Category: Profile

Digerness and Neudecker Focused on the Steady Climb

by Jacquelyn Thayer For every championship title that seems a foregone conclusion, another may come down to a simple decision: stay novice or take a leap of competitive faith? Before creating something of an upset in the junior pairs field at the 2017 U.S. Championships, Nica Digerness and Danny Neudecker began their off-season planning to…

Reality Surpassing Story for Stellato and Bartholomay

by Jacquelyn Thayer What might be overachievement for many new pairs — third in the short and fourth overall at their debut Nationals — is, for Deanna Stellato and Nate Bartholomay, a bit more like a storybook accomplishment. “For me last year, it was mainly about learning how to skate pairs,” said Stellato, who before…

Deardorff and Settlage Begin With the Basics

by Jacquelyn Thayer Though Skate Detroit will mark a competitive debut for U.S. pair Winter Deardorff and Max Settlage, it’s also the culmination of nearly a year’s preparation. Settlage, whose six-season pairing with Madeline Aaron concluded last summer, faced the prospect of re-entering the partner search scene while dealing with an additional complication. “One of…

In the end, a beginning for Paul and Islam

Part 2 of a two-part feature; read part 1 here by Jacquelyn Thayer Athletes have spoken of the difficulty in moving from the concretely goal-focused regimen of the sporting life to the more mundane concerns of life after. But in the first months since retirement, the mundane is what’s grounded ice dancers Alexandra Paul and…

With Paul and Islam, the end is where we start from

Part 1 of a two-part feature by Jacquelyn Thayer Perseverance: few virtues are more celebrated in sport. For athletes grappling with injury and long odds, it becomes a mantra. But just as fundamental is the confidence to know when it’s time to close a door. Canadian ice dancers Alexandra Paul and Mitch Islam initially entered…

Biechler and Dodge Find Calm in Senior Ranks

by Jacquelyn Thayer Any move up from the junior ranks in skating to senior can mean upheaval. For U.S. ice dancers Julia Biechler and Damian Dodge, bigger transitions were in the works. Though the team has long been based at Aston, Pennsylvania’s IceWorks, changes at that elite rink, where coach Natalia Linichuk once trained students…

Transitions in Progress for Gingrich and Brown

by Jacquelyn Thayer It’s common enough for skaters with neighboring levels of success — she a 2014 national novice champion with her previous partner, he 2015’s novice bronze medalist with his — to forge new partnerships as prior ones conclude. For Canadian juniors Keelee Gingrich and Parker Brown, such a match has also meant another…

Aaron and Settlage Seek to Flourish

EDITOR’S NOTE: This interview was conducted on June 27 and published July 24, to approving response from both partners. On August 10, Aaron and Settlage announced the conclusion of their partnership. This feature stands to capture their comments and perspective as they initially stood in this off-season. by Jacquelyn Thayer For two-time U.S. pewter medalist…

Connection Key to Creation for Kayne and O’Shea

by Jacquelyn Thayer Last season offered one particularly key lesson for 2016 U.S. national pair champions Tarah Kayne and Danny O’Shea: choose the music with which you connect and which, then, can connect with the audience. It led them to a successful free in skating warhorse “Music of the Night”; it led them further off…

Time and Life Shape Return Perspective for Arnold and Williams

by Jacquelyn Thayer One could say that the reports of Canadian ice dancer Thomas Williams’s retirement were an exaggeration. “I planned on continuing—that was my original plan all along,” said Williams, who split from partner Nicole Orford in early 2015. Certain reports, however, suggested that he had publicly concluded his career. “I never announced anything…