Wednesday, June 23, 2010

McLaughlin, Brubaker announce end of partnership

Pairs skaters Keauna McLaughlin and Rockne Brubaker, two-time (2008-09) U.S. champions and the 2007 world junior champions, announced today that they have decided to end their partnership after four years together.

McLaughlin plans to take a year off from competitive skating to focus on her schoolwork, while Brubaker will continue skating and begin the search for a new partner.

"My goal has always been to win world and Olympic medals; I still plan on working toward that goal and look forward to new challenges," Brubaker said.

"Rockne and I have had an amazing career together, and I can't thank him enough for that," McLaughlin said. "Right now I feel like I need to devote time to school as well as other interests -- photography, art, dance -- and spend some time away from skating competitively."

Partnering in 2006, McLaughlin and Brubaker won every event they entered in their first season together, including the 2006 Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final and the 2007 World Junior Figure Skating Championships.

In the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons, the team claimed two U.S. titles and medaled at all four of its assignments in the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series, winning three silvers and a bronze.

McLaughlin and Brubaker left Colorado Springs and their coach of three years, Dalilah Sappenfield, in early 2009 to train with John Nicks in Aliso Viejo, Calif. Last season saw the team take home a bronze from the 2009 Rostelecom Cup, place fourth at 2009 Cancer.Net Skate America and come in fifth at the 2010 AT&T U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Spokane, Wash. They capped their career together with a silver-medal win at the 2010 Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in Jeonju, Republic of Korea.

"Keauna and I have had a wonderful career together, and it has been a great experience," Brubaker said. "I wish her all the best and feel truly honored to have worked with her."

"We'd like to thank our families, fans and sponsors," McLaughlin and Brubaker said. "Last season was tough to get through, and we couldn't have done it without their support."

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