Purdy, Marinaro take gold in pairs

STEVE GREEN, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 10:13 AM ET

Margaret Purdy doesn't turn 15 until Monday, but she got possibly the best present she could have hoped for last night.

A Canadian figure skating championship.

The Strathroy resident teamed with Michael Marinaro of Sarnia to win the pairs gold at the BMO Skate Canada junior championships at the Western Fair Sports Centre. Skating to a Beatles medley set in a classical style, they put up 80.79 points in the free skate to finish with a 129.59-point total, a personal best.

"It went pretty much as we had hoped it would," said Purdy, who had to wait almost the entire day to perform whereas Marinaro also competed in the junior men's, finishing 12th in the morning. "I was really anxious to go in the end. I was just excited to get out there and skate. I just kept doing visualizations of our program, I watched him skate and just tried to keep my mind clear."

They took a comfortable 5.38-point lead into the free skate, but Marinaro wasn't assuming anything.

"We just wanted to get a personal best and let the judges do their thing from there. We've been skating well the last couple of weeks and we're very comfortable with our long program."

In their third season together, the two were third in novice at the nationals last year, so it's been a rapid rise to say the least.

"We've done a lot of hard work. This year has been a big learning experience for us," Marinaro said. "We had our first Grand Prix events in Germany and Poland and we learned lots."

They only had one slip when Purdy fell after landing from a throw. That apart, the crowd favourites didn't disappoint. "It was a rush," Marinaro said. "Even the arena guys from Strathroy were here supporting us."

Tara Hancherow of Contrecoeur, Que., and Sebastien Wolfe of Terrebonne, Que., were second at 115.61; Katherine Bobak and Matthew Penasse of Guelph were third at 112.48, and Taylor Steele of Strathroy and Rob Schultz of Morriston were fourth at 112.21.

In the junior women's, Eri Nishimura of Barrie, competing in her first Canadians, made good on her goal as stated in her competition biography by winning with a total of 115.55 points. Standing fourth after the short program, the native of Tokyo turned in a 72.73-point performance in the free skate.


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