Ermelo, The Netherlands - The United States showed up in force this week at the inaugural FEI World Vaulting Championships for Juniors, sending a full contingent of athletes and collecting three podium finishes. The competition wrapped-up today with the round two freestyle tests. Leading from the start and earning the Gold medal in the Pas-de-Deux was Bodhi Hall and Michelle Guo, while compatriots Sarah Dunn and Janie Salisburry also stood on the podium as the Bronze medal winners. The U.S. Squad maintained their third place position to earn the Team Bronze medal. "I am completely blown away by our success here; not just the medals won, but the incredible horsemanship and sportsmanship that all our juniors displayed," said Chef d'Equipe Mary McCormick.
In the exciting conclusion to the Pas-de-Deux competition, Hall (San Jose, Calif.) and Guo (Palo Alto, Calif.) executed another solid performance aboard Jarl, lunged by Lasse Kristensen. Their routine to Elvis Presley's Jailhouse Rock earned an impressive 7.981 in round one. In today's final, the pair finished second on a score of 7.617, but remained in the lead on an overall 7.799. Commenting on the accomplishments of the pair, who have only been working together as a Pas-de-Deux for a year, McCormick noted, "They displayed real team work and were humble and driven through the whole competition season. Today they were rewarded for all their hard work by bringing home the Gold medal."
"It's been a pretty different experience here because we've been competing on a team for a long time, but had never competed in international competition as a Pas-de-Deux. We weren't really nervous; we just had a lot of fun in the ring. We weren't expecting to place so high because we had no idea what to expect. We just did what we've been practicing and focused on having fun and showing off."
Beginning today in fourth place overall, Dunn (Palo Alto, Calif.) and Salisburry (Atherton, Calif.) aboard Ghost Alfarvad Z, lunged by Lasse Kristensen, held nothing back as they performed to music from The Nutcracker, scoring a 6.943 and moving them into the Bronze medal position on an overall score of 7.018. Sandrine Flicker and Heike Hulla of Austria won the Silver medal on a score of 7.609.
"They had two solid rounds this week; special thanks goes to their horse and lunger. The girls rose to the occasion and were professional in and out of arena," noted McCormick. "It was really fun going out there in our first big competition," said Salisburry. "We had a lot of fun. We were a little nervous going into the big arena, but having Lasse and Ghost [Alfarvad Z] was a huge confidence boost and an honor."
Continuing to showcase its consistency and talent, the U.S. Squad, Woodside Vaulters, placed third in today's final freestyle on a score of 7.799. The Squad includes Tessa Divita (Portola Valley, Calif.), Sarah Dunn (Palo Alto, Calif.), Audrey Kiernan (San Mateo, Calif.), Siddartha Kreaden (Sunnyvale, Calif.), Rachel Polati (Emerald Hills, Calif.), and Miki Yang (Los Altos Hills, Calif.) with Ghost Alfarvad Z, lunged by Lasse Kristensen. The Squad once again performed its Wizard of Oz themed routine, which first made an appearance on the world stage at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Finishing on an overall score of 7.356, the Squad won the Bronze medal. Austria won Gold on a score of 7.682, while Germany finished in second for the Silver medal on 7.629.
"We went into the ring confident and excited today," said Polati. "The nerves weren't really there and we were on our game. It wasn't about competing; it was about going out there and doing what we'd been training for all year. When we saw that we'd won the Bronze, it was a dream because we had worked so hard for this. It is an honor for us to have won a medal at the first world championships for juniors."
In the Individual Female division, Divita on Pino del Rio, lunged by Julia Divita, finished in eighth on 7.325, Guo on Jarl, lunged by Lasse Kristensen, followed closely behind in ninth on 7.310. Kreaden on Klintholms Ramstein, lunged by Lasse Kristensen, finished 14th on 6.889.
In the Individual Male division, Colton Palmer on Zygo, lunged by Maurits De Vries, continued to improve, rising from seventh place after round one to finish in fifth on 7.161. Luke Overton with Kalle 76, lunged by Carolyn Brand, finished in 14th on a score of 6.403.
Also competing in Ermelo as part of the CVI3*, Cassidy and Kimberly Palmer of the U.S took the win in the Pas-de-Deux on a final score of 8.160.