Press Release

McLaughlin, Brubaker leave Sappenfield for Nicks

Two-time U.S. pairs champions leave Colorado for California

Keauna McLaughlin and Rockne Brubaker won the U.S. pairs title in 2008 and 2009.
Keauna McLaughlin and Rockne Brubaker won the U.S. pairs title in 2008 and 2009. (Paul Harvath)


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(05/22/2009) - COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Reigning two-time U.S. pairs champions Keauna McLaughlin and Rockne Brubaker announced today that they will end their professional relationship with coach Dalilah Sappenfield and begin training with John Nicks in Aliso Viejo, Calif.

McLaughlin and Brubaker have trained with Sappenfield at the Colorado Springs World Arena since 2007.

"After careful consideration, and with support from Dalilah, Keauna and I made the decision to make this change as we approach this very important season," Brubaker said. "We look forward to working with Mr. Nicks this season to attain our goals of qualifying for the Grand Prix Final, retaining our U.S. title and preparing for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games."

McLaughlin and Brubaker paired up in 2006 and won every competition they entered their first season, including the 2007 World Junior Championships. They have won gold at each of the last two U.S. Championships and medalled at all four of their ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series events over the last two seasons.

"We are truly grateful to Dalilah for the dedication and passion she exhibited to bring us to the level we are at today," McLaughlin said.

"Of course, it's hard to see your students move on, however, we all made this decision with a great deal of deliberation and forethought," Sappenfield said. "I wish them nothing but the best in their quest for Olympic gold, and I will continue to support them however they need me."

Inducted into the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2000, Nicks coached five-time U.S. pairs champions and 1979 world pairs champions Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner, as well as three-time U.S. pairs champions and two-time world pairs bronze medalists JoJo Starbuck and Kenneth Shelley. He also coached Sasha Cohen to a silver medal at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games. Skating with his sister Jennifer Nicks, he won the 1953 world and European pairs titles.