Matthew Markell takes junior men’s title in comeback fashion


VANCOUVER – Lori-Ann Matte and Thierry Ferland of St-Romuald, Que., improved by one spot in junior pairs and it was worth gold on Wednesday at the 2018 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships.

Matte and Ferland, top-10 finishers at the world juniors last season, totalled 139.87 points placing first in both the short and long programs.

‘’We’re proud, we worked really hard for this,’’ said Ferland. “We were really aiming for first place after being runner-up last year. We had some little errors and could have done better but there was more pressure than usual.’’

They withstood a strong challenge from Patricia Andrew of London, Ont., and Paxton Knott of Rodney, Ont., second at 131.27 while Gabrielle Levesque of Bridgewater, N.S. and Pier-Alexandre Hudon of St-Roch-des-Aulnaies, Que., were third at 130.94.

In junior men’s competition, Matthew Markell of Prescott, Ont., roared from fourth after the short program to gold with 181.41 points. Corey Circelli of Toronto followed at 176.66 and Zoé Duval-Yergeau of Repentigny, Que., was third at 170.58.

‘’It’s been a pretty tough year with training but in the last three weeks I’ve been able to pull it together,’’ said Markell. ‘’I’ve never felt better coming into a competition and to win is insane.’’

The novice competition was completed as Brooke McIntosh of Toronto and Brandon Toste of Mississauga, Ont., won the gold medal in pairs with a Canadian record 120.24 points.

‘’It feels great,’’ said Toste. ‘’When we finished our program we felt so happy. There was a mistake on one element but we overcame that to finish strong.’’

Marine Pouliot of Lorraine, Que., and Alexandre Simard of Riviere-Ouelle, Que., were second at 110.12 and Camille Perreault of Orford, Que., and Bryan Pierro of St-Hubert, Que., were third at 107.11.

In the junior women’s short program, Sarah-Maude Blanchard of Sherbrooke, Que., leads with Olivia Gran of Kelowna, B.C., second and Alison Schumacher of Tecumseh, Ont., third. The free skate is Thursday.

The senior events, which serve as a qualification for the team that will compete at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, are on Friday and Saturday.

Full results: https://skatecanada.ca/2018-canadian-tire-national-skating-championships/