Lexington, KY - Rachel Bublitz, of Golden, Colo., emphatically won the CV1* women's division at the Kentucky Cup Vaulting this afternoon, earning the top scores in both the morning's compulsory round (7.073) and in the afternoon's freestyle round (6.819). Bublitz' overall score of 6.895 kept Kyra McCarty of San Mateo, Calif., in second (6.573) and Kathryn Jaggers, of Portola Valley, Calif., in third (6.508).
Bublitz, 16, of the Golden Gate Vaulters, presented a strong but elegant performance, with some daring movements that outweighed a slight mistake on one pose and her horse, Oliver, breaking to the trot for several strides. She used music by Doris Day for her freestyle. "I wasn't sure I'd won by the time I finished, because of those bobbles," admitted Bublitz.
Josef Martonovich, her longer, said that Bublitz' personality overcame the minor mistakes. "It was her experience and her cool head that won. It was my mistake that the horse broke to the trot, but she just stayed quiet to let him canter again," said Martonovich.
He also thought Bublitz performed a more difficult test than most of her competitors, meaning she earned high marks for degree of difficulty. "She's pushing the edge, and I think that balances it out if there are little mistakes," he added.
McCarty, 17, vaulted with Vermeer, a relatively new horse on the Mt. Eden Vaulting Team, longed by Jessica Ballenger. Her performance was bold and assured and earned the second-highest freestyle score (6.504). McCarty also earned the second-highest score in today's compulsory round (6.947).
She said she chose a slow piece of classical music for her freestyle because "it gives me a chance to present myself well, and this time every single move worked. It was the best it's been all year, so I didn't really care about the score or the placing because of that."
Jaggers, 15, a member of the Woodside Vaulters, used an instrumental version of the Rolling Stones classic "Brown Sugar." Her mount was Pepper Jack, longed by Jennifer Arntsen. Pepper Jack also carried Yvonne Greenen to fourth place and Grace Koz to fifth place. "I'd used Latin and other types of music before, and this year I decided to try something new, and it was really fun," said Jaggers.
Joey Gadd, of the Mt. Eden Vaulters, easily held on to the lead he grabbed in the first round of compulsories, decisively winning the men's one-star freestyle (5.893) to coast to the overall victory (5.843) over Shawn Ricci (5.524) and Clay Thomas (5.318).
To the heavy drumbeats from the theme of the movie "Waterworld," Gadd, of Saratoga, Calif., turned in a dramatic and mistake-free performance. "It's strong music, and I think my horse, Lanson, and I work well with it," he said.
Gadd, 14, added, "I'm going to go home to California and tell a lot of people how great the Kentucky Horse Park is and tell them to come watch the vaulting at the WEG next year."
For the two one-star teams, this afternoon's second and final freestyle was absolutely decisive. The seven-member teams, both from the San Francisco Bay Area, had traded the lead through the two previous rounds, with Mt. Eden winning the compulsory round and Woodside taking the lead after the first freestyle. This afternoon Woodside edged the Mt. Eden Eclipse by .2, leaving them just .013 points ahead in the final calculations.
The Mt. Eden Eclipse team-containing two girls in the top 10 of the one-star individual standings and the leader of the two-star individual competition-showed more sophisticated choreography and musical interpretation. Woodside relied largely on the daring poses of their two 11-year-old fliers (Tessa Divita and Siddhartha Kreaden) to soar high above the ground, and two of the three judges preferred their verve and excitement.
Grace Koz used to be one of the team's fliers, but now she's the base for Kreaden. She said that lifting Kreaden over her head is her favorite part of the routine. Kreaden agreed. "It's really fun, and I trust Grace a lot," she said. "I'm going to go home with a smile on my face and remember all the good times we had on our team."
The other Woodside team members are: Julia Plungy, Katrina Nibbi, Sarah Dunn and Christine Hermann.
The Mt. Eden Eclipse team members are: Megan Benjamin, Kyra McCarty, Laura Yelavich, Merina Rainville, Adna Revell, Stacey Burnett, Steffi Schade and Cate Thomas.
Anna Thomas, of Richmond, Va., and Elizabeth Brigham, of Potomac, Md., won the National Pas de Deux Competition today. They've been working together for abut three years and also won the American Vaulting Association national championship last month.
The CVI2* continued today with the technical program, in which vaulters must perform five specified moves within one minute, but they can perform them in any order and add additional moves to enhance their programs.
The two round 1 leaders-Megan Benjamin (7.927) and Kenny Geisler (7.046)-increased their leads with assured and nearly flawless performances.
Mary McCormick (7.753) and Anna Van Vranken (7.498) are trailing Benjamin. Kristian Roberts (6.406) and Mikkel Vandrup (6.405) are trailing Geisler.
The CVI2* competition climaxes on Sunday, starting at 10 a.m.
To see more photos of the Kentucky Cup Vaulting, go to http://www.americanvaulting.org/kvc/pr/media.htm.
About the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games
The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games are the world championships of eight equestrian disciplines recognized by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI). Her Royal Highness Princess Haya is the current president of the FEI. The Games are held every four years and this will be the first occurrence in the United States.
The Games will be broadcast on NBC Sports, which has marked the largest commitment to network coverage of equestrian sport in U.S. television history. The 2010 Games are expected to have a statewide economic impact of $150 million, and current sponsors include Alltech, Rolex, John Deere, Ariat International, Inc and Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital. For more information on the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, please visit www.alltechfeigames.com