Burnaby ice dancer takes gold at Junior Grand Prix in Oz

Moscrop grad Nicole Orford and partner Thomas Williams of Alberta won the gold medal in ice dancing at junior Grand Prix figure skating event Down Under.

Orford and Williams moved up from third place after the short dance to score a personal-best 127.21 points skating to music from Gone with the Wind in their long program at the International Skating Union competition in Brisbane, Australia on Saturday.

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The Canadian's pair, coached by former Olympians Megan Wing and Aaron Lowe, scored another personal-best skate in the long program, garnering 76.32 points to pass both first-round leaders Lauri Bonacorsi and Travis Mager of the U.S. and the eventual third-place-finishing Russians Valeria Zenkova and Valerie Sinitsin.

Skating in just their second season together, Orford and Williams scored 50.89 points following the short dance, leaving them less than two points behind the Americans.

"We stayed together and connected," said the 18-year-old Orford in a Skate Canada press release. "We feel really happy with how we skated. I think the judges like the smoothness of the program."

Last year, Orford and Williams won a bronze medal in Sheffield, England, and placed fifth in Ostrava, Czech Republic as a first-time pair.

They were also the gold medallists in junior ice dance at the 2011 Canadian figure skating championships earlier this year.

North Vancouver's Liam Firus also medalled in Brisbane, picking up a bronze medal with a personal-best 180.00 showing, while also equalling his best career result on the junior GP circuit. Last year, Firus, 19, also placed third in the junior men's GP figure skating event in Sheffield.

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