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Gilles, McKernan end partnership

Pair will move on to more suitable partners

Timothy McKernan hopes for new life on the ice with Shannon Wingle after his split with Piper Gilles earlier this year.
Timothy McKernan hopes for new life on the ice with Shannon Wingle after his split with Piper Gilles earlier this year. (Michelle Harvath)

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(05/21/2008) - Ice dancers Piper Gilles and Timothy McKernan, the 2008 U.S. junior silver medalists and 2005 U.S. intermediate champions, announced they have decided to end their partnership.

"With the increasing physical demands of the new system, we felt that it was in our best interest to find better physical matches," Gilles said.

The team, which formed in 2005, debuted at the 2005 Southwestern Regional Championships, where they finished first in the intermediate division. They went on to capture the gold at the U.S. Junior Figure Skating Championships in Jamestown, N.Y., that year.

They competed in their first Junior Grand Prix Series events in 2006, winning bronze in Mexico and finishing sixth in Taipei. Next, they garnered the pewter medal as juniors at the 2007 State Farm U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

This past season, they finished fifth at the JGP Austria and fourth at the JGP Great Britain.

Both skaters plan to continue their careers with new partners.

"We were paired up when we were so young that we're just not a good match now that we've both gone though growth spurts," Gilles said.

McKernan hopes to find a partner in time for the upcoming JGP season and focus on school.

"My future plans still include competitive ice dancing, but I plan on taking additional classes in the upcoming fall semester," said McKernan, a physics major at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.