Kauf, Giaccio go Two-Three in Val St. Côme Dual Moguls
It was another cold evening in Val St. Côme as the Stifel U.S. Freestyle Ski Team moguls athletes took on the first dual moguls event of 2024, with Jaelin Kauf and Olivia Giaccio on the podium in second and third, respectively.
The U.S. women have been a force to be reckoned with throughout the first period of this season's competition schedule, with six sitting in the top 10 in the overall World Cup moguls standings. Currently, Jaelin Kauf sits second, Olivia Giaccio fourth, Hannah Soar fifth, Tess Johnson seventh, Liz Lemley eighth and Alli Macuga ninth.
During the qualification rounds, the U.S. athletes avoided going head-to-head, which allowed them to advance eight into the finals. Kasey Hogg narrowly missed the quarterfinals as she dueled against third place overall moguls-ranked Rino Yanagimoto. Alli Macuga and Tess Johnson also dueled in the 1/8th finals, where Macuga used her speed out of the gate and massive bottom air to advance over her teammate.
On the men’s side, Nick Page and Cole McDonald went huge in the second air in the 1/8th finals but were bested with speed by Japan’s Takuya Shimakawa and France’s Benjamin Cavet, respectively. Page finished 11th and McDonald 14th. Outside the finals was Dylan Marcellini in 24th, Dylan Walczyk in 27th and Landon Wendler in 29th. Nash Lucas also earned valuable experience in his first World Cup dual moguls start, finishing 43rd.
It was a battle of the American women in the quarterfinals, with Jaelin Kauf, Alli Macuga, Hannah Soar and Olivia Giaccio going head-to-head for two spots in the semis. The women know how to turn it on in the bumps and push each other while immediately smiling and hugging in the finish.
Olivia Giaccio bested Hannah Soar 18 to 17 in the quarterfinals in one of the tightest duals of the night. In the other heat, Kauf advanced over Alli Macuga. Kauf and Giaccio met in the semifinals, where Kauf moved on to the big finals and Giaccio to the small. Soar finished fifth, followed by Macuga in seventh, Kasey Hogg in 10th and Tess Johnson in 16th.
Kauf and Jakara Anthony dueled once again in the big finals. Kauf, unfortunately, took a nasty fall in the big final and did not finish but ultimately finished on the podium in second place alongside Giaccio, who finished third. This is both Kauf and Giaccio's fifth podium of the season, showcasing their incredible strength and consistency.
The team is heading to Waterville Valley, New Hampshire, for the first of two World Cups on home snow this season. They will compete at the United Airlines Waterville Freestyle Cup presented by ID One USA in moguls and dual moguls on Jan. 26-27.