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Five For Friday: Freestyle Skiing

By Paul D. Bowker | Jan. 22, 2016, 12:01 a.m. (ET)

Mikaela Matthews competes at the 2015 USANA U.S. Freestyle Championships on March 27, 2015 in Steamboat Springs, Colo.

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World cup leader Mikaela Matthews, who won her first moguls world cup in the season opener in Ruka, Finland, leads a 12-person U.S. team into this week’s freestyle moguls world cup event in Val St. Come, Quebec.

“I am definitely hoping to carry the same momentum from Ruka into Val St. Come,” said Matthews, who is attempting to win the same event that was won a year ago by retired three-time U.S. Olympian Hannah Kearney. “Each day is a new one and every course is different, but I am hopeful and confident that my skills will carry over.”

Jaelin Kauf, who medaled twice at the U.S. selections event, will make her world cup debut. Joining Matthews and Kauf in the women’s moguls are Nessa Dziemian, Ali Kariotis, 2014 Olympian Heidi Kloser and Keaton McCargo.

Saturday’s competition also features the return of Troy Murphy and Tom Rowley, who missed the opener in Ruka due to injuries. They’ll be joined by Jeremy Cota, Bruce Perry Jr., Dylan Walczyk and Bryon Wilson in the men’s event.

The cancellation of the world cup in Lake Placid, New York, led to more training time for the U.S. squad.

“We are all feeling a little stir crazy and ready to get back on the road for competitions,” Matthews said, “but it has been awesome getting in some great training at Deer Valley. It is a rare treat to have the time to tweak some skills and make changes in our skiing mid-season and I am happy we were able to take advantage of that opportunity.”

Qualifications and finals are scheduled for Saturday.

Webcast: 2:15 p.m. ET Saturday, NBC Sports Live Extra

Paul D. Bowker is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.