(05/18/2012) - Six U.S. figure skaters, including U.S. novice men's championVincent Zhou, U.S. junior ladies silver medalist Ashley Cain and U.S. junior silver pairs medalist Britney Simpson, have been honored with the 2012 Athlete Alumni Ambassador (3A) Award.
Zhou was the overall winner, collecting $1,000 to be used at his discretion. U.S. Figure Skating also awarded $500 to the winners of each discipline: ladies, men's, pairs, ice dancing and synchronized skating.
The 3A award is a scholarship program that recognizes skaters who have achieved figure skating excellence while actively volunteering. To earn a 3A award, skaters must have competed at the novice or junior level at the 2012 U.S. Figure Skating Championships or the 2012 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships.
The 11-year-old Zhou, who skates out of the Peninsula SC, won the novice men's title at the 2012 U.S. Championships by a whopping 25.19 points. He also captured intermediate gold at the 2011 U.S. Junior Championships.
Zhou volunteers at IceTown in Riverside, Calif., instructing young skaters and skating in benefit shows. He also has planted trees at Stanford University and raised money for schools. Zhou is an honor roll student and a recipient of the President's Award for Educational Excellence.
Cain, the ladies recipient, competed last season as both a singles skater and in pairs with Joshua Reagan. At the U.S. championships, Cain was second only to world junior silver medalist Gracie Gold in junior ladies, and she and Reagan finished sixth in senior pairs.
As the president of her club's junior board, Cain volunteers at tests sessions, competitions and junior seminars hosted by the Stars FSC of Texas. She also teaches skating, holds mini-clinics for young skaters and participated in a canned food drive at her club.
Simpson, who skates with Matthew Blackmer and represents the Broadmoor SC, is the recipient of the pairs 3A award. Simpson and Blackmer were bronze medalists at the 2011 Junior Grand Prix Final, finished second in junior pairs at the 2012 U.S. Championships and landed 10th at the 2012 World Junior Championships.
She has volunteered for nine years as a mentor to elementary school students with cognitive and physical disabilities. Along with Blackmer, Simpson visits schools as an ambassador for U.S. Figure Skating. Her other volunteer projects include collecting cans for the Horse Protection League and donating clothes to Coats for Colorado and APEX Community Center.
Other winners include Jay Yostanto, All Year FSC (men's); Hannah Rosinski, Pavilion SC of Cleveland Heights (ice dancing); and Courtney Cameron, St. Clair Shores FSC (synchronized).
Information from U.S. Figure Skating was used in this report.