By Tom Horrocks
WATERVILLE VALLEY, New Hampshire — Jaelin Kauf of Alta, Wyoming, and Jesse Andringa of Boulder, Colorado, made it back-to-back victories at the 2019 Toyota U.S. Freestyle Championship dual moguls Sunday at New Hampshire’s Waterville Valley Resort.
Both U.S. Freestyle Team athletes picked up their first individual U.S. moguls titles Saturday and carried that championship momentum into Sunday’s dual moguls where Kauf picked up her second duals national title, and Andringa won his first duals title.
Defending men’s champion in both disciplines, Brad Wilson of Butte, Montana, took the podium in men’s dual moguls with a third placer, and finished in 14th with a tumble in the moguls.
“The competition was pretty tough today,” Kauf said. “Starting in the first round…I was nervous for every dual. In duals, the fun thing is that anything can happen at any point, so I was really focusing I just keeping it together.”
In the finals, Kauf defeated Ali Kariotis of Tiburon, California,, the 2014 FIS Junior World Champion in dual moguls, for the victory. Hannah Soar of Killington, Vermont, landed on the podium for the second consecutive day, defeating Tess Johnson of Vail, Colorado, in the small final for third.
In the men’s final, Andringa came in with a plan and defeated Dylan Walczyk of Rochester, New York, for the victory.
“My plan was to hit that top air, land really clean and ski the first six to 10 moguls pretty slow and just get my balance point, and then from faster and faster and faster until I hit bottom air,” Andringa said. “The competition was hot today, it was fast, and it was fun!”
Wilson rounded out the podium in third, defeating Jack Kariotis of Tiburon, California, in the small final.
Wilson posted a picture of the podium and place-winners on Twitter with a “Happy St. Patrick’s Day” message to his hometown. Wilson is a 2011 graduate of Butte Central where he lettered in tennis. He is a two-time Winter Olympian and younger brother of Bryon Wilson, the 2010 Winter Olympics Bronze Medalist in men’s moguls, and who is a 2006 Butte High graduate and former Butte American Legion baseball second baseman.
Brad Wilson wound up the season as the top men’s mogulist on the U.S. team and ranked seventh in the final World Cup standings for the season.
Kauf and Andringa each won their first U.S. Freestyle Championships individual moguls titles Saturday.
“I feel like I’ve been trying for quite a few years and haven’t been able to get there yet, so I’m really stoked with (the U.S. title),” said Kauf, who also won the U.S. dual moguls title and finished third in the individual moguls at the 2017 U.S. Championships. “There is so much talent on the U.S. women’s mogul team … to be able to walk away with a win and stand on top of the podium today means a lot.”
Soar posted a career-best U.S. Championship result, finishing second, Johnson, the defending U.S. Women’s Champion in dual moguls, posted a career-best individual result in third.
In the men’s final, Andringa, who finished second last year at the U.S. Championships, edged out a couple of young guns to take his first individual moguls title.
“It means a lot (to win the title),” Andringa said. “There is so much good talent out here, so much young talent out here, that just to be on the podium in an accomplishment in its own. To lay down a good run (Saturday), I’d been struggling all week, it feels really good.”
Wilson said on social media that his moguls run was complicated by the loss of one of his ski poles as he went up the bottom ramp. He struggled in the air and came down in a heap in his landing, but still skied across the finish line.
Nick Page of Salt Lake City stepped up his game, finishing on the podium in second after finishing 34th at the U.S. Championships last season. While George McQuinn of Winter Park, Colorado, improved upon his sixth-place finish from the 2018 U.S. Championships to round out the podium in third Saturday.
— Bruce Sayler contributed to this article for buttesports.com