Krasnaya Polyana, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - American alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin posted the top time in the first run of the women's slalom on Friday at the Sochi Olympics.

The 18-year-old Shiffrin shredded the slalom course at Rosa Khutor, crossing the finish line in 52.62 seconds, .49 seconds faster than reigning gold medalist Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany.

Shiffrin has dominated the discipline over the past year, winning gold at the 2013 world championships and also claiming the most recent World Cup season title in the slalom.

With a medal on Friday, Shiffrin, who made her Olympic debut in the giant slalom earlier this week and finished fifth, would become the first American woman to find the podium in Olympic slalom since Barbara Cochran won gold at the 1972 Sapporo Games.

Hoefl-Riesch, who won gold in the super-combined on Feb. 10 and silver in the Super-G five days later, posted a time of 53.11 seconds to head into run two in second place.

Slovenia's Tina Maze, who's already secured a pair of alpine golds in Sochi, crossed the finish line in 53.29 seconds to finish third after the first run.

Austrian sisters Bernadette and Marlies Schild finished fourth and sixth, respectively, following their first runs. Marlies, the older of the two Schilds, took slalom bronze at the 2006 Turin Games and added a silver in Vancouver.