Paula Cooper stands atop the podium at the USASA Freeskiing National Championships at Copper Mountain with a little borrowed hardware. Maddy Bowman, who won gold in freeskiing half-pipe at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, was on hand and allowed her medal to be borrowed for the podium shot.

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Paula Cooper stands atop the podium at the USASA Freeskiing National Championships at Copper Mountain with a little borrowed hardware. Maddy Bowman, who won gold in freeskiing half-pipe at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, was on hand and allowed her medal to be borrowed for the podium shot.

Steamboat freeskiers snag 2 titles

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A pair of championships highlighted the finale of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club’s freeskiing season this week. Paula Cooper and Sammy Schuiling helped lead the way for a bevy of strong performances from local skiers at the junior national championships at Copper Mountain.

Cooper, a Steamboat Springs native and now Lowell Whiteman School student, won the women’s 13-15 half-pipe competition. Schuiling, meanwhile, was tops in the boys slope-style 13-15 division.

“It was neat for Paula. This is her first year freeskiing. She’s an old Alpine skier, and she really put in a ton of work, especially this last half of this season, and it paid off,” Steamboat freeskiing coach Tony Lodico said.

Steamboat also picked up a podium finish from Payton McElhiney, who was second just behind Schuiling in slope-style.

“Those two guys have been working hard for several years and they’re in one of the gnarliest divisions in all of freeskiing,” Lodico said. “The past champions in that event, they all go on to being pro skiers. It was really cool to see them do well. They both put in the extra time training and on the air bag.”

Other top results included a fourth-place finish for Robby Brown in the men’s open rail jam. He was 13th in open slope-style and Lennon Vaughan was 15th. Vaughan was seventh in men’s open half-pipe. Jackson Takes was 21st in the men’s 16-18 slope-style, McElhiney was seventh and Schuiling 14th in half-pipe, Liam Baxter 20th and Kai Doyle 59th in boys 10-12 slope-style, Baxter was fifth in half-pipe and Owen Taylor was 23rd in 9-and-under boys slope-style.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9

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