Weekly Sports Star(s)
Ian McInroy Photo - Peter Gerber, 19, and Baily Carroll, 17, have been ice-dancing partners for a decade. They are this week's Sports Starts.
Being partners for 10 years is a good run in any relationship.
But if you're Peter Gerber, 19, and Baily Carroll, 17, being ice-dancing partners for a decade is a good chunk of your life.
The two are longtime members of the Mariposa School of Skating and for the last 18 months, have been representing Poland in competitions.
They'll be skating at the Mariposa Charity Gala on Thursday, where Gerber will also take part in the comedic Ice Men male synchronized skating team, which raises money for breast cancer research.
In Poland, they were ranked the top juniors last year and they'll be returning to Europe soon.
Carroll and Gerber, selected as this week's Sports Stars, will be packing their bags to leave on Aug. 30 for three weeks in Latvia and Poland for the Junior Grand Prix. That's a lead-up to the nationals in the Czech Republic at the end of December, where Czech, Slovakian and Polish skaters compete.
The pair would also love to represent Poland at the junior worlds at the end of March in South Korea.
Peter Gerber, 19, who lives in Moonstone and will be going to Georgian College this fall, is a first-generation Canadian whose parents both hail from Poland.
So when coach David Islam proposed the idea to them of representing Poland on the world stage, Gerber and Carroll took a couple of weeks to mull it over.
"For them, it was a decision based on, 'What are your skating goals?,'" Islam says. "It was a tough decision, they're both proud Canadians."
Having spent hundreds of hours over the years on the ice together, they've got each other pretty much figured out, says Carroll, who lives in Horseshoe Valley and attends St. Joseph's High School in Barrie.
"We basically know what to do and what not to do as far as getting along together or dancing," she says, sitting in the Mariposa School of Skating offices at the Allandale Recreation Centre.
Gerber, who is also a skating coach at the school, says the two know what to expect of each other.
"We're both easy to read and understand where the other person's at," he says. "We react to each other's moves when we dance."
The skaters have their sights set on the world stage, and one dream in particular.
"Over the last couple of years, we've improved, grown as a team and gained more experience," Gerber says. "At this point, the 2014 Olympics in Russia are a goal for us."
Islam says that's not a stretch.
"It's not unrealistic for them to make the Olympics. They have a greater opportunity (to get there), being on the Polish team," he says. "Being together as long as they have is a big bonus and they're both very talented skaters."
Pick up The Barrie Examiner and tune into Rogers TV's (Cable 10) SCS (Simcoe County Sports) weekdays at 6:30 p.m., as we partner together to highlight a weekly Sports Star.
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