TARVISIO, Italy - University of Colorado freshman Erika Hogan won just the second American medal of these games and the first in skiing as she claimed the bronze by virtue of her third place finish in the slalom here Saturday in the 2003 World University Games.
Hogan, the No. 3 seed, was second after the first run with a 44.42 time, which was topped only by the 44.11 put up by eventual gold medal winner Kristina Hultdin of Sweden. Hogan's morning time was so good that she survived only the 12th best time in the second run to hang on win a medal, the first by a USA woman in several years in this international competition among the world's college and university students.
Hultdin won in a combined time of 1:28.21, with Italy's Claudia Morandini grabbing the silver in 1:29.38, with Hogan right behind her in 1:29.82. Finland's Tiina Salo was fourth, just six one-hundredths of a second behind Hogan.
"The snow didn't set up very well last night, so it was not fun; it breaks through," Hogan said after her first run. "I ran number three and it already was broken through by the time I went, so the later racers had a lot of problems, a lot of trouble. But conditions were a lot better in the afternoon."
"She handled the conditions well, and held her composure," said CU head coach and Team USA leader Richard Rokos. "She set the standard with her morning run, and unless disaster happened, hardly anyone was going to be able to catch her or the Swedish girl. It was close, but she hung on and got the medal. It's an incredible honor."
Team USA's only other medal here so far was a silver in women's figure skating by Minnesota-Duluth's Angela Lien. Russia leads with 25, including eight gold, with host Italy second with 12, the Ukraine third with 11 and Japan fourth with nine.
CU junior Mia Cullman finished 12th in a 1:32.16 time; she posted a faster second run than Hogan (45.25) to inch up from 14th place after her morning effort. The other Buff participant, senior Tove Pashkowski, did not finish her first run, one of 20 out of the 86 skiers in the race not to post a finish.
The men's slalom on Sunday concludes the skiing competition at these games, with all three Buff skiers seeded in the top 25. CU freshman Brad Hogan, Erika's older brother, has the top USA seed at No. 14, with sophomore Tyler Shepherd No. 21 and senior Jed Schuetze No. 22. There are 112 skiers in the field, and with no fresh snow, ruts develop quickly so conditions will favor the top 15-20 skiers out of the gate.