Kristina Koznick Wins First Slalom This Season

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Sestriere, Italy, Mar. 10 (AP)--American Kristina Koznick got her first World Cup victory this season in a slalom race today, less than a week after compatriot Daron Rahlves gave U.S. men their first win in five years on the circuit.

Koznick's victory, the third of her career, was the first for an American woman since she prevailed in Semmering, Austria, 15 months ago.

Rahlves won the first two World Cup races of his career last weekend, stunning the sport's elite in back-to-back downhills in Kvitfjell, Norway.

The Americans are on a roll just in time for the World Cup finals next week in Bormio.

Koznick, whose season sputtered at the start, began picking up momentum three weeks ago with by placing second in Are, Sweden, for her first podium of the season.

Today, the Burnsville, Minn., native was second after the first run _ tied with Slovenian Spela Pretnar _ then powered down the twisty second run to beat Christel Saioni of France by four-hundredths of a second.

Koznick, a slalom specialist, attacked the steep, upper portion of the course and then let her skis run smoothly on the flatter, lower section.

The 24-year-old American posted a two-run time of 1 minute, 42.50 seconds. Saioni was at 1:42.54. Pretnar, the slalom points leader with four victories, crossed the line in 1:42.57.

Koznick's victory in the last slalom prior to the World Cup finals in Bormio, shows that is back among the elite. Last season, the American consistently finished among the top racers.

Copyright © 2000 The Associated Press