Kauf Wins, Schild Third at Visa Freestyle International
The American women put on yet another stellar performance on the second night of moguls at the Visa Freestyle International. After finishing second on Wednesday night, Jaelin Kauf (Alta, Wyo.) found herself on top of the podium, claiming her third-career World Cup win. Teammate Morgan Schild (Rochester, N.Y.) repeated her result from yesterday, finishing third and clinching her spot on the 2018 Olympic team.
Kauf’s journey to the podium was a bit different on Thursday night. She qualified first into the finals, but dropped down to second after France’s Perrine Laffont took her final run. Kauf’s super final run was fast and flawless, but she had to wait to see if it was enough to bear Laffont. In the end it was, with Kauf taking the win with a score of 81.37. She now leads the moguls World Cup standings by 51 points over Laffont.
“It’s been an incredible day,” said Kauf. “Qualifying first was definitely a confidence boost. I just kept trying to step up my run each time. Winning here in Deer Valley is incredible - I have my friends, family and my parents here. It’s unbelievable.
"I was just hoping that what I put down was better than [Perrine’s] skiing. I know she’s a really tough competitor and she put down a solid run. But my speed helped,” Kauf added.
Living in the moment and staying focused on her runs, Schild’s skiing was consistent from round to round. She was the only woman who threw a cork 7 in finals, a trick that has carried her to multiple podiums throughout her career. After joining Kauf on the podium twice this week, Schild will also join her on the team representing the USA in PyeongChang.
“This week puts Jaelin and I in a great spot,” said Schild. “To have these performances on home soil and put ourselves in a good position heading in to PyeongChang just makes it that much sweeter.”
Keaton McCargo (Telluride, Colo.), Tess Johnson (Vail, Colo.) and Avital Shimko rounded out the top finishes for the U.S. women in seventh, 11th and 15th respectively. Mikael Kingsbury was one again dominant on the men’s side, taking the win with a score of 88.80. Kazakstan’s Dmitriy Reikherd was second and Australia’s Matt Graham third. The U.S. qualified Joel Hedrick (Winter Park, Colo.), Emerson Smith (Dover, Vt.) and Troy Tully (Pleasantville, N.Y.) into finals, but they were unable to break into the super finals, finishing 13th, 14th and 15th.
The Visa Freestyle International concludes on Friday night with the men’s and women’s aerials competition on the White Owl jump site. Finals will be streamed live on nbcsports.com at 9:45 p.m. EST.
HOW TO WATCH
All times EST
*subject to change
8:30 p.m. – Moguls finals #2 – NBCSN (next day coverage)
9:45 p.m. – Aerials finals – nbcsports.com
2:30 p.m. – Aerials finals – NBC (next day coverage)