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Moore-Towers and Moscovitch ready for battle

Pair heading to Moncton aiming for strong performances

Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch are trying to defend their national title.
Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch are trying to defend their national title. (Getty Images)

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By Lois Elfman, special to icenetwork.com
(01/13/2012) - Defending pairs champions Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch are heading into next week's Canadian Figure Skating Championships in Moncton, New Brunswick, with positive attitudes and clear insight into the realities of skating competitions.

"We try and take everything in stride and step by step," Moscovitch said during a teleconference Thursday morning. "Nothing is given. We have to take Moncton as we still have to qualify for Four Continents and worlds. There are some strong teams, so we don't really go in thinking there's a given that we're going to move on past it.

"Of course, we look past it toward Four Continents and worlds and prepare ourselves, but we have to go into Moncton with the attitude that we still have to skate to earn our spots."

"We don't try to put pressure on defending a title as much as going and skating well," Moore-Towers said. "It's up for grabs for anyone who skates well, so we'll just have the mentality to go in and perform and skate to our ability. If it's ours, it's ours. If not, that happens. We're definitely trying not to focus on defending as much as skating."

It has been less than three years since Moore-Towers, 19, and Moscovitch, 27, teamed up. In only their second season together they won medals at their two Grand Prix competitions and qualified for the 2010 Grand Prix Final. Then they won the 2011 Canadian title and finished eighth at their first world championships.

They medaled at Skate America and Cup of China last fall but fell short of qualifying for the Grand Prix Final, losing a tiebreaker to two other teams.

Through their experiences, Moore-Towers and Moscovitch have learned what to expect at the elite level of competition.

"Last year, everything kind of happened really fast," Moscovitch said. "This year, we had stronger fields at our Grand Prixs. I felt we did a good job measuring up with the stronger fields, so we're happy about that. Going into Moncton, we've been training really well. We feel good, and we hope to do two clean programs and let the chips fall where they may."

The duo trains in Kitchener-Waterloo with coaches Kristy and Kris Wirtz, themselves world and Olympic competitors. Choreographer Mark Pillay recently spent time with Moore-Towers and Moscovitch fine-tuning their programs, although they haven't made any major changes since their Grand Prix events.

The Canadian championships is a massive event, with competition at the novice, junior and senior levels. Moore-Towers and Moscovitch are acutely aware that for some skaters this is their first trip to a national championship, and they arrive with wide eyes taking in the experience.

"I don't think we're so much role models in the way we skate as in the way we carry ourselves," Moore-Towers said. "I think all the senior skaters are a little bit like that for some of the younger skaters, who don't really know how to act professional in a competition setting yet. Whether they look up to us in skating or not, I always want to show people that we know how to be professional.

"For sure, when I was a younger skater I certainly remember which skaters that were older than I were pleasant and fun to be around and which ones maybe weren't so much. I've carried that experience with me in my career thus far. I certainly want to make a good impression for myself on all the younger skaters."

Moscovitch, who is the skaters' representative for the Western Ontario section, said he sees being a good role model as a responsibility.

Although they are the defending champions, the pair doesn't see themselves as favorites for the 2012 title, as there are several good teams in Canada.

"We're skating better than we ever have," Moscovitch said. "I think that says something, but it's up for grabs. Ice is slippery; anything can happen. I think it will be an exciting event."