FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Lexington, KY- The North USHJA Children's and Adult Amateur Jumper Regional Championships took place September 4-7, for Zones 1,2 and 5 at the HITS-on-the-Hudson VIII in Saugerties, NY.
54 horses passed their soundness inspection on Wednesday and were eager to begin Thursday's competition. Eight teams showcasing 29 of the northern region's best children's jumpers and the technical course work from world-renowned designer Olaf Petersen, Jr. of Muennchen, Germany set the stage for a race to top the podium.
Chef d'Equipe Mary Goldman guided the Team Illinois members Louisa Brackett, Sarah Scarnechia, Caelinn Leahy and anchor rider Grace Knox to a gold medal victory with a total of five faults.
Based in Hawthorn Woods, IL Chef Goldman said of her team, "I had a spectacular young team with amazing talent and they all peaked at the perfect time. Personally, it was gratifying to see how well the team worked together and it was a breath taking experience that I was honored to be a part of."
|Children's Team Illinois Win Gold at North Regional Championships Photo ©ESI Photography|
Anchor rider Knox of Barrington, IL said, "The format was different from what I am used to. It was very challenging, but also fun to be able to keep track of how everyone was doing after each round. One of the highlights for me was being able to stand on a podium with my teammates and receiving our gold medals."
Led by Chef d'Equipe Sandra Dalman, the Indiana team of riders Margaux Danby, Sarah Fisher and Kreigh Elzey took the Silver medal with 20 faults. The Bronze medal was presented to Team Massachusetts with Aster Pieters as Chef d'Equipe for riders Louisa Behnke, Marina Callahan, Sara Sprague and Ava Stearns finishing with 32 faults.
The Adult Amateur Jumpers followed with seven strong teams taking on the challenging courses of Petersen. Two teams found themselves tied for the gold, but after a heart-pounding jump-off round it was Chef Robin Fairclough's New Jersey team comprised of Tammy Kelly, Katherine Pontone, Elizabeth Kirby and anchor Wendy Chapot Nunn striking claim to the top spot.
"I thought it was a great event, very proud of my team, and that they did have to compete in a jump-off which proved very exciting. I was thrilled with the way our anchor rider, Wendy Chapot Nunn, came through for the team consistently. I am looking forward to participating in the program in future years." Fairclough said.
|Adult Amateur Team New Jersey Wins Gold at North Regional Championship Photo ©ESI Photography|
The Silver medal went to Team New York I with Chef d'Equipe James Benedetto and riders Anne Heyman, Ahmed Alali, Lucy Mitchell Innes and Nicole Crighton finishing with four faults.
Scoring a total of 13 faults, the Bronze medal was awarded to Team New York II members Devon Degen, Valerie Primavera, Kristin Zommerman and Danielle Flavin, along with Chef d'Equipe Joseph Sorce.
Moving into the next phase, 21 horse and rider combinations were in the starting field of the Children's Individual competition, and when the dust settled four riders were headed into a jump off to decide the podium positions.
Throughout the four days of competition two riders, Ava Stearns of Chilmark, MA and Olivia Greenwood of Montauk, NY had been fault free and the trend continued into the jump-off where time became the determining factor. The 3.16 second margin rewarded Stearns and mount Denmark's performance with a gold medal. Former hunter rider turned jumper just this summer, Olivia Greenwood and new mount Big Boy claimed the Silver medal. Grace Knox and Rapidash added the Bronze to their achievements with a four fault finish.
|Ava Stearns Capture Individual Gold in Children's North Regional Championship Photo ©ESI Photography|
Among the bevy of prizes and awards bestowed upon Stearns was a coveted spot in a 2014 USHJA Emerging Athletes ProgramRegional Clinic of her choice. "I am really excited to be able to be a part of the 2014 EAP! It's nice to win great prizes at shows, but winning an opportunity is even better," Stearns said.
20 Adult Amateurs competed for individual honors, with a thrilling four way race for the gold that led to a jump-off round. Lexi Maounis (CT) and mount Whisper seized the moment with a sixth clear ride in the jump off and a blazing time of 29.18 seconds to capture the top of the podium. Wendy Chapot Nunn (NJ) and Face Value had a fault free run of 30.86 seconds that assured them the silver medal position. Right on the winners' hooves was Nicole Crighton (NY) and partner Zipp who definitely had the speed with a time of 29.84 seconds, but an unfortunate rail dropped the pair to the Bronze spot on the podium.
|Lexi Maounis Wins Individual Gold at Adult Amateur North Regional Championship Photo ©ESI Photography|
"This win means so much to me because there were so many great riders and horses competing. Everyone really put in their best effort so it was an intense competition all the way until the final jump off. It's so rewarding for all my hard work to have paid off!" Maounis said.
USHJA would like to thank the supporters of the Children's and Adult Amateur Jumpers Regional Championships who have worked tirelessly in bringing success to the events, with special appreciation to Fenwick Equestrian Products, the Official Awards Cooler sponsor.
To learn more about the USHJA Children's and Adult Amateur Jumper Regional Championships visit our website and questions may be directed to Meghan Carney via email or by calling (859) 225-6721.