Koznick breaks bad luck streak
LIENZ, Austria – American Kristina Koznick finally had a good second run, and finished fourth Thursday to Marlies Schild in a World Cup slalom.Schild led a 1-2 Austrian finish, covering the Schlossberg marathon course in a two-run combined time of 1 minute, 57.92 seconds, a whopping 1.02 seconds ahead of teammate Nicole Hosp. Janica Kostelic regained the overall lead from Anja Paerson after placing third in 1:59.65. Koznick – who until now had repeatedly delivered strong opening runs this season only to fail in the second leg – was right behind at 1:59.81. It was her best showing since back-to-back second-place finishes last January.”I knew that second runs hadn’t been going well,” Koznick said. “I’ve been holding back for whatever reason and not feeling good. So, today I just really needed to put it all out there.”
Complacency took the day off.”Definitely I have a gift,” Koznick said. “That’s what got me here but I was ignoring it. So second run, the little kid in me that has the talent came out and that was huge for me to move forward.”In Wednesday’s giant slalom here, Koznick finished 18th in the opening leg but dropped back to 25th after a poor second effort.Last week in Spindleruv Mlyn, Czech Republic, Koznick was fourth in the opening run of a giant slalom, but plummeted to 16th after making a costly mistake in the second leg. In the previous day’s slalom, she was sixth in the opening run but slipped to 10th after the second leg.”So far, I’ve really had an advantage just because of my start number and that’s what’s kept me in there,” said Koznick, who has six career World Cup wins, all in slalom. “I was saying just a couple of days ago, I just have to feel. Everything had become just so robotic. We’ve been trying to work on so many things that when I got to races I wasn’t feeling it.”
It was Schild’s fifth career World Cup victory.”I was really surprised to win with such a large margin,” she said. “I didn’t feel so good on the course and it was tough work.”Lindsey Kildow led the rest of the Americans with a finish of eighth. Sarah Schleper tied for 13th, Julia Mancuso was 15th, Lauren Ross 23rd and Resi Stiegler 26th.Triple Olympic champion Kostelic of Croatia, who said she woke up feeling weak and ill, took both the overall and slalom points leads from Paerson of Sweden.
Paerson, who won Wednesday’s giant slalom, slid out on the fallaway in the opening leg. It was the first time in almost a year that she has failed to qualify for the second run of a World Cup slalom.Kostelic leads the overall standings with 592 points. Paerson dropped to second with 540. Kostelic also tops the slalom table with 220 points. Paerson is second with 200 and Schild third with 160.Kildow, a speed specialist who has only recently started focusing on the technical disciplines, placed eighth in 2:01.71. Her best career result in a slalom was seventh last March.Schleper was back on the circuit for the first time since having back surgery.
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