Weaver, Poje dazzle but fall short again

STEVE BUFFERY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:48 PM ET

VICTORIA — Waterloo ice dancer Kaitlyn Weaver had to fight almost as hard after the free dance on Sunday as she did on the ice.

For the third straight year, Weaver and her partner Andrew Poje, finished behind Vanessa Crone and Paul Poirier at the Canadian championships. The last two seasons, that put them in third, with Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir on top.

But this season, with Virtue and Moir out of the Canadians (the result of Virtue’s leg surgery in October), the competition between the two dance teams was for all the marbles, the national title.

Weaver and Poje certainly had something to prove. At last year’s nationals they finished a hair behind Crone and Poirier, who skate out of the Scarborough, F.C., but that placement cost them a spot in the Olympics, though they did rebound and win the Four Continents title.

There wasn’t as much pressure this season, with three Canadian dance teams already qualified for the worlds, but Weaver, 21, and Poje, 23, wanted to show that they are not after-thoughts in Canadian ice dance, which has really risen to the forefront in recent seasons.

And they rose to the occasion on Sunday, skating a complex, difficult, and passionate free dance, the final segment skated to El Tango de Roxanne by Sting, earning marks of 97.54 for their free dance. But again, the judges deemed Crone and Poirier superior, by the slightest of margins, even though many others in attendance at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre felt different.

“Ten seconds ago we where just thrilled with our performance and we still are,” an emotional Weaver said afterwards. “We can’t let the result change how we feel about today and how we feel about this week, because we’ve grown so much, coming miles from last year. This season isn’t over yet. With results like this that are so marginal, there’s no doubt in my mind that the tables can be turned at the worlds or at the Four Continents.”

Crone and Poirier scored marks of 98.41 for the free dance and 164.21 overall, with Weaver and Poje second at 163.18.

Not to take anything away from Crone and Poirier, who have skated in the shadow of Virtue and Moir over the years and are proving to be great dancers in their own right. Sunday, they skated their free dance to the Beatles’ Eleanor Rigby and certainly looked the part. She wore red, he blue and with the white ice, the colour of the Union Jack was evident in all its glory.

“There were small sections that didn’t go perfectly,” said North York native Crone, 20. “We’re picky people so unless you really know the program, I don’t think it was all that noticeable ... hopefully.”

Defending Canadian junior champions Alexandra Paul and Mitchell Islam, 19 and 20 respectively, skated a beautiful free dance to As Time Goes By, sending a message that they may be the next great thing in Canadian ice dancing. The earned world-calibre scores of 92.33 for their free and 153.90 overall for third.


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