Wagner leaves coach Hughes for Hill
|Ashley Wagner is ready for another exciting season. (Getty Images)|
(06/23/2008) - U.S. bronze medalist Ashley Wagner announced today that she has ended her six-year relationship with coach Shirley Hughes and will begin training with Priscilla 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. Wagner began training with Hughes in January 2002. She made her big splash in the fall of 2006, 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 State Farm U.S. Figure Skating Championships (at the junior level) and the 2007 World Junior Figure Skating Championships. In her debut season on the senior circuit, 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. Figure Skating Championships earned her a berth to the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships and 2008 ISU 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. "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 will compete at the Cup of China in Beijing, and the NHK Trophy in Tokyo.