Franz-Peter Jerosch of Yarmouth and his partner, Analise Gonzalez, will compete this week in the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina. Photo courtesy of Anita Jerosch

In his three previous trips to the U.S. Figure Skating National Championships, Franz-Peter Jerosch of Yarmouth always returned to Maine with a medal.

Skating alongside three different partners, Jerosch won silver in juvenile pairs in Minneapolis in 2016, silver in intermediate pairs in Kansas City in 2017 and gold in novice pairs in San Jose in 2018.

After missing last year’s event because of an injury to his partner, Jerosch will be back at Nationals this week in Greensboro, North Carolina with yet another partner at an even higher level, junior pairs.

This time around, he’s not expecting hardware.

“Honestly, for this year, because we’re brand new and juniors are a very high level, we’re just going in to experience it and try to enjoy it,” he said. “I’m sure in a few years it will be stressful when we’re going for medals.”

Jerosch turns 19 in a few weeks. His new partner, Analise Gonzalez of North Reading, Massachusetts, is making the transition from singles to pairs. She’s also 18 and they’ve known each other since they were 12, having met while training with the Skating Club of Boston.

She’s also the daughter of a former Major League shortstop, Alex Gonzalez, although not the one from Venezuela who played for the Sea Dogs and Red Sox. Instead, her dad grew up in Miami, broke in with the Toronto Blue Jays and spent 13 years in a big-league career that ended in 2006 after stints with the Cubs, Expos, Padres, Devil Rays and Phillies.

“We’ve talked a little bit,” Jerosch said of the elder Gonzalez. “It’s very inspiring to have a professional athlete who I can talk to or who at least understands the same experiences that we’re going through.”

Although both skaters are 18 and take the majority of their classes online, Analise is a high school junior and Jerosch a college sophomore at the University of Maine-Augusta. The only campus he visits regularly, however, is that of Colby College in Waterville, where he plays clarinet with the Colby Symphony Orchestra and takes music lessons, earning academic credit for both activities.

They practice four days a week in Wellesley, less than an hour from the Gonzalez home in North Reading, which is where Jerosch usually spends his Tuesday and Wednesday nights before returning to Maine. It was their coaches, Bobby Martin and Carrie Wall, who set up a tryout last winter.

“It went really well,” Jerosch said. “It was probably about a month later that we officially started training. I want to say March.”

About three months into their official training, they began dating each other. This had not been the case with Jerosch’s other pairs partners.

He said being a couple off the ice helps with the performance on the ice.

“It takes away the nerves,” he said. “It’s easier skating with someone who’s so close to you and it is a lot more fun. It’ll be a huge part of our skating career.”

Their short program, scheduled for Tuesday in Greensboro, is to the song “Move Together” by James Bay. Wednesday’s long program is to the pas de deux from “The Nutcracker.”

They competed together a few times over the summer and in November placed eighth of 12 junior teams at the U.S. Pairs Championships in Texas, dropping down from sixth after their short program. The same 12 teams are scheduled to compete this week in North Carolina.

Jerosch figures he’d like to continue skating competitively until the age of 28 or so, assuming his body holds up. For now, his focus is on having fun and making sure his new partner is comfortable on the national stage.

“It does take off a little bit of pressure,” he said of having low expectations. “But it’s still the U.S. Championships and we still want to do really well. I think there is a possibility we could medal, but it’s not necessarily at the front of our minds going in.”

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