Kauf Fourth in Ruka
Jaelin Kauf lead the U.S. Moguls Team with a fourth-place finish at the FIS World Cup Opener in Ruka, Finland, Saturday. Jaelin absolutely dominated the middle section with her speed but came short of the podium when she straddled a mogul during her run.
France’s Perrine Laffont took first, newcomer Anri Kawamura from Japan was second and Australia’s Britteny Cox finished third. In his 100th World Cup start, Canada’s Mikael Kingsbury continued to dominate and came away with the victory. Japan’s Ikuma Horishima took second and Sweden’s Walter Wallberg was third.
Hannah Soar qualified in second for the first final, skiing an outstanding run, but ended the competition in 11th. “She’s a podium potential athlete and her day is coming very, very soon,” said U.S. Ski & Snowboard Head Moguls Coach Matt Gnoza.
Olivia Giaccio also had a great qualifier, coming in fifth. She was a little too amped out at the top air of her first qualifying run, landing with too much speed, which cost her and she finished the day in 14th. “Those two are super highlight trained and well prepared,” said Matt. “They’ll both be forces to be reckoned with for the rest of the year. We’re not talking about learning a new trick or having to have the ‘run of your life,’ they just need to go out there and be the skiers they are.”
Dylan Walczyk was the top finisher for the U.S. men, skiing a smart, well-executed run in finals to come in seventh. Nick Page ended his first World Cup in 18th, earning his first World Cup points. “Nick had an absolutely outstanding first World Cup run of his career,” said Matt. “He threw a cork 7 grab at the top and a cork 10 at the bottom with a nearly flawless middle section. Nick made himself known and proved he belongs here.”
Alex Lewis also had an awesome World Cup debut, skiing well-performed runs in both qualifying rounds to finish 26th. Experience plays a big part in being successful on the moguls World Cup circuit and Alex and Nick made their presence known. They are making a statement about what the future of U.S. moguls skiing looks like.
The Team heads next to Thaiwoo, China, for moguls and dual moguls FIS World Cup events Dec. 14-15. “We will learn, adapt, adjust and move on,” said Matt. “Ruka provided a lot of learning opportunities we will use to move forward.”