For U. S. ice dancers Jennifer Wester and Daniil Barantsev, the road to international senior competition has been long and hard. After teaming up in early 2003, the couple has endured numerous setbacks that kept them from competing. First and foremost was Russia's refusal to release Barantsev, the 2000 and 2001 World Junior ice dancing champion with Natalia Romaniuta, to compete for the United States.
"During the first couple of years, Daniil and I were still very hopeful that his release was around the corner and we kept focused on using the time to get our partnership together but with each year that optimism wanted to fade and the tensions of daily training started to wear on us," Wester said. "Shows were a relief when we got them but they were extremely few and far between. Somehow we just didn't feel that we could stop and be satisfied with ourselves. We just feel that our rollercoaster has made it through so many turns and loops that if we can just keep riding we'll get to the station we've been dreaming about."
Except for the Lake Placid Ice Dance Championships, the couple had no where to compete. For another two seasons, they could only compete at U. S. Nationals, but not internationally. Finally last season, the couple received their first international assignment to compete at the Nebelhorn Trophy, which they won. Later, after finishing fifth at U. S. Nationals, they placed fourth at the 2008 Four Continents Championships. This season, they received their first two senior Grand Prix assignments, placing seventh at Skate Canada and eighth at Trophee Eric Bompard Cachemire.