Jaelin Kauf nailed her best World Cup finish in the Visa Freestyle International Moguls World Cup, taking sixth. (USSA)
PARK CITY, UT (February 4, 2016) – Jaelin Kauf (Steamboat, CO), competing in only her third World Cup event, blazed Deer Valley’s Champion mogul course to finish as the top American in sixth Thursday night at the Visa Freestyle International.
Canada’s Justine Dufour-Lapointe took her 11th World Cup victory, as Yulia Galysheva of Kazakhstan finished second, while Justine’s sister, Chloe Dufour-Lapointe, finished third. For the men, Matt Graham of Australia won his first World Cup mogul event Thursday night. Canada’s Mikael Kingsbury maintained his World Cup moguls lead, finishing second, followed by Ludvig Fjallstrom from Sweden in third.
Kauf, whose parents are both former pro mogul competitors and were in the finish to cheer her on, skied one of the fastest runs of the evening on the 2002 Olympic course. After qualifying 13th, she laid down a smoking run (28.59) with a heli at the top and a backflip on the bottom to move into the lead in the finals with a score of 77.60. With the top six qualifying for the Super Finals, she watched 12 competitors try to best her score.
“I tried not to think about (the pressure) too much,” Kauf said. “I just tried to relax and keep cool. It’s my first time in the top six, so I really had nothing to lose.”
Kauf moved into the super final as the top seed, again posting the fastest run (28.31) of the evening, matched with some tight, powerful turns. However, a small mistake is what most likely cost Kauf a shot at the podium.
“I did a heli up top - it felt big, felt good. The middle section felt awesome - I was skiing fast, and the course was really soft, really nice,” she said. “The bottom air I came in with a little bit of speed and went a little bigger than I thought, kind of sat down on the landing, but overall it felt real good.”
Jaelin Kauf skies to her best World Cup finish, sixth place, at the Visa Freestyle International.
Other American finishers included Ali Kariotis (Tiburon, CA) in 14th, Nessa Dziemian (East Hampstead, NH) in 15th and Olivia Giaccio (Vail, CO) finished 16th.
For the American men, Dylan Walczyk (Rochester, NY) pulled off a back-full on top jump, and followed it up with a d-spin on the bottom jump, to score his best finish so far this season in 11th. Joseph Discoe (Telluride, CO) threw a Johnny Mosley back flip iron cross mute grab to finish 13th, his best finish of the season, and a huge improvement from his 39th place result at Deer Valley last year. Thomas Rowley (Long Beach, NY) was the top U.S. qualifier coming into the Final, pulling a double-full off the top jump, but he carried too much speed out of the landing, blowing out mid-course to finish 16th.
The Visa Freestyle International continues Friday with aerials competition, as the mogul skiers return Saturday for the dual event, with finals once again under the lights.
Jaelin Kauf, competing in only her third World Cup event, finished a career-best sixth place.
Justine Dufour-Lapointe won her 11th World Cup moguls competition, and maintained a four-point lead over sister Chloe in the overall World Cup moguls standings.
Matt Graham of Australia won his first World Cup moguls event Thursday night in his 33rd World Cup start.
Mikael Kingsbury, who has been on the podium in all five World Cup moguls events this season, maintained his overall World Cup moguls lead by 123 points over Graham.
Dylan Walczyk scored his best finish so far this season in 11th.
Jaelin Kauf I tried not to think about (the pressure) too much. I just tried to relax and keep cool. It’s my first time in the top six, so I really had nothing to loose.
[On her final run] I did a heli up top - it felt big, felt good. The middle section felt awesome, I was skiing fast, and the course was really soft, really nice. The bottom air I came in with a little bit of speed and went a little bigger than I thought, kind of sat down on the landing, but overall it felt real good. It was great having my friends and family here supporting me and the atmosphere was awesome.
Matt Gnoza, Head Coach Moguls is in Jaelin’s blood, so it’s nice to see her perform well. She was very focused and prepared today. We still have some things to work on with the men. Duals provides more opportunity. If you can just win one run at a time, you’re moving in a good direction.
Scott Kauf, Jaelin Kauf's father and five-time pro moguls champion Tonight was all Jaelin. She’s worked so hard at it and she’s just starting that progression. As parents, you want to see her do the very best she can. This is just the beginning for her.
Saturday, Feb. 6 4:55 p.m. – Women’s and Men’s Dual Moguls Qualifications 7:00 – Women’s and Men’s Dual Moguls Finals
LIVE STREAM SCHEDULE (Times EST) Fans can watch the Visa Freestyle International in spectacular high definition via NBC Sports Live Extra online at NBCSports.com/LiveExtra, or through the Live Extra app on mobile, tablet and through the Apple TV or Roku connected TV devices. Friday, Feb. 5 – 9:50 p.m. – Women’s and Men’s Aerials Finals Saturday, Feb. 6 – 8:50 p.m. – Women’s and Men’s Dual Moguls Finals