Lajoie and Lagha reach new heights at ISU World Juniors

TAIPEI CITY – Marjorie Lajoie of Boucherville, Que., and Zachary Lagha of Greenfield Park, Que., showed a giant improvement from one year ago in their sixth place finish in ice dancing on Saturday to conclude the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships.

Rachel Parsons and Michael Parsons of the U.S. won the gold medal with 164.83 points, Alla Loboda and Pavel Drozd of Russia were second at 164.37 and Christina Carreira and Anthony Ponomarenko of the U.S. were third at 154.68.

Lajoie and Lagha, fifth after the short dance on Thursday, earned a personal best 148.26. They improved from a 13th place finish last year.

‘’It was something special to warm up with the final group of skaters and we felt we did our job,’’ said Lagha. ‘’We wanted to show that we deserved to be among the top teams.’’

‘’We are super happy, we really managed our stress levels and produced a strong skate,’’ added Lajoie.

Ashlynne Stairs of Calgary and Lee Royer of St. Albert, Alta., were 14th.

‘’Our technical scores weren’t what we wanted them to be,’’ said Stairs. ‘’So that’s something we really want to improve upon. We got a great idea this week of what we need to strive for in the future.’’

‘’The biggest improvement we need to make is on our turns and our flow on the ice,’’ added Royer. ‘’The best teams here were a lot faster.’’

In women’s competition, Alina Zagitova of Russia won the gold ahead of Japanese skaters Marin Honda in second and Kaori Sakamoto in third.

Sarah Tamura of Burnaby, B.C. gained two spots in the standings for 17th place.

‘’It definitely wasn’t my best but I’ll take this experience and learn from it,’’ said Tamura. ‘’To compete against the best in the world, you can’t make any mistakes in your program.’’

Canada was shutout of the medals at the world juniors this week. The best result was a fifth place finish for Evelyn Walsh of London, Ont., and Trennt Michaud of Strathroy, Ont., in pairs on Friday.

‘’Our long program is our absolute favorite,’’ said Michaud, who joined forces with his partner less than a year ago. ‘’Even in training we enjoy showing it off so we just wanted to do the same here. We were really calm and relied on each other the entire time.’’

‘’We’ve been in a fast lane learning curve and it’s been super fun,’’ added Walsh.

Full results:

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