George McQuinn of the Purgatory Freestyle Team was named rookie of the year at the final Rocky Mountain United States Ski Association divisional freestyle competition last weekend at Winter Park.
McQuinn clinched the award by winning the combined championship in moguls, halfpipe and aerials.
Joining McQuinn as the top combined skier in the division was Ellen Southworth of Purgatory freestyle.
The two will compete at the USSA Junior Nationals this weekend in Steamboat Springs.
McQuinns combined championship included a win in aerials and his top-scoring run of the year in moguls. He competes in the Junior 3 division for 12-13-year-olds.
Southworth backed up her combined title with a win in halfpipe, second in aerials and a second in J1 (17-18) moguls. She capped the weekend with a seventh in dual moguls.
Other top performances at Winter Park included Natalie Lyons win in aerials and second in combined; Hannah Smith posting second-place finishes in slopestyle and halfpipe and fourth in combined; Shane Ellis taking fourth in aerials and combined; and Sadie Smith placing fifth in aerials.
Southworth earned her third trip to the prestigious Junior Nationals, which will bring together the top 60 USSA freestyle athletes from across the country. They will compete in moguls, dual moguls, slopestyle, aerials and halfpipe.
Joining Southworth will be McQuinn, Ellis, Lyon, Smith, Jamie Wanzek, Meredith Nass, and Nathan and Natalie Youssef.
The nine athletes are the most ever to represent the Purgatory Freestyle Team at nationals.
What a thrill for George to earn rookie-of-the-year honors, said Zak Watkins, divisionals coach of the Purgatory Freestyle Team. To be recognized as the top athlete among your peers in the entire state of Colorado bodes well for his future.