Caldwell, Cook qualify for finals in aerials

Krasnaya Polyana, Russia ( - Americans Ashley Caldwell and Emily Cook both qualified for the finals of the women's aerials Friday at the Sochi Olympics.

Caldwell had the top score of 101.25, which she posted in the first run. The 20-year-old recently returned to competition following a series of knee injuries, finishing second at the aerials World Cup opener on Dec. 15.

Cook, who came in at 11th four years ago at the Vancouver Games, had the fifth-best score in the first qualifier with a score of 80.01. The top six scores moved on, while all other skiers had a second chance at six more spots in the final.

That helped 2010 gold medal winner Lydia Lassila of Australia move on. Her first-run score of 66.12 was well outside the top six, but she topped the field with a mark of 90.65 in the second qualifier.

China's Li Nina finished second behind Caldwell in the first run to advance. Li has claimed back-to-back Olympic silvers in this event.

Chinese teammate Xu Mengtao also moved on with a second-run score of 87.15. Xu finished sixth in Vancouver but won the 2013 FIS World Championships after having twice before finished second at the event.