Jaelin Kauf leads U.S. skiers in moguls World Cup opener | SteamboatToday.com

Jaelin Kauf leads U.S. skiers in moguls World Cup opener

Steamboat Springs moguls skier Jaelin Kauf skis last spring in the U.S. National Championships in Steamboat.

Steamboat Springs-trained moguls skier Jaelin Kauf flew to a fifth-place finish Saturday in the first moguls World Cup of the season.

Kauf was the top American skier at the event, in Ruka, Finland.

Australia's Britteny Cox, back on snow after winning last winter's season-long moguls World Cup, won the event. Canadian skier Audrey Robichaud was second and Marika Pertakhiya, of Russia, was third.

Kauf's final run wasn't her sharpest, but she was sharp all day to that point. She easily qualified for the 16-skier finals, then was sitting in second after her run there heading into the super final. Low scores in airs and turns kept her off the podium, but it was still one of the strongest results of her career. It was her sixth top-five World Cup finish since joining the tour in January, 2016.

Kauf is a Steamboat Springs High School grad and longtime member of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. She's one of the top U.S. threats to win a medal at the looming 2018 Winter Olympics after scoring won a bronze at the World Championships last winter.

Keaton McCargo placed ninth for the U.S. Olivia Giaccio, who also trained in Steamboat, was 14th, Tess Johnson 15th and Morgan Schild 16th. Mikaela Matthews placed 38th

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The U.S. men weren't as successful Saturday. Canada's Mikael Kingsbury won the event. Dmitriy Reikherd of Kazakhstan was second and his countryman Pavel Kolmakov third.

Emerson Smith was the top U.S. finisher, placing 15th. Bradley Wilson was 37th, Thomas Rowley 39th and Troy Murphy 41st while Joel Hedrick and Troy Tully were DNFs.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9.