FALMOUTH — For a teenager from Yarmouth, a calling almost became a missed opportunity.
“The first time I went on the ice I hated it, I didn’t like the cold and I didn’t want to do it,” 13-year-old Franz-Peter Jerosch said Sunday.
A decade later, Jerosch is headed to Greensboro, N.C., this weekend to compete in the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in juvenile pairs. Jerosch and his partner, 16-year-old Lindsey Stevenson of Southborough, Mass., warmed up by performing their routine for a cheering audience on Sunday, Jan. 11, at Family Ice Center in Falmouth.
The crowd was mostly made up of other skaters from the North Atlantic Figure Skating Club, where Jerosch is a member. The performance was mostly fluid and synchronized, but with a few hiccups. Jerosch fell twice near the end of the routine, but his friends didn’t think too much of it.
“That wasn’t their best performance, they’re usually perfect,” 17-year-old Morgan Sewall of Scarborough said. “But they’ll do fine.”
“It’s good they got their troubles out of the way now,” Samantha Abelson, 16, of Kennebunk, said.
Jerosch’s and Stevenson’s routine is World War II themed, to a medley of Andrews Sisters songs. It clocks in at just under three minutes, which is the standard length for their age group.
Despite his initial reservations about the cold, Jerosch, an eighth-grader at Harrison Middle School, said his destiny was changed by an inner-ear issue when he was in preschool.
“Every Thursday we would go to a swimming pool and I couldn’t swim and had to sit on the side,” he said. “I felt like I was in a time out.”
His mother, Anita, decided to take him to a skating rink. “I saw skaters spinning and running programs, and I loved it,” Jerosch said. “I wanted to do exactly what they were doing.”
He’s done that, and more.
Jerosch earned a silver medal at Regional Figure Skating Championships in 2010 and qualified for the U.S. Junior Nationals. The next year he placed fourth at Regionals and qualified for Eastern Sectional Figure Skating Championships. In 2014, he again went to Regionals, where he qualified for the Eastern Sectionals and received a bronze medal, which qualified him for the U.S. Championships, where he said he “skated well,” but “didn’t get a medal.”
This year, he competed in singles at Regionals and came in second. Then he switched to pairs, where he and Stevenson placed second at Sectionals, thus qualifying for the U.S. Championships.
Jerosch and Stevenson represent the Skating Club of Boston. They teamed up about a year ago, and this is their first trip to Nationals together. Jerosch said while he is excited, he is a bit nervous, too.
“People sort of expect us to do well because we just did very well at Easterns,” he said, “… so people kind of expect us to get a medal, so there’s pressure.”
Anita Jerosch said the whole experience is much more nerve wracking for the parents than it is for the kids doing the skating.
“Once they’re on the ice and the music starts, their bodies are just doing their routine, they’re so trained,” she said.
Jerosch trains on the ice for two hours a day, six days a week, as well as in the gym for an hour a few times a week.
“You have to stay committed to it,” he said. “If something doesn’t go right you just keep working. And every time you’re on the ice you get better, so even if you have a bad day it’s the practices that make a lot of difference.”
Franz-Peter Jerosch, of Yarmouth, and his partner Lindsey Stevenson, of Southborough, Mass., on Sunday, Jan. 11, in Falmouth showcase the juvenile pairs routine they will be performing beginning Saturday at the 2015 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Jerosch, 13, and Stevenson, 16, have been partners for just under a year. They will be making their first trip to Nationals together.