American Vaulters Complete First Team Selection Trial

Menlo Park, CA (April 23, 2002) - The first of four vaulting team selection trials is completed. Several hopeful teams left the Menlo Park Training Center without the qualifying score they had hoped for. Judges Adrienne Stang (FEI O) and J. Ashton Moore (FEI O) presided over this one day event.

Five teams entered the competition and anxiously awaited the results. In the first round of compulsories every team struggled with the technical aspects of these required exercises. They each fell short of the required 7.0 qualifying score. Each vaulter, coach and longeur was aware that only an exemplary score in the freestyle round would be enough to raise their final score into the range which could be submitted to USA Equestrian for consideration to represent the United States at the World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Jerez, Spain in September. The competition was still wide open; less than one point separated the teams.

Only two teams were successful. The F.A.C.E. (Free Artists - Creative Equestrians) team of Moorpark, CA ruled on this day with the outstanding freestyle score of 8.810. The score was more than a point above the nearest competitor and enough to bring the team from third place position after compulsories to win the overall competition with a comfortable margin. F.A.C.E. was the AVA National Championship team in 2001 and represented the United States at the World Vaulting Championships in Mannheim, Germany in 2000. The team is coached by Devon Maitozo, men's world vaulting champion in 1998. The team horses Balanchine and Marshall carried them to victory.

Coastline Vaulters of Santa Cruz, CA is a relatively new club and the first year they have applied to represent the United States in a World Championship. The team is coached by Katariina Alongi of Finland, who has raised the bar for these vaulters. This is the second year they have competed in the A Team arena and they received a credible second place-finish after compulsories with a score of 6.767. Coastline's third place finish in the freestyle round with a score of 7.280 placed them just behind the Woodside Vaulters of Woodside, CA. Coastline's combined compulsory and freestyle scores earned with their horse, Caneel, were enough to edge out the Woodside Team and finish second overall at the end of the competition.

Three additional team selection trials are scheduled before the close on June 9, 2002. They will be held: May 5th at Flying Cloud Farm in Petaluma, CA; May 18th at The Garrod Farms in Saratoga, CA; and June 1-2 at Equestrian Performance Center, Moorpark, CA. These will be the only opportunities for the teams to acquire the three required qualifying scores.

Individual vaulters also had an opportunity to earn potential qualifying scores. Mari Inouye (18) of Palo Alto, CA lead the field of twelve women. She finished first overall with a score of 8.528. Inouye represented the Sundance Team with their horse, Faustus owned by Phoebe Cooke of Woodside, CA. Seven other women also earned scores of seven or higher to submit to USA Equestrian. They were: Jill Main (19), Samantha Smith (16), Julie Keville (19), Pam Geisler (24), Melissa Williams (18), Megan Benjamin (14) and Jessica Ballenger (19). Only Geisler and Inouye have represented the United States in previous world vaulting championships as individual competitors.

In the men's division all five competitors received scores above the seven point required score. Devon Maitozo (26) was the winner with a score of 8.273 just in front of Kenny Geisler (21) who placed second with a score of 8.445. Blake Dahlgren (17), Adrian Matsomoto (17) and Christopher Littmann (18) also earned scores which can be submitted to USA Equestrian for WEG consideration. Erik Martonovich of Golden, CO was entered in the competition, but withdrew after truck problems prevented the transportation of his horse Doc to the CA facility.

Overall results appear below. Full results can be found at: http://home.att.net/~wdsfest/wdsresults.html.

A Team Overall
1. F.A.C.E. 7.680
2. Coast Line 7.024
3. Woodside 6.920
4. Mt. Eden 6.899
5. Tambourine 6.139

Gold Overall - Men
1. Devon Maitozo, FACE 8.723
2. Kenny Geisler, Diamond Bar 8.445
3. Blake Dahlgren, FACE 8.071
4. Adrian Matsumoto, FACE 7.634
5. Chris Littmann, FACE 7.073

Gold Overall - Women
1. Mari Inouye, Sundance North 8.528
2. Jill Main, Woodside 7.955
3. Samantha Smith, Pacific Coast 7.932
4. Julie Keville, Tambourine 7.889
5. Pam Geisler, Diamond Bar 7.830
6. Melissa Williams, Coast Line 7.643
7. Megan Benjamin, Mt. Eden 7.407
8. Jessica Ballenger, Mt. Eden 7.347
9. Meghan Logan, Coast Line 6.926
10. Becky Hall, Mt. Eden 6.916
11. Leslie Hamar, Showtime 6.823
12. Ginny Kaufmann, Mt. Eden 6.508

The American Vaulting Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization for the education and promotion of vaulting. Vaulting is the sport of gymnastics and dance performed on and in harmony with the equine partner. For more information about vaulting please visit our website at www.americanvaulting.org.




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