There's nothing routine with the ice dance team of Madeline Edwards and Zhao Kai Pang when it comes to succeeding at the Canadian Tire national figure skating championships.
The pair tallied their fourth national title, capturing the junior ice dance title in Mississauga, Ont.
Edwards, of Port Moody, and Pang, of Burnaby, who've won the Canadian juvenile, pre-novice and novice titles, entered last week's event with a lot of confidence on the heels of last month's Skate Canada Challenge win.
They were also looking to improve on last year's junior national debut, where they finished second.
Trailing after the short program, the duo dazzled the judges with their four-minute free dance to catapult into first place with a score of 145.25 - just under a point more than Mackenzie Bent and Garrett MacKeen of Eastern Ontario.
"They had the skate of their lives," said B.C. Centre of Excellence ice dance co-coach Aaron Lowe. "Maddie and Zhao Kai's free dance was just at a much higher level."
It was the second time in a month that Edwards and Pang had edged Bent and MacKeen, who finished second at the Skate Canada Challenge last month in Regina.
The gold medal also earned the pair a spot on Canada's national team to the junior world championships, Feb. 25 to March 3 in Milan, Italy.
"Our goal was just to make the junior world team. We haven't set our goals yet," said Pang. "We want to skate faster and have more of a presence on the ice. We really want to look like we belong on a world stage."
With last year's top five pairs from the worlds back again for a second straight year, Lowe, who along with Megan Wing guide a number of B.C.'s top ice dancers, believes this season's championships will be a reality check for his teenage team.
Based on current scores, Edwards and Pang would need another personal best to crack the top five, Lowe said.
"We tell our skaters to be ready for your opportunities by doing your job," he added. "All the top teams are super strong and fast. They have to really work on strength and speed because their performance level is world class."
Local athletes grabbed a number of podium positions at the national championships. Along with Coquitlam's Larkyn Austman, who skated away with the junior ladies national title nearly two weeks ago, senior men's skater Kevin Reynolds placed second behind Patrick Chan.
Reynolds, 22, trailed Chan 94.63 to 85.32 after the short program. In the free skate, the Coquitlam skater kept it close by netting 175.94 to Chan's 179.12.
Coquitlam Skating Club member Graeme Gordon placed 17th with a combined score of 147.74.
In the novice dance event, Gordon teamed with Brianna Delmaestro to secure silver for B.C. with a score of 88.48, just six points back of B.C.'s Danielle Wu and Spencer Soo.
- with files from Dan Olson, Coquitlam NOW