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Maribor, Slovenia Jan. 5, 2002 (USSA)--Kristina Koznick (Burnsville, MN) shook off a funk from the previous day and earned her second straight podium in slalom Saturday, finishing second behind world champion Anja Paerson of Sweden, who skied a flawless second run to win by more than a second. Sarah Schleper (Vail, CO) collected her third straight top-10, her second in a row in slalom.

OLN will televise coverage of the race Monday night at 9 EST.

Paerson's brilliant second run brought her second straight slalom victory, this time in 1:38.05. Koznick was runnerup in 1:39.24 and Schleper finished in 1:39.97.

"It was a very good day," said Coach Dan Stripp. "Koz had one mistake in the middle of her second run and that cost her momentum. You could see her battling for speed, fighting to go faster the rest of the way but there was no chance. She and Anja are really stepping up their skiing. It's at a very high level. Anje really had a flawless run, starting 30th and still posting the fastest second run. It was very impressive."

"My second run wasn't all that good but it still was a good day after Friday (when she failed to qualify in GS)," said Koznick. "I had been sick the day before and been in bed all day, so I was a little un-motivated in the GS. I felt fine, just wasn't motivated."

The finish vaulted Koznick into a tie for second in the FIS World Cup slalom standings with Laure Pequegnot of France after three races, behind the perfect three-for-three Paerson, setting the stage for a thriller Sun. in Maribor. Koznick moved up to eighth in the overall World Cup standings.

Schleper, meanwhile, continued on fire with her third straight top-10 finish. Schleper had a slow start to the season but has come on strong after the holidays, now with top Olympic qualifying finishes in both giant slalom and slalom.

"This was the hardest snow we've skied on this season on the World Cup," added Stripp. The only harder snow was at Loveland (where Koznickwon the Nature Valley Alpine Cup). She is getting more confident every day."

"The snow was awesome," she added. "Anja showed you could come out of the back and still take it. She had such a great run. I got excited because I didn't have that great a second run but still was second. When I put things together, I'll really be ready."

The weekend has marked the return of Alex Shaffer (Park City, Utah) to the World Cup. Shaffer, who has missed most of the last two seasons, is coming off an outstanding December where she had five top-10 FIS races including a win, and a seventh in a Europa Cup GS.

Racing continues in Maribor with another slalom on Sunday.

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