Tuesday, July 7, 2009

McLaughlin, Brubaker to train with Nicks

Two-time U.S. pairs champions Keauna McLaughlin and Rockne Brubaker are ending their professional relationship with Dalilah Sappenfield and will train with John Nicks in Aliso Viejo, Calif.

"After careful consideration, and with support from Dalilah, Keauna and I made the decision to make this change as we approach this very important season," Brubaker, 22, said.

"We look forward to working with Mr. Nicks this season to attain our goals of qualifying for the Grand Prix Final, retaining our U.S. title and preparing for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games."

McLaughlin and Brubaker were teamed by Sappenfield in early 2006. They achieved fast success, winning every competition they entered their first season, including the 2007 U.S. junior and 2007 world junior titles.

The following season they made their mark on the ISU Grand Prix, placing second at both the Cup of China and NHK Trophy, and won their first U.S. senior title. They did not compete at the world championships because McLaughlin, at 15, was too young under ISU rules.

This fall, the couple placed second to world champions Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy at Skate America and won bronze at Skate Canada but missed qualifying for the Grand Prix Final. At the 2009 AT&T U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Cleveland, a disappointing short program put them second to unheralded Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett going into the free skate, but they scrambled to win their second U.S. title by a slim margin.

Difficulties with side-by-side triple jumps marred their world senior debut in Los Angeles in March, where they placed 11th overall.

Full article.

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