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Brookfield, Elm Grove natives qualify for skating nationals

Duo only qualifying team from Wisconsin in its category

Jan. 15, 2013

 Mackenzie Reid of Brookfield and Christian Erwin of Elm Grove qualified to compete in the 2013 Prudential United States National Figure Skating Championships.

Reid, a 17-year-old senior at Brookfield Central High School, and Erwin, a 20-year-old sophomore at UW-Milwaukee, will ice dance as a duo at the 2013 National Figure Skating Championships.

The only qualifying team from Wisconsin in its category, the duo will compete against 11 other teams from across the nation.

The pewter medals, awarded at the Midwestern sectionals, qualified both teams to compete on the national level.

The two have been ice dancing together since 2007, and will perform a short dance and a free dance at the competition.

"We are very happy," Reid said. "This is probably one of the best moments of the season."

But the duo's skating history hasn't always been smooth.

Costly Sacrifices

Although Reid and Erwin enjoy figure skating, painful sacrifices were made to maintain their skating careers.

Erwin stopped skating in 2009 to focus on school.

Reid continued, however, but needed a partner to compete with.

"I moved out to Colorado Springs to train with a partner," Reid said.

The move required her to leave her school, friends, and family behind so she could compete.

"We went to sectionals and placed second, went to nationals and placed eighth," Reid said.

But the partnership didn't work out beyond that point, and Reid moved back to Wisconsin, reuniting with Erwin in 2011.

"It's like old times, but better," Erwin said.

The two still struggle with balancing school full time and practicing their dances.

"We are both full-time students, which is not a normal situation for these high level teams," Erwin said. "But we love what we do."

"The hardest part for me is training around my homework and school schedule," Mackenzie said. That's the biggest hurdle for me."

Lisa Reid, Mackenzie's mother, is a secondary coach for her daughter and Erwin, and had to make sacrifices of her own to ensure the duo could compete.

"We are spending about $1,000 a week between the two of them on lessons and ice time," she said. "I gave up my apartment and moved in with my mother temporarily so I could pay for this. It's well worth it and I believe I them."

How to prepare

Mackenzie Reid and Erwin said they've prepared all season for this moment.

"Nationals is where we want to peak," Reid said. "We do programs back to back to get our endurance up."

While the two focus on their routine, Lisa Reid pays close attention to the duo's form on the ice.

"We do a lot of videotaping," she said. "We can slow things down and analyze. When you have two people skating together, you have to work hard on how they align and track with each other."

Jamie Whyte, British ice dancing champion, coaches the duo.

He lives in Chicago, which makes practicing another challenge for the pair.

"We meet him halfway in Pleasant Prairie," Reid said. "I wanted someone else to take the lead because I work a full-time job."

Reid was the primary coach for the duo until this point, and said coaching her daughter while being a mother can sometimes be a challenge.

"Kids don't want to hear negative feedback from their parents," she said. "So when you have to make corrections, it's a little more difficult. But we are at a good point now."

Giving back

Lisa Reid's coaching experience, combined with her career as a nurse in the Heart Center at Children's Hospital, inspired her to create an event that benefits both duties.

"I always tell these two how lucky they are to do their sport because the children that I take care of sometimes can't do sports," Reid said.

She and her daughter started Skate with Heart in 2012, a charity event where ice skaters perform, with all proceeds going to the Heart Center.

"We did an exhibition of high level figure skating, and all of the money went to the hospital," Lisa Reid said. "We raised almost $4,000."

She said both her daughter and Erwin are dedicated to using their talent to give back to the community.

The 2013 National Figure Skating Championships takes place in Omaha, Neb. Jan. 20-27.

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