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Deer Valley: Schmid, Puckett qualify 1-2 in skicross


PARK CITY, Utah — X Games ski cross multi-medalist Casey Puckett led U.S. skiers in the qualifying round of the Visa Freestyle International at Deer Valley resort Friday. Puckett finished second with a qualifying time of 1:05.96, just two-hundredths of a second behind Swiss skier Michael Schmid.
PARK CITY, Utah — X Games ski cross multi-medalist Casey Puckett led U.S. skiers in the qualifying round of the Visa Freestyle International at Deer Valley resort Friday. Puckett finished second with a qualifying time of 1:05.96, just two-hundredths of a second behind Swiss skier Michael Schmid.
    "It was pretty slow up there because of the falling snow, but I'm happy with my run," Puckett said. "When I came down I was lucky that I started early. I hit all the features the way I wanted to and I am happy with being second." Daron Rahlves, who won the X Games SX gold medal Sunday night, was the next U.S. skier, qualifying eighth.
    The Visa Freestyle International ski cross competitions mark the first World Cup skicross event in the finals are scheduled for Saturday.
    "It's really stacked and tight and narrow up at the top, but then that takes away some opportunities to make moves," Rahlves said. "It's likely going to get aggressive [tomorrow]."
    In the women's competition, the French led the top two spots with Ophelie David winning with a time of 1:10.99 and Meryl Boulangeat in second at 1:11.31. Sasa Faric of Slovenia was third with 1:11.34. Langely McNea slipped into finals in 16th place.
    U.S. skicross Head Coach Tyler Shepherd believes that with different weather and the pack racing style, Saturday's finals heats will be a different ballgame. He said three feet of snow, from three snowstorms this week, have slowed the athletes a bit from their normal speed.
    "The course ran a lot slower today so I think when they come out of the 'Daytona' [the seventh turn in the course] whoever can pinch someone out right there, that's where I think places will be established," Shepherd said. "I'll be really surprised if anything happens at the finish."

OFFICIAL RESULTS
2008 FIS FREESTYLE WORLD CUP
Visa Frreestyle International
Deer Valley Resort
Park City, UT – Feb. 1

Men's Ski Cross Qualifications (32 qualified)
1. Michael Schmid, Switzerland, 1:05.94
2. Casey Puckett, Aspen, CO, 1:05.96
3. Davey Barr, Canada, 1:06.03
4. Tomas Kraus, Czech Republic, 1:06.07
5. Stanley Hayer, Canada, 1:06.70
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8. Daron Rahlves, Sugar Bowl, CA, 1:07.12
12. Jake Fiala, Copper Mountain, CO, 1:07.47
26. Errol Kerr, Truckee, CA, 1:08.18

Women's Ski Cross Qualifications (16 qualified)
1. Ophelie David, France, 1:10.99
2. Meryl Boulangeat, France, 1:11.31
3. Sasa Faric, Slovenia, 1:11.34
4. Emilie Serain, Switzerland, 1:11.37
5. Seraina Murk, Switzerland, 1:11.93
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16. Langely McNeal, Ketchum, ID, 1:14.81

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