COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- U.S. champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White took a step toward successfully defending their Four Continents Figure Skating Championships ice dance title by winning the short dance Saturday.
The 2011 world champions and 2010 Olympic silver medallists finished their program with a mark of 72.15, edging reigning Olympic champions Tessa Virtue of London, Ont., and Scott Moir of Ilderton, Ont., who had 71.60 points.
"We felt really good out there," White said. "Everyone likes to talk about altitude, but we tried hard to counter, and it helped our performance. The characters were better portrayed. Technically, we need to work on our levels, so we'll get back to work on that."
Moir feels good about his and Virtue's chances Sunday in the free dance.
"It was a good skate for Tessa and I the way that we attacked it," Moir said. "I made a couple of mistakes, and there are some places where we can make up some points at worlds, but all-in-all, the changes we have done in the last month -- and specifically in the weeks since nationals -- have really worked well.
"We had a strong skate, so we have to be happy with that, and it sets us up well for tomorrow."
Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, both of Waterloo, Ont., were third at 64.23, and two-time U.S. silver medallists Maia and Alex Shibutani were fourth with 63.38.
"This was one of our better performances this season," Weaver said. "We started bobbly with the rhumba patterns, but we forgot that and built toward the end. It's hard to do with this rhythm to get through and have energy throughout. We are looking forward to doing this one more time at the world championships."
Fifth place went to 2012 U.S. bronze medallists Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, who earned 49.93 points for their program.
Alexandra Paul of Midhurst, Ont., and Mitchell Islam of Barrie, Ont., are sixth.