|OUR STORY: After the US Championships in 2009 Andrew Speroff, who had much success through the Junior Pairs level, was looking for a new partner. At the same time, Gretchen Donlan, a Junior Lady freestyler, decided to try pairs. Through Ice Partner Search, Andrew was contacted by Coach Bobby Martin in Boston regarding a tryout with Gretchen. Never dreaming that the perfect partner for him was halfway across the country, Andrew agreed to the tryout, and the proverbial balls were set in motion.
It took only one session for Andrew to be convinced that Gretchen was the partner he was searching for, and the feeling was mutual. Their beautiful lines on the ice and connection off the ice were apparent. At first reluctant to leave his family and friends in Colorado Springs, after a brief visit to Boston, Andrew made the decision to move to the east coast to skate with Gretchen and be trained by Bobby Martin, Sheryl Franks and Carrie Wall at The Skating Club of Boston.
Their first season together was anything but smooth sailing for the team. Within the first two weeks of training, Gretchen developed severe back pain and was eventually diagnosed with two stress fractures in her back. She was off the ice for the majority of the summer, returning to the ice for only a two-week period in order to take her pairs tests through the Junior level. Following the completion of the tests, with only a couple of weeks of training, the team put together two programs and competed at the Midwestern Sectional Championships, placing second and earning a Nationals berth. At the 2010 U.S. Championships the team was able to finish in 8th place in Junior Pairs despite bare minimal training time.
The following season the team, notwithstanding the difficulties of their first year, elected to move up to the Senior level. Their senior debut season also had ups and downs. On the plus side, they were invited to compete at the Nebelhorn Trophy in Germany where they finished in fourth place (behind three Olympians). On the negative side, an injury to Andrew prior to the upcoming Eastern Sectional Championships prevented them from skating. Fortunately, with only four senior teams competing, they were able to step on the ice and earn a trip to Nationals. At the 2011 U.S. Championships they were able to finish a close 8th (just a few points out of 5th) against a very seasoned field.
The 2011/2012 Season again proved to be a continued challenge for the pair both on and off the ice. However, they steadily rose to the challenge as the season progressed, finishing first at Eastern Sectionals, and earning both the Pewter Medal at the 2012 U.S. Championships and receiving the PSA Edi Award for Best Pairs Performance of the competition.
Andrew and Gretchen remain committed to their long-term goals and their skating relationship. They have endured the ups and downs of the last two seasons and have truly gained strength through each adversity.
To the 2012/2013 skating season, they say “Bring it on!”