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Wingle, Devereaux go their separate ways

Skater hangs up his skates for college life

Shannon Wingle and Ryan Devereaux during the free dance at the 2008 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Saint Paul, Minn.
Shannon Wingle and Ryan Devereaux during the free dance at the 2008 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Saint Paul, Minn. (Paul Harvath)

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By Linda Przygodski
(04/24/2008) - No matter how sappy it sounds, sometimes the old cliché, "parting is such sweet sorrow," -- just says it all.

That's just the sentiment Shannon Wingle and Ryan Devereaux are processing now that their partnership has come to a decisive end.

Shannon and Ryan were faced with an unusual situation.

"We have known since the 2007 nationals that we had limited long-term potential as a team because of our differing body styles," explained Wingle. "However, we were not ready to dissolve a partnership that was working and, with the support of our coaches, made the decision to proceed with the 2008 season.

"We persevered through a bilateral hamstring injury that kept me off the ice for four weeks in August, competed at two Junior Grand Prix -- taking the silver in Bulgaria -- and we qualified again for nationals.

"Then we were forced to face the feedback that we both needed to search for partners of like body styles sooner than later. Even though we knew this was my last year of junior eligibility, and that there was opportunity to compete internationally again, we made an unusual decision. With the support of coaches, we agreed to continue training together while searching for partners of like body styles. If neither of us was able to find a suitable partner, we would compete together for the 2009 season."

Alas, that was not meant to be. After agonizing over what was next, combined with the inability to find new partners, they made the tough choice to end their competitive life together. In turn, Devereaux made the decision to end his competitive career altogether.

The 19-year-old has returned home to Pennsylvania to pursue his college plans.

"My future plans in life are to attend the University of Pittsburgh in the fall and study political science," said Devereaux. "I have really developed a passion this year for politics and the law after taking a class taught by Lynn Rivers, who served in the House of Representatives for three terms of Congress. I also am hoping to coach skating in Pittsburgh. I want to explore all the things in life that I haven't had an opportunity to experience because of the incredible amount of dedication and time skating takes.

"Making the decision not to skate was definitely not an easy one. I had been going back and forth between whether or not to continue skating since nationals. I decided it was the right decision to pursue other avenues in life when I realized I couldn't put 100% into my training and be happy because I just didn't have the same passion for the sport that I had in the past. I definitely have not lost any love for the sport though and am very excited about coaching in Pittsburgh and staying in touch with the sport.

"I am really looking forward to discovering the endless opportunities we have on this joyous earth."

Wingle and Devereaux were a solid junior ice dance team during their time together. They earned fifth place in the junior division at the 2008 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, the same position they garnered in 2006 and '07 in the novice division. They won a gold medal in 2006 at the Pacific Coast Sectionals and scored silvers at both the 2006 Southwest Pacific Regionals and the 2007 Pacific Coast Sectionals.

"The most memorable part of my skating career with Shannon would have to be our free dance at the 2008 nationals," Devereaux recalled. "We had a very difficult season plagued with injuries and setbacks. It was amazing to finally perform our free dance to the potential that we knew it had all season. I'll always remember how good it felt to be on the ice for that performance."

Shannon has decided to continue looking for a partner and continue training in Canton, Mich., with Igor Shpilband and Marina Zoueva. Life for Devereaux, however, is taking a decidedly different path.