The inside edge with Sarah and Drew

Drew finally has a new on-ice partner!

Jessica Rose Paetsch and Drew Meekins will make their competitive debut at the Indy Challenge.
Jessica Rose Paetsch and Drew Meekins will make their competitive debut at the Indy Challenge. (courtesy Piper Gilles)


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By Sarah S. Brannen and Drew Meekins, special to
(07/15/2008) - It's time for another edition of the inside edge with's backstage correspondents, Sarah S. Brannen and Drew Meekins.


It's hardly a secret now, since Drew's new partnership has been officially announced, but the saga of Drew's nine-month search for a new partner has reached its conclusion. He got down on one knee a week ago (ok, not really) and offered the golden skate-guards to Jessica Rose Paetsch, the reigning U.S. junior pair champion. Both Drew and Jessica are thrilled and excited about the new partnership, as is their coach Dalilah Sappenfield. They are training very hard and looking ahead to the sectional and national championships.

Drew has been telling his own story throughout this process, so he'll narrate the rest of the tale.

"The Pair Skater"
Season finale
Since I moved to Colorado Springs in April, I had been working with Dalilah and continuing to look for a partner. I had tryouts here and there, but nothing that was right; to be honest, I was starting to lose faith that I was going to be able to compete this season. I was starting to make plans for what I would do next year, whether I would stay in Colorado, or go back to Boston and go to school, or what. Since I had been jumping pretty well, I was even thinking of competing at regionals in singles, just to have something to do.

I came to the rink to practice one morning, a few days ago, thinking it was just another day. I was getting on the ice for my singles session when Dalilah told me I had a tryout on the next session with Jessica! Jessica and Jon Nuss had just decided to split up; he wanted to take a break from skating and go to school, and Jessica wanted to continue competing.

Obviously I was really excited, and shocked! I skated my single session like normal, and then we had our tryout. We did just one stroking pattern and when we came back to Dalilah she had a huge grin on her face -- a good sign! Everything felt really easy. We did a bunch of lifts, twists and a throw triple Salchow. Our line and extension matched really well.

It was just a tryout but we both left feeling really positive. Jessica is very expressive on the ice. She has a lot of style and personality. She's really sweet and easy to get along with, and she's down-to-earth and relaxed, which is perfect. We talked to Dalilah that night and made the decision to skate together. I went from being a single skater in morning to a pair skater in evening!

Jessica was scheduled to take her senior test on Sunday. We decided to go ahead with that plan and threw together a senior long program in two sessions the very next day, so we could test. We ran the program on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. I hadn't run a program since October, and I had never run a program at altitude, so that was an interesting experience... We tested on Sunday and Jessica passed, so we're now an official senior pair.

I'm thrilled to be skating with her and thrilled to have the opportunity to compete again this season. It was a long nine months without a partner, and it's a fantastic relief to be back on track. Thanks for following along with our "reality show" about my search for Ms. Right. We hope you enjoyed the whole story!

We'll be back with more behind-the scenes stories and photos from our "wonderful world" very soon.
Thanks again, Drew (and Sarah)
To contact Sarah and Drew, email