At Deer Valley World Cup, upstart local Marcellini shines, American women set record
Dylan Marcellini leads U.S. men in fourth, 7 U.S. women make finals
Dylan Marcellini found himself in the final six of Thursday night’s men’s moguls World Cup event at Deer Valley Resort with a shot at a podium finish just a week after making his World Cup debut.
Marcellini was the last American man standing, and he put down a clean run for a score of 72.77 to briefly put him in the lead. His night would end just a spot off the podium in fourth place. Matt Graham of Australia went home with the win, while Canada’s Mikael Kingsbury finished second and France’s Benjamin Cavet came in third. Jakara Anthony of Australia won the women’s event, American Jaelin Kauf came in second and France’s Perrine Laffont was third.
“It feels amazing,” Marcellini said. “I came out here with just no expectations and just skied my run, didn’t do anything more. And it really goes to show that just hard work and dedication really pays off. It means a ton to me.”
Marcellini, who is on the U.S. development team and skis for Wasatch Freestyle, had a night to remember, and a medal would have been the cherry on top. His first two World Cup starts in Val St. Come, Canada, last week ended with two finishes outside of the top 40. But on Thursday night, he was hanging with the top moguls skiers in the world.
“I was definitely taking my time down there, looking around, looking at the crowd down here,” he said. “Just trying to take it all in. I’ve been dreaming of this moment for so many years, watching the best guys out here. It means an unbelievable amount being able to ski with them.”
Park City’s Cole McDonald finished in 13th. He comfortably qualified for the finals in eighth place, but a couple of bobbles and a rough landing prevented him from going any further. While he didn’t end up in the final six, McDonald pushed the degree of difficulty as much as he could with a back double full on the top air and a cork 1080 on the second jump.
“When I was younger, I always dreamt of completing that air package in this World Cup,” he said. “Basically the hardest tricks you can do right now in moguls skiing.”
But most of all, he finally checked “ski under the lights at Deer Valley” off his bucket list.
“It felt amazing to be in front of this crowd,” he said. “I could hear them cheering at the top. Just crossing that finish line, even though it wasn’t my best run I could have done, it just felt so amazing to finally accomplish this goal of cheering under the lights in front of this home crowd.”
Early on, the champion of the night was Champion itself, as much of the field struggled to put down a clean run down the course. Only 26 of the 56 skiers who started in the qualification round posted a score above 60, and there were 11 DNFs.
Park City’s Nick Page was one of many skiers who struggled with Champion on Thursday. Page skied out in the middle section after losing control, and he had to settle for 29th.
“It was a tough day,” Page said. “I don’t think I’ve ever skied a more challenging run than what qualifying was today. Definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever been in. It was easy to just let feet get out in front and hard to slow down, so that’s what happened. Learn from it and figure out to fix the mistakes for Saturday.”
“I think just the amount of runs you didn’t see completed today really kind of showed you how challenging it was,” Page added. “I don’t know when the last time this many people struggled was. I know I finished 29th, and I think I had one of the highest scores while blowing out, which is insane. That’s almost 50% of our field that struggled in that qualifying.”
Page will get his shot at redemption on Saturday night for dual moguls, and he’s motivated to have a better finish. The Parkite ranks ninth in the dual moguls standings.
“It’s hard watching, but it definitely kind of lights something up to get back there,” Page said.
The American women enjoyed a big night on home snow. Kauf had by far the fastest time in the final six to help her take second place, and a record seven American women qualified for the finals, including Park City’s Alli Macuga in her first World Cup at Deer Valley. Kauf recorded her 22nd career World Cup podium on Thursday.
“It’s so special,” Kauf said. “This is my favorite event every year. Being back under the lights here at Deer Valley, getting that big crowd going again, it’s just so special. Just so stoked to put down some really solid runs, get the crowd going, get everyone excited.”
The crowd at the bottom of Champion was full of “J” signs for Kauf, and she put on a show for her supporters.
“I think there might be more J signs than people here for me,” she said. “But a really good group of family and friends and big support team out here, which is just so amazing.”
“My dad, he works on them for, like, six months leading up to it,” Kauf added. “He gets so excited to make them. There’s a whole workshop going in the garage.”
While Kauf and Hannah Soar were the only ones to make the final six, the American women qualifying seven for the finals showed how deep the program is.
“It’s really awesome to see,” Kauf said. “Some girls make their first finals out here, some guys make their first finals. Dylan making his first super finals, which is incredible. I think it just goes to show how strong our team is and how deep it goes. Anyone could be up on the podium.”
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