MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier reached new heights in ice dancing, Roman Sadovky upset two veterans and it was a teenage medal sweep in the women’s event Saturday at the 2020 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships.
Only Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro were able to successfully defend their national title winning pairs.
The 20-year-old Sadovsky, of Vaughan, Ont., showed his bronze medal at the Grand Prix in Japan two months ago was no fluke and he won the men’s event with 260.57 points. He watched both defending champion Nam Nguyen and Olympian Keegan Messing deliver mistake filled programs to take second and third spot at 243.51 and 241.79.
“After my skate I wasn’t sure that would be enough,” said Sadovksy, seventh at last year’s nationals. “I’m just happy it was. Watching Nam and Keegan skate was another sort of stress level because you have no control. It’s not a good feeling. We all sort of struggled but fought well at the end.”
Nguyen saluted the new champion.
“Roman really put it down tonight and really deserves it,” said Nguyen. “He is such a beautiful skater to watch and he’s come a long way to get to this point. For me I can’t put the blame on the pressure. I was in a good zone mentally and physically but after that first mistake it started to unravel.”
Gilles and Poirier, skating to Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now, tabulated 225.62 points for their first career national crown in their eight-season partnership. The Toronto couple also smashed the previous national mark of 213.78 set by Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje last season.
“Going in first into the free dance is something we are not used to, we are usually chasing,” said Poirier. “It was one of those programs we really had to think through. This gives a lot of confidence heading into the last competitions of the season.”
“Getting a Canadian title is something we’ve really worked hard to get,” added Gillies. “It hasn’t come easily. But everything is about timing in life and we’ve finally found what works for us.”
World junior champions Marjorie Lajoie of Boucherville, Que., and Zachary Lagha of St-Hubert, Que., took the silver with 198.92 and Carolane Soucisse of Chateauguay, Que., and Shane Firus were third at 190.29.
“I nearly fell two times but we kept attacking the program and that’s what I was proud of,” said Lagha.
“We were hoping for a good result but not expecting this,” added Lajoie.
Moore-Towers, of St. Catharines, Ont., and Marinaro of Sarnia, Ont., nailed two triple throws on route to top spot at 215.67. Evelyn Walsh of London, Ont., and Trennt Michaud of Brantford, Ont., were second at 196.29 and Lubov Ilyushechkina of Toronto and Charlie Bilodeau of Trois-Pistoles, Que., were third at 186.71.
“My jumps are very solid so this has been a funny couple of days for me,” said Moore-Towers who popped the opening side-by-side jump but both landed the side-by-side triple toe later in the program.
“I was proud of our recovery after that second element, it’s not always easy to do.”
Walsh and Michaud put the pressure on the champs with a powerful skate.
“We went into it as the underdogs,” said Walsh. “We fed off each other for energy and had nothing to lose out there. We worked so well together that it made it a lot easier.”
The teenagers shined in the women’s free skate. Seventeen-year-old Emily Bausback soared from 10th place last year to Canadian champion with 175.54. Alison Schumacher of Tecumseh, Ont., also 17, took the silver at 168.94 and 16-year-old Madeline Schizas of Oakville, Ont., was third at 168.07.
“I’m really glad I trusted my training throughout this whole competition and the entire season so far,” said Bausback, fourth after Friday’s short program. “I worked a lot on my performance skills and projecting to the audience my story.”
Schumacher also made a great comeback after the sixth best score in the short.
“I’m a little surprised because this was quite a strong event,” said Schumacher.
Full results: 2020 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships