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Brubaker finds his match, pairs up with Davis

Skaters clicked almost instantly during three-day tryout in Canton, Mich.

Rockne Brubaker says the chemistry between him and Lindsay Davis was immediately evident.
Rockne Brubaker says the chemistry between him and Lindsay Davis was immediately evident. (Tom Briglia)

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By Sarah S. Brannen, special to icenetwork.com
(02/19/2013) - Two-time U.S. champion pairs skater Rockne Brubaker and Lindsay Davis, who finished fourth at the 2013 U.S. Figure Skating Championships with Mark Ladwig, have formed a new partnership. The team will train in Canton, Mich., with Olympic and world coach Marina Zoueva and Johnny Johns.

Brubaker, 26, has been seeking a new partner since he and Mary Beth Marley split in August. He and Davis spent three days skating together in Canton last week, and both said that they knew almost immediately that the team was going to click.

"It went extremely well," Brubaker told icenetwork.com. "We kind of knew within a couple of days that it was going to work."

"It was the best tryout I ever had," Davis, 20, said. "After the first stroking pattern, it felt so good. Basically, after the first day, we were like, 'Let's make this official.'"

Brubaker said that the two skaters have a similar technique and style, which he credits partly to their both having worked with Todd Sand in California.

"She's a very talented skater, with a lot of natural skating ability," Brubaker said. "She's from California, and she learned most of her pair skills from Todd. And we're both established pair skaters; we have a good sense of how pairs work."

Davis plans to move to Michigan at the beginning of March. She spent the last year in Florida, training with Ladwig under coach Lyndon Johnston. Brubaker is eager to train alongside his brother, ice dancer Collin, and to be closer to his home in Chicago. Previously, he had skated in Colorado Springs and Los Angeles.

"Getting closer to home is a big deal for me," Brubaker said. "I've been gone so long. And, obviously, it's a great facility, and my brother trains there as well."

"I'm really sad to leave my coach, Lyndon Johnston," Davis said. "He's been amazing. Rockne and I are hoping to include him in the partnership -- we're still figuring out how to go about that. It's very important to me that he stays included, and I know Rockne respects him as well."

Although Davis and Ladwig had a good result at the U.S. championships in Omaha, they announced the end of their partnership soon after the competition ended.

"We both knew that it was [at most] a two-season partnership, because of Mark's age," Davis said. "Unfortunately, we had some differences we couldn't work through after nationals. It was a better decision for me to try out with Rockne and try for longevity.

"I feel like both Rockne and I have never had the chance to grow with a partner, so I'm extremely excited to work not only toward this Olympics but possibly the next as well," Davis continued. "I think a pair team really starts growing after two seasons together. I'm looking forward to working with Rockne long term."

Brubaker is also hoping that he and Davis will have a lengthy future together.

"My goal is [to make the Olympic team] next season, but if I can go to two Olympics, I'd love to," he said. "For me, the two things that will dictate that will be my health and finances. I, personally, can't afford to train the way that I need to. I've always held a full-time job while I've competed. I feel like as long as I'm healthy, I can be competitive, not just nationally but internationally."

Brubaker said that the team is already talking to Zoueva and Johns about music possibilities for next season, and laying out their schedule. They hope to be ready to skate in some shows and local competitions by early summer.

"Obviously, it's a short year," he said. "We have 11 months until nationals. The biggest thing is to start getting on the ice and practicing together."

"I've always respected Rockne as a skater and a person, and I'm excited because we mesh really well together, skating-wise and personality-wise," Davis said. "I'm excited to see what we can accomplish together."