HIROSHIMA, Japan — Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker of the United States overtook leaders Tiffani Zagorski and Jonathan Guerreiro of Russia to win the ice dance gold at NHK Trophy on Sunday, while the Canadian pair finished a career-best fifth at a Grand Prix event.
The Americans, the 2018 Four Continents champions, won the free dance with 113.92 points for a total of 184.63 to move up to first place and take the first Grand Prix medal of their career after a handful of near misses.
The bronze went to Rachel Parsons and Michael Parsons of the United States.
"Our main goal was really to try to put out two solid performances, but also to understand our programs," Baker said. "It is our first event. We really just wanted to get our feet wet. We're very happy that we're walking away with the gold medal."
Canadians Carolane Soucisse and Shane Firus improved by three spots over their Skate Canada performance two weeks ago with a fifth-place finish.
Soucisse, from Chateauguay, Que., and Firus, from North Vancouver, totalled 169.84, which was also a 13-point improvement over their Skate Canada showing and less than three points off their personal best internationally.
''We are going to keep working to get it better every time," said Firus.
The fifth stop on the circuit is later this week in Moscow.
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