OSHAWA, Ont. (January 13, 2023) – Keegan Messing capped Friday’s start to senior competition by placing first in the men’s short program at the 2023 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships.
Messing, the defending champion, earned 94.40 points with Conrad Orzel of Toronto second at 86.16 and Matthew Newnham of Edmonton, 15th last year, standing third at 79.75.
A two-time Olympian, Messing has announced this is his last season. He is also dealing this week with the extra stress of his wife Lane due to deliver their second child any day now.
‘’This is my final competition on Canadian soil,’’ said Messing. ‘’To go out there today, to have the crowd right there behind me, I’m overjoyed. I’ve always tried to put on my best performance to entertain the crowd. There are no words.’’
Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps of Vaudreuil-Dorion, Que., are on track for their first Canadian title standing first after the pairs short program with 73.20. Brooke McIntosh of Toronto and Benjamin Mimar of Terrebonne, Que., are second at 66.67 and Kelly Ann Laurin of Saint-Jérôme, Que., and Loucas Éthier of Saint-Alphonse-de-Granby , Que., are third at 65.61.
Stellato-Dudek has been battling flu-like systems for the past few weeks.
‘’It’s slowly getting better,’’ said Stellato-Dudek, a double medallist this season on the ISU Grand Prix circuit. ‘’But it’s still not gone, and I feel it when I’m skating. It’s really annoying. But we’re feeling more confident and had better training under our belt heading into nationals than we did for the Grand Prix Final.’’
In ice dancing, Laurence Fournier-Beaudry and Nikolaj Sorensen of Montreal are first after the rhythm dance with 87.06. Marjorie Lajoie of Boucherville, Que., and Zachary Lagha of Saint-Hubert, Que., stand second at 84.91 and Marie-Jade Lauriault and Romain Le Gac of Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines, Que., are third at 77.34.
Two-time defending champions and recently crowned ISU Grand Prix Final champs Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Toronto withdrew earlier this week after Gilles underwent an appendectomy.
‘’Our goal since the beginning of the year was to win nationals whether Piper and Paul were here or not,’’ said Sorensen, a double medallist this season on the ISU Grand Prix circuit with his partner. ‘’We know that’s setting the bar high but we’ re trying to step it up and to do that we have to beat people we’ve never beaten before.’’
Defending champion Madeline Schizas of Oakville, Ont., took the lead in the women’s event with 68.32 points in the short program. Lia Pereira of Milton, Ont., follows at 61.21 and Fiona Bombardier of Newmarket, Ont., is third at 60.52.
‘’There were parts I was happy with and parts I was less thrilled about,’’ said Schizas, 19, a 2022 Olympian. ‘’I sometimes struggle when I skate last because of the wait, but I managed it better here than at Skate Canada International (in October).’’
The synchronized skating portion of the competition concluded Friday with NEXXICE from Burlington, Ont., dethroning reigning world champions les Suprêmes from Saint-Léonard, Que. NEXXICE collected 230.39, Nova, from Saint-Hubert, Que., followed at 222.68 and les Suprêmes, first after the short program, were third at 222.18.
‘’Its really special and a dream come true,’’ said NEXXICE co-captain Tegan Orr. ‘’I grew up in synchro so having this happen for me and this group of girls is really special.’’
This was the first time the synchronized skating events were part of the National Skating Championships.
Competition ends Saturday with the senior free skates.
For full results click here.