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Dube, Davison grab pairs top spot

Dube, Davison after a 60.80 total score in the pairs short program.
Dube, Davison after a 60.80 total score in the pairs short program. (Michelle Harvath)

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(10/26/2007) - Reading, Pa. -- Canadian pairs champions Jessica Dube and Bryce Davison proved once again that they are fearless competitors as they overcame a couple of minor collisions during warm-ups to win the short program Friday night at 2007 Skate America in Reading, Pa.

The duo shook off bumps with the Russian and Chinese teams to score a personal-best mark of 60.80, edging 2006 world champions Qing Pang and Jian Tong, who scored 60.32. Competing in their first senior Grand Prix event, Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov of Russia placed third with a mark of 56.76.

In February at the Four Continents Championships in Colorado Springs, Colo., Dube sustained a severe cut to her face after being hit by Davison's skate during side-by-side spins. She underwent surgery that same night to repair a laceration on her left cheek and nose. The couple regrouped to compete a month later at the world championships, where they placed seventh.

"When something happens or with an injury, I'm able to put it to the side, go on and do my job," Dube said.

Davison said accidents will happen when four teams are on the ice practicing. During Friday night's warm-up, Dube and Davison were attempting a lift when they collided with Bazarova and Larionov. Dube fell to the ice but wasn't hurt.

"I thought I was having a Jamie Sale moment," said Dube, referring to Sale's warm-up collision with Russian skater Anton Sikharulidze prior to the free skate at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City.

"Looking back, it was kind of funny, but at the time it wasn't," Davison said of the team's brush with the Russians. "I looked at Jessica and I could tell it kind of bothered her for about 20 seconds."

A minute later, Dube and Davison had to end their lift after a close call with Pang and Tong, who were working on their footwork. Still, they were able to achieve a new milestone.

"Our goal was to beat 60 points and we did that," Davison said. "We had a couple of shaky spots. Our footwork is still new and quite shaky, but we were happy with our program."

Pang and Tong struggled with their opening side-by-side triple toe loops, with Tong stepping out of the element. He also put his foot down on the combination spin, reducing that element to a Level 1. Several of their other elements were downgraded as well.

"We got in at 4 a.m. yesterday and we are very tired," Tong said.

Bazarova and Larionov turned in a solid performance at their first senior Grand Prix. Their triple twist had good, tight rotation, and their throw triple toe loop was high and cleanly landed.

"This is a very different feeling than competing in juniors," Larionov said. "I really can't say why, but it's just a totally different feeling."

The two U.S. teams of Amanda Evora and Mark Ladwig and MeeRan Trombley and Laureano Ibarra experienced some trouble, finishing fourth and fifth respectively in the seven-team field.

Evora and Ladwig had falls on their throw triple Lutz and side-by-side triple Salchows, while Trombley and Ibarra failed to execute their side-by-side double Axels.

The pairs free skate is slated for Saturday at 3:35 p.m.