BARRIE, Ont – Meagan Duhamel of Lively, Ont., and Eric Radford of Balmertown, Ont., grabbed the lead in pairs and Gabrielle Daleman of Newmarket, Ont., tops the women standings after Wednesday’s short programs at the Skate Canada Autumn International figure skating competition.
The competition is the sixth stop on the new ISU Challenger Series.
In pairs, Duhamel and Radford lead with 68.92 points with Jessica Calalang and Zack Sidhue of the U.S. second at 59.02 and Natasha Purich of Sherwood Park, Alta., and Andrew Wolfe of Calgary third at 54.84. Vanessa Grenier of Sherbrooke, Que., and Maxime Deschamps of Vaudreuil-Dorion, Que., are sixth and Brittany Jones and Joshua Reagan of Toronto are eighth.
‘’We felt really comfortable out there and skated with freedom,’’ said Radford, the world championship bronze medallist with his partner the past two seasons. ‘’Even though we are seasoned competitors, you’re somewhat looking for your bearings at the beginning of the season.’’
In women’s competition, Daleman leads after the short program with 59.38 points. Angela Wang of the U.S. is second at 56.38 and Julianne Seguin of Longueuil, Que., third at 54.18.
‘’It felt fantastic to compete that short program for the first time,’’ said Daleman, 16, an Olympic and world championship team member last season. ‘’It was great to see the how crowd enjoyed it.’’
Canada is also in the medal hunt in ice dancing and men’s competition.
Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France are first after the short dance at 59.74, crowd favorites Alexandra Paul and Mitchell Islam of Barrie are second at 55.30 and Sara Hurtado and Adria Diaz of Spain are third at 54.14 just ahead of Piper Gilles of Toronto and Paul Poirier of Unionville, Ont., in fourth at 53.42.
‘’We are super happy with the performance we put out today,’’ said Islam. ‘’It was our first competition of the season and we just wanted to get things out there although we probably got dinged hard by the judges for struggling with our lift at the end.’’
Nicole Orford of Burnaby, B.C., and Thomas Williams of Okotoks, Alta., are sixth and Andréanne Poulin of Ile-Bizard, Que., and Marc-André Servant of Vaudreuil, Que., are 10th.
After the men’s short program, Ross Miner of the U.S. is first at 80.24, Ronald Lam of Hong Kong second at 73.75 and Jeremy Ten of Vancouver is third at 69.22.
‘’I’m disappointed in missing my Axel because I had been landing it consistently in training, said Ten, 25. ‘’Still, I came back strong for the rest of the program. That shows how much I’ve matured as a skater.’’
Nam Nguyen of Toronto is fifth, Kevin Reynolds of Coquitlam, B.C., seventh and Andrei Rogozine of Newmarket, Ont., 11th.
Competition ends Thursday with the free skates in all four event.