Calgary, AB (January 12, 2024) – The 2024 Canadian National Skating Championships have been good for the Les Suprêmes synchronized skating teams from Saint-Léonard, Que. On Friday, their senior team completed a clean sweep for the discipline by winning the senior national title, just one day after their junior team won the junior national title at the WinSport Arena in Calgary, Alta.
The senior Les Suprêmes team are the reigning World Champions so expectations were high for them and they didn’t disappoint, finishing the event with an overall score of 216.79 to win gold. The Nova team from St-Hubert, Que., actually had the top-scoring free skate of the day which moved them up from the third after the short program to capture silver with a total score of 213.97, while Nexxice from Burlington, Ont., who were the reigning Canadian champions, settled for the bronze medal with a total score of 205.95.
“We’re really happy with both of our skates; we had two clean skates, exactly like in practice. Of course, we still have things we can improve, and we’ll be working on that for the next few months,” said Julia Bernardo, co-captain of Les Suprêmes.
While the synchronized skating competition wrapped up, the senior women’s, men’s, pair, and ice dance competitions got started, with the women first in line.
Madeline Schizas of Oakville Ont., the two-time defending Canadian senior champion, finished the day well out in front with a score of 63.63, followed by Kaiya Ruiter who delighted her hometown Calgary crowd and scored a 58.25, and Sara-Maude Dupuis of Montreal, Que., in third with a score of 57.87.
“I thought the performance was good. I really felt like I gave my all on the performance side. The tech elements weren’t all there, but I thought the rest of it was really clean, and overall I’m happy,” said Schizas following the competition.
Next to compete were the ice dance teams, and to no one’s surprise, Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Toronto, Ont., the two-time ice dance World Championships bronze medallists, finished the day in first with a score of 86.78. Marie-Jade Lauriault and Romain Le Gac of Ste-Anne-des-Plaines, Que., are sitting in second after scoring 78.00, followed closely by Alicia Fabbri of Terrebonne, Que., and Paul Ayer of Brossard, Que., who established a new personal best score of 77.55 to finish in third.
“We had some cobwebs to get out of the system,” said Poirier. “I wouldn’t say it was the best skate of our lives, but I think some things that we have worked on and changed have been successful and other things just need a little bit more consistency and time to practice. We’re pleased with how this performance went and we’re really looking forward to the free dance tomorrow.”
The pair competition followed the rhythm dance, and saw Deanna Stellato-Dudek of Chicago, USA and Maxime Deschamps of Vaudreuil-Dorion, Que., the defending Canadian champions, finishing in first with a score of 66.86 – just narrowly ahead of Lia Pereira of Milton, Ont., and Trennt Michaud of Brantford, Ont., who finished second with a score of 66.04, due to an uncharacteristic fall on Stellato-Dudek and Deschamps’ throw triple loop. Kelly Ann Laurin of St-Jérôme, Que., and Loucas Éthier of St-Alphonse, Que., sit third with a score of 62.21.
When asked about the fall, Stellato-Dudek commented: “We’ve done probably close to like 100 throws in the past three weeks – working on them a lot. I’m not really sure what went wrong today.” Looking forward to the free skate tomorrow, she added: “The free, we’re just looking to hopefully do a better job than we did at the (Grand Prix) Final and show some of the improvement we’ve worked really hard on for the last three weeks.”
Closing out the evening was the men’s short program which was dominated by Wesley Chiu of Vancouver, B.C. who delivered a solid performance to set a personal best of 88.98. Aleksa Rakic of Burnaby, B.C., currently sits in second place with 75.49, while Anthony Paradis of Boisbriand, Que., made his senior championships debut with a score of 74.16 to finish third.
The competition part of the 2024 Canadian National Skating Championships will finish Saturday with the free skate for all disciplines, with the Championships themselves wrapping up on Sunday with the exhibition gala.