Burnaby ice dancers medal in every division at nationals

Burnaby ice dancers were the belle of the Canadian figure skating championship ball in Mississauga, Ont. last week.

Following up on Danielle Wu and Spencer Soo's near-record gold-medal win in the novice ice dance final to start the week, ZhaoKai Pang and Nicole Orford both gained the podium in their respective junior and senior dance finals.

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Pang and partner Madeline Edwards, last year's national novice champs, won a second straight Canadian championship gold medal, defeating short program leaders, Mackenzie Bent and Garrett MacKeen of Eastern Ontario, in the long free dance program.

Pang, 17, and 16-year-old Edwards scored 86.24 in the four-minute free dance to overtake the first-round leaders with a 145.25 total score, nipping Bent and MacKeen by less than a point.

The local ice dance team also earned a berth for Canada at the junior world championships to be held in Milan, Italy from Feb. 25 to March 3. Bent and MacKeen will also be participating.

Former Burnaby resident, Nam Nguyen, who relocated to Toronto last year, placed sixth in his first senior men's final.

The B.C. Centre of Excellence-trained skaters also beat runner-ups Bent and MacKeen at the Skate Canada Challenge in Regina last month.

Pang and Edward's final score would have placed them fifth overall in this season's senior dance category.

Caelen Dalmer of Burnaby and her partner Shane Firus, sixth at the Skate Canada Challenge, kept their third-place placement after the short program with a 76.53 free skate to finish with the bronze medal in the junior ice dance for B.C.

Orford and Thomas Williams, fourth after the opening short skate, made up a five-point deficit on the third-place couple of Alexandra Paul and Mitchell Islam of Ontario to take third place medal by less than a point.

Orford and Williams' third-place skate earned them a place on the Canadian team for the Four Continents championships in Osaka, Japan from Feb. 6 to 11.

Orford and Williams scored 91.04 in the free dance to finish with a total score of 152.56. The pair placed sixth at both last year's nationals and world junior championships.

Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir won their fifth Canadian senior ice dance title with an 187.23 score.

Kevin Reynolds of Coquitlam, the silver-medal winner in the senior men's championships behind Patrick Chan, will also take part in the Four Continents competition in Japan.

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