Kauf Second In World Cup After Dual Cancellation
Due to weather, the FIS Freestyle World Cup dual moguls scheduled for Sunday were canceled. The American athletes were able to train on schedule, but the fog never lifted, and the organizers, unfortunately, had to call the event.
The U.S. team will finish second overall for the Nations’ Cup and will also claim the second-ranked female moguls skier in the world: Jaelin Kauf (Alta, Wyo.).
“This has been my best season to date and the most consistent I’ve ever been,” said Kauf. “I said at the beginning of the year that I wanted to make every super final and I did. I’m so proud of myself for that. I know I made mistakes and have a lot to improve for next year, I can still clean up and improve both my jumps and my skiing. It’s been a competitive season and there’s been a lot of really impressive skiing. I am truly honored to finish second in the world among such a strong field of women.”
Although the U.S. did not earn the Nations’ Cup, the Americans did close the season with the number one women’s team. “Overall, I am very pleased with how the team performed this winter,” reflects U.S. Ski & Snowboard Head Moguls Coach Matt Gnoza. “Unfortunately, we came up just short of our team goal of winning the Nations’ Cup, but we did have the number one women’s team to finish the season. I am extremely proud of all the athletes. Every one of them improved as we progressed through the season and we became a better team each week.”
Although Kazakhstan didn’t provide a second podium opportunity, the course was excellent on Saturday with blue skies and temperatures around 40 degrees Fahrenheit – perfect for March moguls skiing. “The Kazakhstanis were very supportive and helpful; the people here are very proud of their country and we're excited to share it with us,” said Gnoza. “We look forward to returning to Kazakhstan for future World Cups and hope that this becomes an annual stop on the tour.
Even with no podiums this weekend, the Americans still managed to put on the wow factor. A definite highlight was Olivia Giaccio (Redding, Conn.) throwing the first cork-1080 in moguls competition for women. During the super final Giaccio had a hiccup in her first air, causing her to stop. Instead of earning a DNF, Giaccio gathered herself to finish out the run and threw the trick to wild excitement from the fans.
“I was pretty pumped up after the whole thing!” said Giaccio. “When I blew out after my full up top, I knew my run was over. But I wanted to use the rest of the run as an opportunity to try out the trick I had started working on this summer. I didn’t think — I went for it in more of a spur of the moment fashion, which was really fun. It was one of my goals this season to be the first woman to compete the trick, so going for that was pretty fun. It’s definitely in my plan to make it a part of my run, for sure!”
While their World Cup tour is over, the U.S. Moguls Team has one more competition this season: U.S. National Championships in Waterville Valley on March 16 & 17. Winning Nationals is always on every athlete’s bucket list of achievements, there is something special about being named U.S. National Champion. “The entire team is eager to get to Waterville and ski their best, we always have some great battles amongst team members as they vie for the title,” said Gnoza. “They are equally as excited to get back to the USA and ski with their friends from their home programs and regions in competing for a national championship.”
Looking forward to 2019-2020, Gnoza sees a bright future. “This past World Cup season we became a team. I look forward to watching this team grow into champions. Our outstanding and dedicated staff combined with the talent and passion of the athletes is the makings of something pretty special.”