The opening day of action at the 2016 Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in Taipei City on Feb. 18 saw Team USA's ice dancing contingent get off to an incredible start, as all three pairs placed in the top four following the short dance round. 

Newly crowned US national champions Maia and Alex Shibutani claimed top billing with a personal best mark of 72.86 for their Coppelia program. Reigning Four Continents gold medalists Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Canada, who earned the highest style marks of the bunch for their waltz, trail the Shib Sibs by a fraction of a point with a 72.42, while 2014 event champs Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue are third (69.36).

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Olympians and former US title holders Madison Chock and Evan Bates enter the long program in fourth with a 67.05.

Following the competition, Maia told reporters that she thought they'd delivered their "strongest" short program to date. Via Twitter, the duo thanked fans for their support and looked forward to the final, which is set for Friday.

4CC 2016: Full Short Dance results

The full results of the Four Continents short dance round are as follows:

  • 1. Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani, 72.86
  • 2. Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, 72.42
  • 3. Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, 69.36
  • 4. Madison Chock and Evan Bates, 67.05
  • 5. Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier, Canada, 63.92
  • 6. Elisabeth Paradis and Fracois-Javier Ouellette, Canada, 60.15
  • 7. Kana Muramoto and Chris Reed, Japan, 57.13
  • 8. Shiyue Wang and Xinyu Liu, China, 56.49
  • 9. Min Yura and Alexander Gamelin, South Korea, 55.23
  • 10. Anastasia Khromova and Daryn Zhunussov, Kazakhstan, 48.19
  • 11. Lee Ho-jung and Richard Kang-im Kam, South Korea, 47.46
  • 12. Emi Hirai and Marien de la Asuncion, Japan, 47.09
  • 13. Rebeka Kim and Kirill Minov, South Korea, 44.69
  • 14. Yiyi Zhang and Nan Wu, China, 42.01
  • 15. Xibei Li and Guangyao Xiang, China, 39.64
  • 16. Matilda Friend and William Badaoui, Australia, 33.00

Elsewhere at the competition, Team USA's Mirai Nagasu earned the highest placement of the nation's ladies when she finished the short program in third place behind leader Satoko Miyahara of Japan.

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The country's other two entrants, reigning national title holder Gracie Gold and 2015 US bronze medalist Karen Chen, both faltered, and enter the long program in ninth and 12th, respectively.

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