Golden Skate

Ralph and Hill win junior title in Vancouver

Kharis Ralph and Asher Hill (CO) were the winners in the Junior Ice Dance division, followed by Karen Routhier and Eric Saucke-Lacelle (QC) and Sophie Knippel and Andrew Britten (BC/YT), respectively.

Ralph and Hill placed first in the Free Dance (FD) with their performance to Rainforest – an unusual, yet interesting piece which the team interpreted beautifully. Their routine was highlighted by a very good combination dance spin, nice lifts, and very good diagonal and serpentine footwork. The 2007 novice champion placed first with 69.63 points and overall (145.64 points).

“It’s been very stressful,” admitted Ralph when asked about there experience here in Vancouver. “My partner Asher has been doing two disciplines and it’s very hard for him to keep his energy up. I’m really proud of him.”

In addition to winning the Novice title last year, the team also won the Pre-novice title in 2006. “It’s very exciting to win for the third time,” added Ralph.

Routhier and Saucke-Lacelle also delivered a good performance, placing a close second in the FD (68.87 points) and overall (141.36 points). Their soft and romantic program to My Sweet and Tender Beast told the story well. The team was completely connected with the music and with each other which showed in their big sweeping curves. The highlights of their routine included a very good level 4 curve-combination lift, as well as level 3 circular and diagonal footwork.

“It’s been great,” said Saucke-Lacelle about his time in Vancouver. “All the hosts have been really nice, and overall it’s been a good experience.”

Tarrah Harvey and Keith Gagnon (BC/YT), who stood in fifth after the OD, placed third in FD (65.88 points) and fourth overall (132.86 points). The team showed matching lines and positions with excellent speed and flow in their routine to Happy Valley/Portrait, and the their movements reflected the variations of tempo and mood. Their dance was highlighted by two good level 4 lifts and good level 3 circular and diagonal footwork.

Knippel and Britten placed fourth in the FD with 65.53 points, but with a total score of 132.86 points, maintained third overall. The 18-year-olds performed a a technically difficult program, but appeared somewhat cautious and didn’t seem to have the ‘freedom of movement’ or connection to the music Bolero for Strings. Their dance featured four level 4 lifts and good level 3 circular and midline footwork, but they seemed to struggle with their twizzles.

Knippel told the press that it was a lot of fun competing in Vancouver. “It’s been a great experience to come here and be able to show our programs that we’ve worked so hard on.”

Anna Stanislavska and Dylan Fieldhouse (EO) placed fifth in the FD (63.13 points) and overall (130.32 points). Although a little slow, the team showed good interpretation of the music to the Bombay Dreams soundtrack. They made some minor errors during the twizzle sequence and midline step sequence, but otherwise gave a clean performance.

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