Area Ice Dancer Gets Chance at U.S. Championship
Collin Brubaker will compete with his partner for the first time at the senior competitive level.
Collin Brubaker, 21, of Algonquin, will get a shot this year at some of the glory his older brother, Rockne Brubaker, 24, has already claimed.
Rockne, 24, is a two-time U.S. Pairs Figure Skating champion, and this year Collin, 21, along with his partner Rachel Tibbitts, 19, will move to the senior competitive level. And, for the first time ever, the two Brubaker brothers find themselves competing at the same level, albeit in different skating events.
They will both travel to the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 22, through Sunday, Jan. 30, in Greensboro, N.C.
Collin, like his brother, Rockne, started skating at an early age but didn't take it seriously until age 8. According to his mother, Monica Brubaker, of Algonquin, he stepped away from time-to-time to play other sports like football for Jacobs High School. The brothers also enjoyed playing baseball, wrestling and the piano.
"They always went back to skating," said Monica Brubaker, during a recent interview with the brothers at the Brubakers' home.
Unlike his older brother, Collin chose ice dancing, a form of skating influenced by ballroom dancing. There are no throws or jumps, and skaters focus on predetermined dance rhythms, such as the rhumba or pas doble, and musical interpretation.
He and his partner Rachel Tibbetts have been a dance team for more than two years.
They won the silver medal at the U.S. Juniors Figure Skating Championships in January 2010. Collin, who stands at 6'1'' and Tibbetts, who stands at 5'2'', complement one another perfectly on the ice, said Monica.
"They look so beautiful together," Monica said. "In ice dancing, it's about the long lines. In pairs, it's about the power."
Moving up to the seniors ice dancing competition, he admits, they have their work cut out for them. Champion dancers are not made over night, or even in one or two years. Many of the best pair dancers have skated and trained together for several years, he said.
"Longevity is pretty valuable in this sport," Collin said. "You almost have to be with someone for years. It's about skating as one with the music."
At the end of October, Collin and Rachel made their senior international debut. They completed their first ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating, a series of six international competitive events. They finished ninth in Skate Canada International, held in Kingston, Ontario, according to the competition stats.
In all, the competitions went "pretty good," Collin said.
"We just wanted to complete good, clean programs," Collin said.
Collin and Rachel train under Coach Tiffany Dombeck in Colorado Springs, Col. They will skate two programs in Greensboro, a short dance and a free dance.
The third dance event, known as the compulsory, for the first time ever has been removed from formal competition, Monica said.
Long Term Goals
In addition to skating, both brothers make time for college studies. Collin is a sophomore at University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, studying business. Rockne is a senior, and takes independent-study classes from the same school even though he lives in California.
The program accommodates skaters' lifestyles and busy schedules, he said. Currently he is completing his internship for sports marketing. He often works directly with the instructors over the phone and Internet.
But the boys see skating in the near future, and aren't ready to move into the business sector anytime soon.
"Ultimately we're both heading down the same path," Rockne said. "We'd like to make the U.S. Olympic team together and compete in 2014 in Russia. To be on an Olympic Team is in itself an honor, but to be on one with your brother would be something really special."