A pair of Mesa College students depart this Saturday, bound for the AT&T 2010 United States Figure Skating National Championships, Jan. 14-24, in Spokane, Washington. Kassy Kova and Justin Ross will become the first African-American ice dancing team to compete in Novice Dance at the competition.
Kova and Ross are a rising ice dancing team from San Diego who met and trained at the San Diego Ice Arena, located just blocks from their homes in Mira Mesa.
“Both of us were raised by single moms who wanted to find something active for us to do that was close to home,” said Ross, 19. Their friendship grew with their skills and the two have skated as a nationally competitive ice dancing team since 2005. They take to the ice weekdays at 4 a.m., perfecting their dance routines. Mesa College classes fill the rest of their weekdays, and weekends find them at the gym working out.
“To work this hard, you’ve really got to love what you do, which we both do,” said a confident and accomplished, Kova, age 16.
Over their five-year partnership, the athletes and friends have trained and danced together, climbing through the ranks to finish seventh in the nation in their last year in the Intermediate Division (2008); fifth at US Sectional Championships their first year in the very competitive Novice Division (2009); and now capturing the Pewter Medal at Sectionals in November.
That marked a first. Kova and Ross are the first African American ice dancing team to take home a medal in the Novice Division of a US Figure Skating Sectional Championships. “We’re so proud to have the opportunity to open a door that hasn’t been opened before,” said Kova. “We’re pouring all of our efforts into getting our programs polished and ready for the national stage.”
Kassandra “Kassy” Kova and Justin Ross are both second year students at Mesa College. Kova graduated from high school at the age of 15 and immediately enrolled at Mesa to pursue an Associate Degree in Transfer Studies; she hopes to obtain a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego. Ross is all about dance and is pursuing an Associate Degree in Dance to further his chosen career as a professional skater and coach.
Mesa College President Rita M. Cepeda is leading a campus-wide campaign to help defray the costs for the students’ training and competition. For more information, see www.sdmesa.edu or www.kovaandross.com.