leung did manage to place second and earn another spot on the world team. Cynthia Phaneuf rallied to place third in this her comeback season...but only two spots for Canada on the world team for the women.

In Ice Dance it wasn't even close! Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir have solitified themselves as one of the top teams in the world. Without Dubreuil and Lauzon in the competiton, Tessa and Scott never looked back and easily won the Canadian title. The battle was for second between Allie Hann-McCurdy and Michael Coreno and Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje (two charming teams I had the pleasure of seeing at Skate Canada!). Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje got the better end of it and squeaked out the silver but all three teams will go to Sweden for the World Championships because of Canada's strong showing in Tokyo last year.

The men's event began with the announcement of Sandhu's withdrawal which opened things up a bit. However with only two spots available for the men's world team, it hadn't opened up much! Coming out of the short program experience trumped youth with Buttle leading by about seven points. Canada's newest sensation Patrick Chan was in second while Christopher Mabee was in third. But in the free skate Buttle struggled with his triple axle while Patrick Chan landed a beauty (as well as every other triple in his free skate!) and upset Buttle by snatching the title! Buttle did place second while Shawn Sawyer rallied back to finish on the podium in third. Also of note, young Kevin Reynolds (he finished sixth) landed a combination in the free skate that only Evgeni Plushenko has managed to complete, the quad toe-triple toe-triple loop. When Kurt Browning went to talk to him about the feat, he didn't even realize he was only the second competitor to complete it!

You can check the full results here! Stay tuned, beginning Wednesday, in person reports from U.S. Nationals in St. Paul!

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