2008 U.S. bronze medalist Ashley Wagner is training under the tutelage of Priscilla Hill in Wilmington, Del. Wagner plans to split her time between her training base and her home base of Alexandria, Va.
The two are working on revamping the teenager's style. “A weakness that I have is in my skating skills and choreography. We are working on becoming more mature and graceful in my skating this season,” Wagner told IFS shortly after she had begun working with Hill. “I feel the one thing that sets me apart from others is my endurance. I love to do my Lutz at the very end of my program.”
On June 23 Wagner announced that she has ended her six-year relationship with coach Shirley Hughes to work with Hill. “I'm hoping this change helps … bring a new maturity to my skating and brings me closer to my dream of competing in the Olympic Games,” Wagner said at the time.
Wagner began training with Hughes in January 2002. She made her presence felt in the fall of 2006 at the junior level, when she won both of her Junior Grand Prix assignments and finished second at the JGP Final. She followed that up with bronze medals at the 2007 U.S. Figure Skating Championships (at the junior level) and the 2007 World Junior Championships.
In her debut season on the senior circuit last year, Wagner came in fifth at 2007 Skate Canada and earned the bronze medal at Trophée Eric Bompard in Paris.
Capturing the bronze at the 2008 U.S. Championships earned her a berth to the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships and 2008 World Figure Skating Championships, where she placed eighth and 16th, respectively.
“I appreciate all that Mrs. Hughes has done for me; I wouldn't have made it to the World Championships without her,” Wagner said. “Right now I'm concentrating on my future and where this change will take me.”
“I am very proud of Ashley and all we accomplished together,” Hughes said. “I wish her the best of luck in all her future endeavors.”
Hill coached Johnny Weir to three straight U.S. titles from 2004-06 before the two parted ways last summer. She also coaches four-time U.S. silver medalist ice dancers Melissa Gregory and Denis Petukhov.
“I'm looking forward to a very exciting season with Ashley,” Hill said when the move was announced. “She has great talent and a strong competitive spirit, and I am pleased to be a part of her growth and development.”
Wagner will be starting her senior year at West Potomac High School in the fall. She has two Grand Prix assignments in the fall -- Cup of China in Beijing and the NHK Trophy in Tokyo.
Wagner’s full interview with IFS will be in the September/October issue of the magazine.