Lajoie and Lagha win gold at ISU Junior Grand Prix

RICHMOND, B.C. – Marjorie Lajoie of Boucherville, Que., and Zachary Lagha of Greenfield Park, Que., won the gold medal Friday in ice dancing at the fourth top on the ISU Junior Grand Prix figure skating circuit.

The couple posted a personal best 166.52 points for the victory. Russian couples followed with Polina Ivanenko and Daniil Karpov second at 149.39 and Ksenia Konkina and Alexander Vakhnov third at 147.92.

Lajoie and Lagha earned silver two weeks ago at the second stop in Linz, Austria.

‘’We made a few changes since the last junior Grand Prix and it has already paid off,’’ said Lagha. ‘’The beginning could have been a little bit better. But after the spin we just calmed down.’’

Natalie D’Alessandro and Bruce Waddell of Toronto were sixth and Miku Makita of Anmore, B.C., and Tyler Gunara of Burnaby, B.C. were eighth.

‘’We are continuing to build with these junior Grand Prix experiences,’’ said D’Alessandro. ‘’We were quite nervous but we were able to turn those nerves into really good energy.’’

‘’We were very excited with how we skated today although we were nervous,’’ said Makita. ”It was a whole new experience for us.’’

Russia was 1-2 in women’s competition. Anna Shcherbakova took the gold and Anastasia Tarakanova the silver. Rion Sumiyoshi of Japan was third.

Sarah Maude-Blanchard of Sherbrooke, Que., was ninth, Hannah Dawson of Vankleek Hill, Ont., 10th and Alison Schumacher of Tecumseh, Ont., 12th.

‘’It was definitely a learning experience after coming back from a disappointing short program,’’ said Schumacher. ‘’I really had to dig deep today for the free and trust my training. I was really glad I persevered and fought through it.’’

Russian couples are 1-2-3 after the pairs short program. Patricia Andrew of London,Ont. and Paxton Fletcher of Rodney, Ont., are seventh, Chloe Panetta of Laval, Que., and Benjamin Mimar of Terrebonne, Que., eighth and Camille Perreault of Orford, Que., and Bryan Pierro of St-Hubert, Que., are 10th.

In Thursday’s men’s short program, Ilya Kovler of Richmond Hill, Ont., stands third with 72.16. Tomoki Hiwatashi of the U.S. leads at 76.81 and Yuma Kagiyama of Japan second at 75.60.

Thirteen-year-old Stephen Gogolev of Toronto is seventh and Beres Clements of Richmond, B.C. ninth.

The men’s and pairs free skates are on Saturday.

Full results: ISU JGP Canada 2018

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