That’s the number of spots Michael Marinaro and his partner Kirsten Moore-Towers need to move up at the Canadian Tire National Skating Championships next month in Halifax.
If they do, they would qualify for the ISU Four Continents event in Taipei in February, and the World Figure Skating Championships in Boston a month later.
“Right now we are ranked fourth, (in Pairs in Canada) so we need to move up one spot,” said the product of the Point Edward Figure Skating Club.
“So we are really pushing it hard to be on our A game in Halifax.”
Marinaro said the only down time for the pair between now and the nationals will be returning to their respective hometowns for a four-day break over the holidays.
He and Moore-Towers are training hard with five new coaches and a new choreographer in Montreal this season in a bid to crack the podium at Nationals.
“It is going really well,” he said.
Their training partners include reigning World Pairs Figure Skating Champions Meagan Duhamel and Eric Bradford of Canada, as well as one of the top American duos, Marissa Castelli and Mervin Tran.
“It’s definitely a huge bonus being here in Montreal,” said the 23-year-old. “We’ve learned a ton from skating beside them every day.”
If Marinaro and Moore-Towers finish in the top three in Halifax their goal would be a top ten finish at the World event in Beantown. There is a fine line between the talent levels of the top ten pairs in the world, he said.
“Everybody is pretty much doing a similar program out there, and whoever has a little stumble is going to get dinged for it. The top teams in the world are all very close together.”
Earlier this year, Marinaro and Moore-Towers won a bronze medal at the Skate Canada International event in Lethbridge, Alberta.
“It was our first Grand Prix medal for the two of us,” said Marinaro, who joined forces with Moore-Towers 18 months ago.
He had previously won several international medals at the junior level with former partner Margaret Purdy of Strathroy, including silver at the Junior World Championships in Milan in 2013.