MILAN, Italy -- Margaret Purdy of Strathroy, Ont., and Michael Marinaro of Sarnia, Ont., are in second place after Wednesday's pairs short program at the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships.
Xiaoyu Yu and Yang Jin of China, last year's runners-up, lead at 54.91 followed by the Canadians at 53.09 and Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier of the U.S., at 52.61. Brittany Jones of Toronto and Ian Beharry of Guelph, Ont., are also in the medal hunt at fifth with 51.57.
"It went very well and we are very happy with our skate," Marinaro said. "We just wanted to get out there and execute what we've been doing in practice. We've set ourselves up well for the long program."
Jones and Beharry have both competed at previous world juniors but with different partners.
"It was one of our strongest short programs this year," Jones said. "Now all we want to do is have another clean skate in the long and let the judges decide."
Hayleigh Bell of Acton, Ont., and Alistair Sylvester of Stratford, Ont., are 14th.
In ice dancing, Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin of Russia hold the lead after the short dance with 64.65 points. Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France are second at 61.58 and Alexandra Aldridge and Daniel Eaton of the United States are third at 56.89.
Both Canadian entries stayed in contention. Mackenzie Bent of Uxbridge, Ont., and Garrett MacKeen of Oshawa, Ont., are fourth at 55.88 and national junior champions Madeline Edwards of Port Moody, B.C., and Zhao Kai Pang of Burnaby, B.C, are sixth at 54.92.
Only six points separate third from 10th.
"It's the first junior worlds for both our dance teams and they showed why today they've had strong seasons," said Michael Slipchuk, Skate Canada's high performance director. "It's great to see them up there battling with the best."