(September 5, 2009 - LAKE PLACID, N.Y.) – Kaleigh Hole of Virden, Man., and Adam Johnson of Chatham, Ont., won the gold medal in their debut as a pairs team while Kharis Ralph and Asher Hill of Toronto added a silver in ice dancing on Saturday to conclude the second stop on the ISU Junior Grand Prix figure skating circuit.
Hole and Johnson took the gold with an impressive 140.87 score winning both the short and long programs. Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov of Russia were second at 129.50 and Narumi Takahashi and Mervin Tran of Japan were third at 129.34.
“We are a bit surprised but we’ve trained very hard and executed our routines really well,” said Johnson, 20. “Landing our side by side triple Salchows was a big highlight and we had some big elements at the end of our program which really helped as well.”
Hole, 16, previously skated in women’s singles but was invited to try out as Johnson’s new partner this summer. They seem to click immediately and Hole packed her bags and moved to Ontario.
“I always loved pairs skating and it was something I was eager to try,” said Hole, who was competing at her first career Junior Grand Prix event. “The biggest challenge is adjusting to your partner and that actually came together very quickly for us.”
Maddison Bird of Barrie, Ont., and Raymond Schultz of Toronto climbed from seventh to fifth overall with the fourth best long program. Katie Bobak of Guelph, Ont., and Matthew Penasse of Garden Village, Ont., took eighth spot.
In ice dancing, world junior silver medallists Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani of the U.S., took the gold with 175.95 points. Ralph and Hill earned a personal best 154.42 points for their third career junior Grand Prix medal. Lauri Bonacorsi and Travis Mager of the U.S., were third at 145.97.
“It was important for us to get the season off to a great start like that,” said Hill. “A personal best score is what we were striving for. We’ve increased the difficulty of our routines and we knew if we did them well we would get that kind of score.”
“We performed our free dance very well,” added Ralph. “What I’m most pleased with is that we got into the characters of our free dance right away and maintained that to the very end.”
Abby Carswell of Toronto and Andrew Doleman of Dundas, Ont., climbed from ninth to eighth with their free dance.
In women’s singles, Rylie McCulloch-Casarsa of Grimsby, Ont., delivered the seventh best long program but remained in ninth place less than a point fromm the seventh place finisher. Kristine Musademba of the U.S., won the gold.
On Friday, Andrei Rogozine of Richmond Hill, Ont., was eighth in men’s singles.
The third stop on the circuit gets underway later this week in Torun, Poland.
Photo courtesy of Fred Johnson