Aerialists start strong in opener |

Aerialists start strong in opener

WINTER PARK Local freestyle aerialists Connor Quigley and Zach Kops made their jumps count at the Rocky Mountain Freestyle Divisional Aerial Championships at Winter Park on February 2. Both Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club athletes stuck both of their runs in two separate competitions to move up the qualifying list for Junior Olympics.”It was their first real aerials competition of the year and both of them are in their first year in a new age class,” said Eric “Doughboy” Knight, AVSC’s freestyle director. “In order to qualify they had to land all four jumps on a freezing cold day and it wasn’t easy on an landing area with a 37-degree pitch.” Because of the weather, both Quigley and Kops played it safe by doing their most consistent aerials.Quigley stuck a 360 with a triple twist on both of his jumps.”On the triple, Connor went off the biggest jump there,” Knight said. “[It’s] 60 feet set back from the landing knoll. His triple was his highest-scoring jump for the first competition due to his landing score.”Take-off and landing scores accounted for 30 percent of the total score. Quigley finished seventh overall and just off the podium in fourth place for his age class.Kops threw a switch 180 (backward takeoff) and a switch 360 (backward takeoff and landing) to finish 12th overall and seventh for the J3s.”Both guys stepped it up in the second competition,” Knight said. “I think they were relieved after making it through the first competition.” Quigley received a perfect landing score on his second jump. His triple twister was good enough for sixth place overall and a silver medal for the J3s. Kops was 10th overall and finished sixth in his age class.”I’m really proud of how much poise and consistency they both showed,” Knight said. “They handled the sub-zero temperatures and the pressure really well.”

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