Martinez, CA -- August 2, 2004 – Megan Benjamin (17) and Blake Dahlgren (20) are the new USEF~AVA Vaulting Champions. After the final round of the USEF~AVA National Vaulting Championships held recently in Lexington, VA, Benjamin of Saratoga, CA with her horse Faronia scored 8.238 in the Women’s Gold Division. Dahlgren of Sun Valley, CA with Diesel, earned a score of 8.290, just ahead of Kenny Geisler. Geisler (21) of Diamond Bar, CA with Belgian horse Snickers and Goliath (a Shire/Quarter horse cross) had an overall score of 8.242.
All three Vaulters are now headed to Stadl Paura, Austria for the World Vaulting Championships that begin on August 5th. They will be joined by fellow Americans, Mari Inouy (Palo Alto, CA) and Samantha Smith, (Saratogo, CA) to round out the representation in the Women’s Competition. Dahlgren and Geisler will be joined in Austria by Devon Maitozo (Simi Valley, CA). All six young athletes are experienced international competitors. In the team division, Coastline Vaulters of Santa Cruz, CA earned the top spot in the selection trials to represent the U.S. in the team division.
The competition will host competitors from 22 countries. This will be the first time that Columbia, Japan, Russia and South Africa will participate in a World Vaulting Championships. The sport is a growing sport in many parts of the world as others learn the value of vaulting to their equestrian program. Organizers of the competition expect 400 competitors and 80 horses to participate in this event.
The American Vaulting Association is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) educational organization dedicated to the promotion of vaulting, an equestrian sport in which vaulters perform gymnastic and dance movements in harmony with their equine partner. Vaulting is one of the 12 disciplines supported by The United States Equestrian Federation, the National Governing Body (NGB) of Equestrian Sport in the United States. For more information on vaulting, visit www.americanvaulting.org. For more information on the USEF, visit www.usef.org. Information about the World Vaulting Championships can be found at: http://www.voltigier-wm2004.at