Koznick Takes 4th in Worlds Night SL

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St. Anton, Austria, Feb. 7, 2001--Sweden's Anja Paerson took the first-run lead Wednesday in slalom at the World Championships on a course that claimed racer after racer. Kristina Koznick (Burnsville, MN) was fourth while the only other U.S. skier, Sarah Schleper (Vail, CO), fell.

Paerson, who skied third on conditions that favored only the first handful of racers, covered the flood-lit course in 44.69 with Christelle Saioni ofFrance second in 44.98. Janica Kostelic of Croatia, skiing No. 5, was third in the first run with a time of a 45.90 and Koznick, running sixth, finishedin 46.02.

"It's really soft, fast snow and it's broken up because it's so warm," Koznick said between runs "They're trying to get it hard, but it's just notpossible. There are sections that are so soft and it's really hard to keep your balance."

She added, "It's not the best I have to offer, but I'm glad they have two runs."

Schleper, starting No. 8, went down on the upper half of the course. "I thought the course would be an advantage for me," she said., "but it wasn't....

"I was going in a little wide on gate but I thought I could make it tighter....but it didn't work," Schleper said.