With 48.22 points, Tara Hancherow and Sébastien Wolfe (QC) are at the top of the leaderboard after the junior pairs short program. Their clean skate featured side-by-side double Axels and a strong level three straightline step sequence. Their gentle skating style and strong elements have given them just over a three-point lead heading into the free skate.
One of the favorites heading into the event, Natasha Purich and Raymond Schultz (AB/NT/NU) are in second with 45.15 points. Their Zorba the Greek short program was full of energy and character, and they got the crowd clapping at a few points. Though they also did side-by-side double Axels and executed a clean throw triple toe loop (as opposed to Hancherow and Wolfe’s double), their score was perhaps hurt by a level one death spiral and some unison breaks in their side-by-side combination spins.
Taylor Steele & Rob Schultz (WO), who are currently in third, competed along side Purich and Schultz at the Junior Grand Prix Final last month. At that event, Steele and Schultz finished fourth while Purich and Schultz were seventh.
In this event, Steele and Schultz’s lyrical Malena short program scored 43.50 points and has them in podium position despite a fall on the throw triple toe loop. Their side-by-side double Axels were strong, though, as was the overall choreography of their program.
Close behind Steele and Schultz are their Western Ontario teammates, Katherine Bobak and Matthew Penasse. Known for their dynamic elements, their double twist and their lift were among the highlights of the program, which opened with excellent side-by-side double Axels. Their only struggle came on the landing of the throw triple toe loop. With 43.21 points, they are in fourth place and still in the mix for the medals.
Natalie Kwong and Garnet Suidy (AB/NT/NU), together since only last summer, round out the top five with 41.48 points. They executed a clean, confident program, but their solo jumps were only double loops, so they were at a disadvantage in terms of base value before they even began.