Saturday, April 19, 2014
Carrying the banner for Maine at this week’s U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Boston is a seventh-grade boy at Yarmouth’s Harrison Middle School.
WHAT: 2014 U.S. Figure Skating Championships
WHERE: Boston Convention and Exhibition Center and TD Garden
WHEN: Through Sunday
OLYMPIANS: Three ladies, two men, two pairs teams and three ice dance teams will be nominated on Sunday.
TELEVISION: NBC (3-6 and 8-11 p.m. Saturday, 3-5 p.m. Sunday)
Franz-Peter Jerosch, who turns 13 next month, will make his debut at the nationals at 8:30 Wednesday morning in the Juvenile Boys free skate.
His goal: “To have a really clean skate and not worry about the other competitors,” Jerosch said by phone from Boston between practice sessions.
Qualifying for the nationals was a multistep process that began in October when he won the New England Regionals Juvenile title in Newington, Conn. A month later, he placed third among 12 skaters at the Eastern Sectionals in Ashburn, Va.
The top four skaters from each of three sectionals advanced to the nationals. Morgan Sewall, a 16-year-old junior at Scarborough High who moved up to the Senior level for the first time, placed fourth at New Englands and ninth at Easterns.
Sewall, the 2013 New England Junior champion who placed sixth at Easterns last winter, underwent foot surgery in August to remove a cyst from her ankle.
“It’s been kind of a trying year,” said Polly Sewall, Morgan’s mother.
Jerosch went through his share of adversity last winter, when he qualified for Easterns but placed 11th of 12 skaters.
“I didn’t fall, but I singled every jump,” he said. “I think the nerves kicked in.”
A week before the competition, a foot injury prevented Jerosch from practicing his jumps (all with two revolutions; no triples are allowed at the Juvenile level). Not until after the competition did Jerosch seek medical attention.
“They found a strain and seven stress fractures,” he said. “I had to take two weeks off the ice and then another two weeks just to skate around in circles and do moves, because I couldn’t jump.”
Jerosch got started on skates as a preschooler. Because he wore ear tubes, he could not take part in a weekly swimming session.
“I had to sit on a bench at the side of the pool,” Jerosch said. “I thought it was a timeout, so I complained to my mother. She found a skating school at Bowdoin College and instead of swimming, she would pick me up and take me to skating.”
Jerosch’s first private coach was Shauna McClean of Topsham. At age 10, he switched to Lynda Hathaway and the North Atlantic Figure Skating Club. Hathaway continues to coach him, as does Ann Hanson of Yarmouth.
Last spring, he added another coach, Jason Wong of the Skating Club of Boston.
“He designed the program and the costume and helped fix my jumps,” said Jerosch, whose free skate includes five jumps – two in combination, a double flip-double toe and a double lutz-double toe.
His routine is set to “Let’s Face the Music and Dance” and lasts for 2 minutes, 25 seconds. The famous British dance pair of Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean used the same tune for their 1994 Olympics performance in Lillehammer, Norway.
“It’s a lot different than my music from last year,” Jerosch said. “I think it shows my character more. It’s a little bit more energetic and the judges seem to have been loving it a lot.”
An accomplished musician himself, Jerosch plays clarinet in the Portland Youth Wind Ensemble and also studies violin. He recently danced for a third straight year at Merrill Auditorium in Maine State Ballet’s production of “The Nutcracker.”
Once on the ice at the Boston Convention and Exposition Center (only the highest-level skaters will perform at the TD Garden), Jerosch said he will concentrate on “just selling it to the audience, smiling and looking like I’m having the best time out there.”
As with most competitive figure skaters, Jerosch lists the Olympics as his ultimate goal. He understands the journey is a long one, but reaching the nationals as a 12-year-old is a good first step.
“This is my sport,” he said. “I want to do well in it.”
Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or: