ANAHEIM, California – Canadians Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro produced their best short program of the season to stand first in pairs on Friday at the ISU Four Continents figure skating competition.

Moore-Towers and Marinaro, crowned Canadian champions last month, earned 74.66 points, a career high in international competition. Their clean skate featured a triple twist, side-by-side triple toe and a triple throw loop.

“We did everything to the best of our ability,” said Moore-Towers, from St. Catharines, Ont. “We went out there and did a clean program with big levels.”

Olympic silver medallists Wenjing Sui and Cong Han of China are second at 74.19 and their compatriots Cheng Peng and Yang Jin are third at 69.48.

Evelyn Walsh of London, Ont., and Trennt Michaud of Brantford, Ont., are sixth at 61.91 and Camille Ruest of Rimouski, Que., and Andrew Wolfe of Calgary are eighth at 57.38.

In ice dancing, the U.S. is 1-2 and Canada 3-4 after the rhythm dance. Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue lead at 81.95, Madison Chock and Evan Bates are second at 81.17. Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Waterloo, Ont., are third at 80.56 and Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Toronto fourth at 78.05.

“It wasn’t our best,” said Poje. “We definitely have things we want to move forward on and we’re looking forward to doing our best again in the free skate.”

Gilles and Poirier were also satisfied with their skate.

“We’ve had some issues with our levels in the short and those were better today,” said Poirier. “The approach to the training we took after nationals has paid off and we’ve set ourselves up well for the free dance.”

Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Sorensen of Montreal are sixth at 73.30.

The women’s competition concluded late Friday. Rika Kihira led Japan to three of the top four placings with the gold. Elizabet Tursynbaeva of Kazakhstan was second and Mai Mihara of Japan third.

Veronik Mallet of Sept-Iles, Que., surged from 12th to ninth and Larkyn Austman of Coquitlam, B.C., was 10th. Canadian champion Alaine Chartrand of Prescott, Ont., was 16th.

“I’m really happy with how I skated,” said Mallet. “Both programs were strong and I replicated what I had been doing in practice.”

Competition continues through to Sunday.

Photo Credit: Danielle Earl Photography

Full results: http://www.isuresults.com/results/season1819/fc2019/