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East Aurora's Kaitlin Hawayek, her partner in good position to secure Olympic berth

Hawayek and her partner, Jean-Luc Baker, scored 205.68 points to finish third in the ice dance program at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Saturday night.
Credit: AP
Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker compete in the ice dance program during the U.S. Figure Skating Championships Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)

EAST AURORA, N.Y. — East Aurora's own Kaitlin Hawayek and her partner, Jean-Luc Baker, are one step closer to competing in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Hawayek and Baker scored 205.68 points to finish third in the ice dance program during the U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Saturday night in Nashville.

They needed a top-three finish to put themselves in top consideration for the U.S. Olympic Team. They placed in the top three by a shade more than two points, head of Caroline Green and Michael Parsons, who scored 203.27 points.

Madison Chock and Evan Bates won the event with 227.37 points. Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue took second with 225.59 points.

While the U.S. Figure Skating Championships are typically a precursor to the Winter Olympics, the final three teams must still be independently selected by Team USA.

Hawayek and Baker were ranked among the top 10 pairs in the world back in August, and they were Team USA alternates in 2018. Now they're hoping to qualify for their first Olympics in 2022.

Hawayek told 2 On Your Side that watching the athletes compete in Tokyo during the 2021 Summer Olympics gave her much-needed extra motivation as she headed into a new skating season.

Hawayek and Baker live and train in Montreal, where they worked on their routines for the season, which started in the fall.

Off the ice, Hawayek is a student in Penn State's world campus, a DJ, and has been developing and teaching makeup master classes for performing artists and athletes.