As the weather heats up so does the competition as U.S. figure skating pair Joshua Reagan, of Waxahachie, and Ashley Cain prove they have what it takes to win.
The two have been skating for years, though not always as a pair. Cain, 15, has been skating since the age of 2 and started competing by the time she turned 4. But Cain is not alone; she comes from a family of ice skaters. Her 16-year-old brother Brenden is a hockey player and her parents have been figure skaters since they were young.
“My parents – David and Darlene Kirby – have been skating for quite some time,” she said. “They met in the ice shows and they just love to skate.”
Reagan, 21, the son of David Reagan, owner of Reagan Eye Center in Waxahachie, joined the scene a bit later than Cain.
“I started skating when I was 7, but when I was 13 I had a terrible injury that caused me to go blind in my right eye,” he said. “Thankfully, one year later my eyesight came back, but I still was not ready to skate.”
When Reagan reached high school he decided to join the swim team where he proved to be quite successful. His senior year he placed in the top 5 in state and then he went on to nationals. But even through those successful seasons, the ice rink seemed to be calling his name.
“I loved swimming, but it was toward the end of high school that things started to change,” Reagan said. “When I was looking into colleges, my swim coaches and I were not getting along, so I decided to drop swimming and pursue ice skating once again.”
Within that time Reagan discovered that Cain and her partner broke up and he was given the opportunity to try out.
“I remember a coach saying that Josh had started skating again,” Cain said. “We both wanted to do pairs, so we had the tryouts. We both thought that we really worked well together and we immediately knew that it was right.”
Soon thereafter they were practicing alongside each other ready to show the world all that they were able to accomplish.
Their first year together they took first place at the 2010 US Novice Championship. From there, the two seemed to have hit a flow.
“Since we won novice at nationals, we got picked for Junior Grand Prix in England,” Cain said. “Then we qualified for the Junior Grand Prix in the Czech Republic and for another in Beijing, China; it’s been amazing.”
Though the two love skating, it is not all fun and games.
“We are at the rink training close to forty hours every week,” Reagan said. “I’m not going to lie. It gets really tedious and hard, but I love doing it. I love the competition and when it’s all over and done with, it’s definitely worth it.”
This has proven true, for the hours that the two have put into practicing have paid off.
This year the pair won the U.S. Junior National Championship title, making history as the first pair to take the U.S. novice and junior gold medal for two consecutive seasons. With one more competition behind them, they had a lot to look forward to as they were selected to compete in the 2011 Junior World Figure Skating Championship. Many know this as the most prestigious international competition for juniors to compete in and Cain and Reagan were ready to take on the challenge.
After they returned from nationals, they had a little over three weeks of intensive training to prepare for the Junior World Championship that took place in South Korea at the end of February. The two chose to skate to “Clubbed to Death” by Rob Dougan for the short program and to music from “Romeo and Juliet” by Tchaikovsky for the long program.
“During the short program my skate came undone and I ended up falling because of it, “Reagan said. “After that we were in eighth place, but we came out strong in the long program.”
The two finished fourth with an overall score of 135.40.
For the past two years, the pair has had a great skating career and neither could think of a huge downfall.
“We have competed really well,” Reagan said. “We won nationals two years in a row and that was the first time that anyone has ever done that.”
“We have not really had any struggles,” Cain said. “I know that sounds crazy, but nothing has really been too upsetting.”
Due to the age limits, the duo will now move up to compete at the Senior Grand Prix level, but to win at that competition is not their only goal.
“We are really hoping to represent the U.S. in the 2014 Olympics in Russia,” Cain said with pure determination. “That’s what we are hoping and training for, so it would definitely be a dream come true.”
For now, the two continue to train daily and are in constant preparation for the next competition. They are excited to have gotten where they are today and they love every minute of it. As for their future, only time will tell where their hard work and determination will take them.