Colorado ice dancers Jane Summersett and Todd Gilles hope to reach new heights this season by winning a medal at U. S. Nationals in senior dance. They've finished sixth the last two years so a leap to the podium is not out of the question. Gilles has been on top previously, winning the junior title in 2005 with Trina Pratt.
Gilles was the first in his family to start skating, beginning when he was four. But his twin sisters, Alexe and Piper, followed him into the sport with Piper also competing in ice dance with Zachary Donohue.
Summersett started skating when she was just a toddler. "My Mom was involved in teaching the Basic Skills Program and she put me on the ice with a walker when I was very young," Summersett recalled. "All of my older sisters skated too."
"I became interested in dancing with a partner around 2001, as opposed to doing freestyle and dancing solo during my previous skating years," she continued. "I wanted to try something new. Now I'm obsessed and can't just skate alone."
Summersett started dancing with Elliott Pennington and the couple won a bronze medal in junior dance at U. S. Nationals in 2006 before splitting up. After sitting out the 2006-07 season, Summersett paired up with Gilles in April 2007.
"Trina quit in December before Nationals," Gilles noted. "So I missed the end of that season. My Mom saw on icedance.com that Jane was looking for a partner so we had a tryout in Colorado Springs. It was my first tryout after Trina left."
The dancers clicked immediately, winning the original and free dances at the Lake Placid Ice Dance Championships in 2007, a feat they repeated in 2008. They then placed sixth at the Golden Spin of Zagreb in their first international competition and finished sixth at U. S. Nationals in 2008.