Ice Network

Weaver, Poje take take NHK Trophy dance title

Canadian duo headed to Grand Prix Final; Hawayek, Baker win bronze
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The ice dance medalists (L-R): Silver medalists Ksenia Monko and Kirill Khavalian of Russia; gold medalists Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Canada; bronze medalists Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker of the United States. -Getty Images

The 2014 NHK Trophy concluded Sunday in Osaka, Japan, with the free dance as Canada's Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Canada danced to the gold medal. Russians Ksenia Monko and Kirill Khaliavin moved up one spot to take the silver medal and Team USA's Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker moved up from fourth to pick up the bronze.

Weaver and Poje put out a strong performance to music from The Four Seasons, earning Level 4 for their lifts and their spin. Their footwork and the twizzles were rated a Level 3. The Skate Canada champions scored 101.91 points in the free dance to finish with a final score of 169.72. The team qualified for the Grand Prix Final with the gold medal.

"Kaitlyn and I definitely feel very happy right now," Poje said. "This is the first time that we've won at NHK. We did make a couple of mistakes that we definitely want to fix going into the Final. We are very excited to go to the Grand Prix Final again.

"We hope to continue to grow the programs that we have chosen this year. We left out some levels at previous competitions and we want to make sure we use this short turn around to work on that and to put out two performances that we are very proud of and that the audience enjoys in Spain," he added.

Dancing to "Sarabande," Monko and Khaliavin completed Level 4 lifts, twizzels and a Level 4 spin. The step sequences garnered a Level 3. The duo posted a new personal best score in a free dance, recording 92.84 points to finish with 152.54 overall. This was Monko and Khaliavin's won their first medal on the senior Grand Prix circuit and are first substitutes for the Final.

"This medal is a big motivation for us," Khaliavin said. "It will help us mentally in the next competition."

Hawayek and Baker's dance to Romeo and Juliet by Abel Korzeniowski featured difficult lifts and twizzles, but the circular step sequence and the combination spin garnered only a Level 2. The reigning world junior champions scored 87.91 points in the free dance for a final score of 146.41 to win their first senior Grand Prix medal.

"Kaitlin and I are both extremely thrilled with this being only our second Grand Prix, and it's our first year as seniors," Baker said. "We really approached the event with little-to-no expectations for placement and just wanted to put our name out there on the international field, and it looks like we got there."

Nelli Zhiganshina and Alexander Gazsi of Germany moved up from sixth place to fourth place at 138.41 points, while Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland of Great Britain dropped from second to fifth place after he fell in the midline step sequence.