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Skate Today

Andrews and Anderson Aim for More Gold

Cassie Andrews and Nicholas Anderson

U. S. pairs skaters Cassie Andrews and Nicholas Anderson will have to wait until next season to add to their haul of gold medals at U. S. Nationals. The pair placed 5th at the Midwestern Sectionals in November and did not qualify for the 2010 Nationals. The couple have won nationally in juvenile pairs (2006), intermediate pairs (2007), and novice pairs (2009).

This season, in their first year as juniors, the couple had more modest goals. They hoped to compete in the ISU Junior Grand Prix Series and skate well at the U.S. Nationals. They accomplished the first part of those goals by placing 13th at the ISU JGP in Dresden, Germany.

“That was our first competition this year and our first junior international, so we just wanted to skate clean,” Anderson said.

For the short program, Andrews and Anderson were doing a throw double Salchow and side-by-side double flips during the JGP season. For the long, they added a side-by-side double flip-double toe combination and throw double flip and substituted a throw double loop for the throw double Salchow they used in the short.

“We’ve been working on the throw triple Salchow and side-by-side triple toe loops,” Anderson said, “but I broke my ankle during the summer and was off the ice completely for a month and a half. I didn’t start back until August 7 and have been gradually working my way back. We didn’t even have the side-by-side double flips until two weeks before Dresden.”

Considering that the skaters have won so many titles at such a young age, it is somewhat unusual that their families were not involved in the sport at all. Neither of the skaters has parents who skated although Anderson’s younger brother, Kenneth, followed him into the sport and competes in intermediate men and juvenile pairs.

Andrews started skating when she was four years old. “My mother was always watching skating on television and I mimicked the skaters on the floor,” she recalled. “Finally she let me go on the ice.”

The 16-year-old landed her first double Axel and triple Salchow when she was 12 and can now also land a triple toe loop. She is still skating freestyle and finished fifth at regionals in novice ladies last season.

Andrews started pairs when she was nine. “I just wanted to try it,” she said.

“I started skating when I was about four and a half,” said Anderson. “I watched some of my mom’s friend’s kids skating and thought it would be fun.” The 18-year-old, who is also still competing in singles, is still working on landing his double Axel and triple toe loop. He was sixth in novice men at Regionals last season.

Anderson began skating pairs when he was 12. “I skated some in the summer of 2003 just for fun,” he said. “Then Sergei asked me during the summer in 2004 to skate with Cassie.”

Neither skater has had another pairs partner. “I think we match well together and have a very clean look,” Andrews said. “And Nicholas is a very reliable partner.”

Sergei and Elena Zaitsev coach the couple, who train in Indianapolis, IN. They usually work on ice for three hours a day, five days a week plus another hour on Saturdays. They also do off ice work including ballet and conditioning for another four hours a week.

Both of the couple’s programs are new for the 2009-10 season.

“We usually have two new programs each season,” Andrews added. “I like making up the new programs, but it’s hard work.”

“Our coaches usually pick the music for us,” Anderson said. “They pick the kind of music that grows on you.”

For the short program, the skaters are using selections from the motion picture soundtrack of “The Godfather” by Nino Rota, choreographed by Sergei Zaitsev and Bulgaria’s Sergei Sergiev.

Sergei Zaitsev and Jeanetta Folle choreographed their free skate to Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake”.

“I like to skate to classical music,” Andrews said.

“We skate better to classical music,” Anderson agreed, “but I like to skate to more modern music.”

Off ice, he enjoys classical music, classic rock and heavy metal with Metallica and Breaking Benjamins being two of his favorite rock groups. Andrews listens primarily to pop music.

To relax, Andrews enjoys hanging out with friends, reading fiction, doing origami and knitting. Anderson enjoys reading fantasy novels and playing video games.

Anderson is in 11th grade, doing distance learning through Laurel Springs School. He plans to attend college and work with computers as a profession.

Andrews is home schooled through the Rushville Consolidated High School, where she is in tenth grade. She excels in mathematics, geography and algebra and plans to attend college in the future but is undecided on a career.

Although they have little time for other activities, both skaters give back to the sport by volunteering at competitions at their rink.

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