ST JOHN, N.B. – Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha won their third straight national junior ice dance title on Tuesday at the 2019 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships being held this week at Harbour Station.
Lajoie, from Boucherville, Que., and Lagha, from Greenfield Park, Que. continued a solid season earning 179.71 points. Alicia Fabbri of Terrebonne, Que., and Paul Ayer of Calgary were second at 158.57 and Natalie D’Alessandro and Bruce Waddell of Toronto were third at 155.79.
Lajoie and Lagha won gold and silver in their two ISU Junior Grand Prix appearances this season then placed fourth at the Junior Grand Prix Final in Vancouver.
“This year we wanted to skate like we belonged in the senior level,” said Lagha. “There was some pressure to win again so this is a good feeling.”
Their coach Marie-France Dubreuil says the couple can contend for a medal at the world junior championships later this season.
“There was no urgency to switch them to senior,” she said. “We would like to see them stay at this level right through to the world juniors.”
There were three finals in novice competition Tuesday.
In women’s novice, Kaiya Ruiter of Calgary set a national category record with 139.57. That was almost six points better than the previous best of 133.73 set by Catherine Carle in 2017. Mélaurie Boivin of Alma, Que., followed at 131.34 and Emily Millard of Vancouver was third at 125.67.
“I always go out every time to try and get a personal best,” said Ruiter.
In ice dancing, Sophia Kagolovskaya and Kieran MacDonald of Waterloo, Ont., won the gold medal with 110.55. Kiera Kam and Mathew Carter of Vancouver were second at 105.39 and Isabel McQuilkin and Jacob Portz of Calgary were third at 103.76.
“After yesterday’s skate we really wanted to do our best in the free dance,” said Kagolovskaya.
On the men’s side, Wesley Chiu of Richmond, B.C., was the winner with 146.83, Shuma Mugii of Burnaby, B.C., second at 118.39 and Matthew Newnham of Edmonton third at 116.49.
“This is a big relief for me,” said Chiu. “I’ve been thinking about this competition all season. I really wanted to win.”
Competition continues through to Saturday.