Kathryn (Katie) Orscher and Garrett Lucash, who finished fifth at the 2002 U.S. Nationals, showed that they were ready to make a run for the podium when they opened the season with a bronze medal at the Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf, Germany this September. “It was a great competition setting,” Orscher stated. “It was nice and quiet and we could focus on improving our programs.” The team, which finished tenth at the 2002 Four Continents Championships, has only been together for two years.
Lucash has reached the podium at U.S. Nationals several times with a second in novice in 1997 and juniors in 1998 and 1999 with Jaisa Macadam, then third in 2000 with a new partner, Jessica Waldstein. But each of his partners left the sport before reaching their full potential. Fortunately, Lucash met 2000 junior ladies bronze medalist Katie Orscher at shows at the International Skating Center in Connecticut. Since she lived nearby, he asked her to try pairs, even though she had never done any pairs skating.
“At first I wasn’t going to do it,” Orscher said, “because my parents said no. But after we thought more about it and saw how we looked and skated together, we decided this was the way to go. I thought it would be fun and more of a challenge. Singles had only spins, jumps, and choreography where as pairs has all that and much more.” Orscher and Lucash also found the pairs environment less stressful than singles. “Pairs skaters are a very friendly bunch,” Lucash added. “You can always have a nice conversation with other pairs and we respect one another.”
Lucash began skating when he was eight. “There was a rink near my home and my parents used to take my sister and me to public skating,” he related. “They eventually signed us up for group lessons and from there we started private lessons. Skating pairs was not my idea. Tommy McGinnis, a coach at the Skating Club of Boston, where I used to train, suggested it to me. I was still young and didn’t think much of the idea but I decided to give it a try. It turned out to be a fun and exciting challenge!” Orscher said she began at six “because my brother played ice hockey and I wanted to go on the ice with him.”
Orscher and Lucash are coached by Vadim Naumov and Evgenia Shishkova in Simsbury. They work for three to four on ice six days a week plus about an hour and a half to three hours off ice. This includes off ice lifts, stretching, ballet and workout. “With Katie, I’m enjoying the lifts,” Lucash said. “Since she has never done pairs before it has been very fun teaching her all the different positions and combinations there are in pairs lifts.” They are using triple toe/double flip and side-by-side double Axels and triple toe loops in this year’s programs. Orscher can perform the triple lutz, while Lucash’s most difficult triple is the triple flip.
Their initial goal is to skate a clean long program at Nationals, but Orscher stated that “I want to be a successful competitive pairs skater and eventually make it to the Olympics with Garrett.” Orscher enjoys skating to Spanish music while Lucash likes to skate to ‘music that tells a story, something that will definitely grab the audiences’ attention.” “I also like to be original,” he stated. This year they are using “Quidam” from Cirque du Soleil for their short program and “Spartacus” for the long. “Vadim selected Spartacus,” Lucash stated. “He thought it would look good for us. It’s the most favorite program I’ve ever had.” Elena Petrenko and Nikolai Morozov are their choreographers.
Music is one of Lucash’s major interests. “My favorite kind of music is Trance,” he said. “Trance is a form of techno club music that is usually very uplifting and exciting. My favorite trance DJs and producers are Ferry Corsten, DJ Tiesto, Lange, Matt Darey, Frank E & Mars L, and Airscape.” Orscher listens to a variety of music, but doesn’t have any particular favorites. Music also helps pay the bills for Lucash, who acts as a disc jockey at clubs and also prepares competition tapes for skaters through his Cutting Edge Music Studio.
While growing up, Lucash participated in a variety of sports other than skating. In baseball, he was the starting pitcher for his town’s all-star team. He also played basketball and soccer. He now enjoys football, tennis and running. He also watches a lot of Boston Red Sox games. Orscher isn’t involved in other sports outside of skating, but swims in the summer.
Lucash’s other hobbies include riding roller coasters and collecting the on-ride photos, and going to the movies. “I love all kinds of movies but I’d say my favorite movies are long dramas,” he said. Orscher said “I like scary movies even though I get real scared when I watch them.” Her hobby is collecting frogs of all kinds — ceramic, stuffed, etc. Orscher doesn’t have time for too many other outside interests, but said she likes to go to the beach in the summer, hang out with friends and do normal things. She has two Persian cats as pets.
Both skaters enjoy the travel opportunities that skating brings. “Traveling is always a thrill,” Lucash said. “The most memorable places I have visited are Ukraine, Austria, China and Sweden.” Orscher added that “I love to travel. My favorite trip was when my mom, my best friend Rachael, and I went to Puerto Rico for my birthday. I like to go anywhere warm.”
They plan to continue working in skating in the future. “I would love to skate professionally after I have finished my competitive years,” Lucash said. “When I am finished skating I want to be a full time coach. Right now I teach part time and I really love it. I hope to one day coach some students to international competitions. I want to see what it was like for my coaches. I’m also waiting to see where my DJ work will take me.” Orscher also coaches younger skaters. “I would love to choreograph for other skaters,” she said, “Eventually, I want to start my own skating program and hope to have my own rink. I also want to have a family.” Both have graduated from high school but have not yet taken up college classes. “I want to take some time off and let school be for now,” Orscher said.