Kauf Wins, Murphy Third in Thaiwoo
THAIWOO, China (Dec. 21, 2017) – The U.S. Ski Team moguls athletes stepped up to claim two podiums on day one of competition at Thaiwoo Resort. Jaelin Kauf (Alta, Wyo.) took home a win and Troy Murphy (Bethel, Maine) third.
After a strong fifth-place finish at the World Cup opener a few weeks ago, Kauf dominated the women’s finals in Thaiwoo. She qualified first into the super final and was the last skier to drop, skiing a clean, fast run to secure her second career World Cup win, her first singles win and one of two podiums needed to meet objective criteria for the 2018 Olympic team.
"I fee like I'm floating on cloud nine right now," said Kauf after her win. "This is honestly just such a confidence booster moving forward with the rest of the season. I feel like I can relax a little more now and just go out there and ski my runs.
I was able to let my speed go through the middle section today," she added. "I put down two runs back to back where I pushed the speed but was able to stay pretty tight and clean and I think that was a key component to my run."
The U.S. women once again packed skiers into the finals with Mikaela Matthews (Frisco, Colo.) sixth, Tess Johnson (Vail, Colo.) seventh, Keaton McCargo (Telluride, Colo.) eighth and Morgan Schild (Rochester, N.Y.) ninth. Kazakhstan’s Yulia Galysheva and Canada’s Andi Naude rounded out the podium in second and third.
Murphy, who was ranked sixth in the world in 2017, was within reach of a podium finish at multiple events last season, but was never able to secure it. That wasn’t the story this time as Murphy’s bag of high degree of difficulty tricks and clean turns carried him to a third-place finish with a score of 80.57. It was the first podium of Murphy’s career and puts him one step closer to PyeongChang.
"It's awesome to finally stand on the podium," said Murphy. "This is obviously a big year and I'm stoked that my hard work throughout the years is paying off! I think my jumps are always the stamp of approval on my runs. I'm happy with my skiing as well. There's room for improvement all around which I'm happy about because there is more success to be had."
In just his seventh World Cup start, Emerson Smith was the top qualifier heading into super finals before skiing out on his final run for a sixth place finish. Bradley Wilson (Butte, Mt.) also advanced to finals, finishing 12th. Canada’s Mikael Kingsbury claimed yet another win and Australia’s Matt Graham was second.
Moguls action continues in Thaiwoo with another singles competition on Dec. 22. Finals will be broadcast live on The Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA.
HOW TO WATCH (times EST)
Friday, Dec. 22
12:30 a.m. – Men’s and women’s moguls – Olympic Channel TV