(December 7, 2007)
GDANSK, Poland - Ice dancers Vanessa Crone of Aurora, Ont., and Paul Poirier of Toronto and pairs skaters Amanda Velenosi of Laval, Que., and Mark Fernandez of Montreal, both stand in fourth place heading into their respective free skates after Friday’s opening performances at the ISU Junior Grand Prix Final figure skating competition.
In pairs after the short program, the Russians are 1-2-3 with Vera Barazova and Yuri Larionov first at 58.45, Ksenia Krasilnikova and Konstantin Bezmaternikh second at 53.15 and Ekaterina Sheremetieva and Mikhail Kuznetsov third at 50.25.
Velenosi and Fernandez are in the medal hunt with 49.47 points. They qualified for the final with a second place finish at the stop in Tallin, Estonia and fifth in Sheffield, England.
‘’We are very pleased,’’ said Fernandez, 19, four years older than his partner. ‘’The overall polish of our program was very good tonight. It was a better performance than what we had done earlier in the season.’’
Velenosi fell trying to land on a throw triple loop.
‘’It was our only mistake in the program,’’ she said. ‘’The throw had been going well in training and we were confident. I just went a little crooked when I was in the air. Certainly we’ll attempt it again in the free skate.’’
In ice dancing after Friday’s compulsory and original dances, Maria Monko and Ilia Tkachenko of Russia are first with 90.23 points, their compatriots Kristina Gorshkova and Vitali Butikov second at 88.33 and Emily Samuelson and Evan Bates of the U.S., are third at 87.36.
Crone and Poirier posted the fifth best score in the morning compulsory dance and the fourth best in the evening original dance and are fourth overall at 77.67 out of eight entries. The Canadian couple qualified for the final with victories at the Grand Prix stops in Romania and Croatia.
‘’We were really happy with our performance in the original dance,’’ said Crone, 16, a year older than her partner. ‘’Unfortunately we weren’t as highly ranked as we would have liked after the compulsory. So we went into the original not worrying too much about placement. We wanted to skate well and perform our program and we did a good job on that.’’
Ice dancers Joanna Lenko and Mitchell Islam of Barrie, Ont., also qualified for the final but were forced to withdraw for medical reasons and did not make the trip.
Both free skates are on Saturday.