Paerson Takes "Knockout" Slalom, Schleper 11th

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SESTRIERE, Italy Dec. 15, 2002 (USSA Release)--Sweden's Anja Paerson finished two-hundredths of a second ahead of Tanja Poutiainen of Finland in the inaugural "knockout" slalom Sunday while Sarah Schleper (Vail, CO) was 11th and Kristina Koznick (Burnsville, MN) 20th.

Paerson—who won the last World Cup SL three weeks ago during the Chevy Truck America's Opening in Park City, UT—was timed in the one-run final in 38.03 seconds to 38.05. Nicole Hosp of Austria was third (38.19) and World Cup leader Janica Kostelic of Croatia - who defeated Schleper in the semifinals - fourth, another .01 back.

Outdoor Life Network will televise race Monday at 9 p.m. EST.

In the new-this-winter format, skiers raced the slalom course Saturday to qualify for the final round Sunday. The top 30 moved forward; Schleper and Koznick were the lone U.S. skiers to qualify for finals, which consisted of the top fastest paired off—No. 1 vs. No. 30, No. 2 vs. No. 29, etc—for one-run quarterfinals; the 15 faster skiers advanced to semis along with the three fastest losers in another "head to head" (but not side-by-side) round. The nine semifinals winners took one final run and were ranked according to time.

Schleper reached the semis where she lost to Kostelic but her time moved her to 11th place. Koznick was bounced in the quarters by Germany's Annemarie Gerg and her time placed her 20th among the 30.

The next women's races are on the weekend in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, with a downhill Saturday, slalom Sunday and the season's lone women's combined calculation; the men have two combined events - at Wengen, Switzerland, and Kitzbuehel, Austria.

FIS ALPINE WORLD CUP
Sestriere, ITA - Dec. 15
Women's Knockout Slalom (1st in history; 9 made one-run final)
1. Anja Paerson, Sweden, 38.03
2. Tanja Poutiainen, Finland, 38.05
3. Nicole Hosp, Austria, 38.19
4. Janica Kostelic, Croatia, 38.20
5. Sarak Zahrobska, Czech Republic, 38.22

11. Sarah Schleper, Vail, CO
20. Kristina Koznick, Burnsville, MN

World Cup Standings (11 races)
1. Kostelic, 535
2. Carole Montillet, France, 401
3. Karen Putzer, Italy, 343
4. Masrtina Ertl, Germany, 306
5. (tie) Paerson and Michaela Dorfmeister, Austria, 306

7. Kirsten Clark, Raymond, ME, 277
18T. Caroline Lalive, Steamboat Springs, CO, 132
22. Schleper, 116
26. Jonna Mendes, Heavenly, CA, 106
43. Julia Mancuso, Olympic Valley, CA, 51
51. Katie Monahan, Aspen, CO, 39
53. Koznick, 38
68. Libby Ludlow, Bellevue, WA, 24
89T. Bryna McCarty, Concord, VT, 6

Slalom (3 races)
1. Kostelic, 230
2. Paerson, 218
3. Christel Pascal, France, 151
4. Hosp, 142
5. Marlies Schild, Austria, 129

12. Schleper, 64
24. Koznick, 24
37T. Mancuso, 6

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