Canada's Duhamel, Radford finish fourth at Four Continents

Associated Press

2/12/2012 5:49:29 PM

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- As the first team on the ice for the free skate, China's Sui Wenjing and Han Cong had a chance to send a message to the other medal contenders at the Four Continents Championships on Sunday.

They did just that.

The two-time junior world champions were stellar in the free skate, earning a season-best 135.08 points for a 201.83 total that would not be eclipsed.

"We feel very excited," Han said. "Maybe tonight we can't sleep. I think later in the program there were a little nerves, but we feel we adjusted to our program. The throws were successful, and we are very pleased.

"This is our first time to win a senior competition, and we are happy and excited."

Americans Caydee Denney and John Coughlin -- fresh off a title at the 2012 U.S. championships -- had a season-best score of their own with 122.07 points, but settled for second at 185.42.

"I felt like we took a step in the right direction toward building for the world championships, and we're happy with how it all turned out," Coughlin said.

Denney and Coughlin, who have been a team only since May, will represent the United States from March 26-April 1 in Nice, France.

"Every time you go out there, you learn something," Denney said. "Especially John and I being such a new pair together, we did learn a lot from this competition. We're just going to keep pushing to grow and strengthen as a team so that we can put up a bigger score at worlds."

The American tandem of Mary Beth Marley and Rockne Brubaker took bronze with 178.89 points after a season-best 116.47 in the free skate.

"We've come a long way over the last year," Brubaker said. "A year ago, we were last after the short (program) and eighth overall. There are some points out there we know we can get, but we're headed in the right direction."

Meagan Duhamel of Lively, Ont., and Eric Radford of Balmertown, Ont., scored 114.23 points in the free skate to finish fourth overall with 171.76 points. Paige Lawrence of Kennedy, Sask., and Rudy Swiegers of Kipling, Sask., scored 100.69 points to finish in seventh with 158.66 points.

Jessica Dube of Saint-Cyrille de Wendover, Que., and Sebastien Wolfe of Terrebonne, Que., had 97.11 points in the free skate to finish eighth with 154.79 points overall.

Sunday marked the first time since the 2000 Four Continents event that the United States had two pairs teams on the medal stand.

"I've been fourth at this event two years in a row, so it's nice to crack onto the podium," Coughlin said. "We have a lot of work to do to be considered teams worthy of being on podiums at championship events, and we're just going to use this as motivation to go home and really get back to work. It's exciting to feel like we're on the right track, and we're just going to keep pushing that way."