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Not a Dull Moment as Zone One Wins Coveted NAYRC

Lexington Virginia – August 4, 2006 – The CN North American Junior and Young Riders’ Championship (NAJYRC) Show Jumping Team Final had rounds two and three of competition today.

It was good to be a show jumping fan on this hot week in Virginia. The indoor arena where the stadium jumping is held at the Virginia Horse Center is 20 degrees cooler than the boiling Three Day course and Dressage events being held outside in the sun. Fans from Mexico and Zone 10 (West Coast) take the prize for spirit with flags, banners, and cheers in abundance around the arena.

Non Championship Competition Table A (1.30m)

The morning started with the Non Championship Competition Table A (1.30m) timed first round. Sixteen riders from eight zones competed for individual prizes. Six of these riders are from Mexico, whose zones Mexico North and Mexico South brought a record 21 athletes to Virginia to compete at this year’s NAJYRC.

The long trip from Mexico paid off for Guillermo Zambrano, who won the event riding Chepepe La Escondida with a time of 57.54 seconds. Julianna Fischer (Zone 4) was second on Iveresse in 59.87 seconds, and third was Alfredo Miguel of Mexico on Fountain of Youth Isadonna who finished in 60.17 seconds.

NAJC Team Final

The second class of the day was the NAJC Team Competition (1.35m- 1.40m) with two rounds over the same course. 2006 marks the first year that a recognized Junior Jumper Final Competition has been held in the United States.

Seven teams started the second round of team competition today. Only three of the best scores count toward the team final, allowing teams with four riders to drop their worst score. However, all team scores carry forward to the Individual Final.

At the end of Round 2, Zone 10 was in the lead with a team total of zero. Paris Sellon, Aurora Griffin and Erica Buie all jumped clean, putting the pressure on the other teams. Zone 2/5 was right behind them with four faults. Nicole Lakin and Catie Boone went clear, making the race incredibly close. Zone 4 was in third with eight. Zones 3/8 were eliminated when two of their riders failed to finish the course.

With only two rails separating the medalists, it was anyone’s game going into the final round. Nicole Lakin, the lead off rider for Zone 2, and Catie Boone, the anchor, put in a beautiful clear round today, as did Paris Sellon of Zone 10.

When all was said and done, Zone 2 won the NAJC Gold Medal with a total of only four faults after two rounds. Zone 10 was right behind them, in Silver with eight faults, and Ontario/Quebec was Bronze with 16 faults.

Sunday August 6, is the Individual NAJC Final, and Paris Sellon and Hannah Anderson (individual for Ontario) are heading to it with three clean rounds and a total score of zero. Nicole Lakin, Catie Boone, Hannah Anderson, Julianna Fischer, Katie McDaniel, and Hannah Selleck are all tied for second finishing with scores of four faults.

NAYRC Team Final

The last and most prestigious event in the arena was the extremely competitive NAYRC Team (1.35m – 1.40m) two round final. The scores entering this race were so close that it was anyone’s gold for the taking. Powerhouse Zones 1, Zone 10, and Zone 2 were neck and neck with similar consistent scores going into the final two rounds.

Maggie McAlary, Julie Welles, Natalie Johnson, and Cody Auer (Zone 1) all put in first round clears, making the Linda Allen course look easy. Zone 2 followed with Hillary Dobbs, Carolyn Kelly, and Miasha Fisher all going clean. Mexico North rose to the occasion and knocked Zone 10 out of contention when Jose Alberto Martinez and Javier Berganza went clean, incurring the low total of four faults going into the final round.

The jumps were raised, and the crowd was on the edge of their seats, knowing that any small mistake would change the outcome of the event. McAlary, Welles, and Johnson (Zone 1) all went clean again, ensuring their Gold Medal, and making it unnecessary for their teammate Cody Auer to contribute a score. The Zone 1 girls sat comfortably in the stands and cheered on their friends as they battled it out for Bronze and Silver. In a remarkable ending, Zone 2 and Mexico tied for the silver with total scores of four.

It rarely happens in Show Jumping, but the two teams had to jump-off for the Team Silver Medal. Alfredo Miguel of Mexico started with a perfect clear round and time of 36.84 seconds. Hillary Dobbs challenged and went clear with a slightly faster time, finishing in 36.38. Jose Alberto Martinez went next with a score of four, and Miasha Fisher challenged with a clean round. Now Mexico had 4 faults and Zone 2 was clear. Andres Torres Hernandez had a rail, and Carolyn Kelly went clean, making it impossible for Mexico to win. Zone 2 won the Team Silver Medal without needing to use their anchor rider Addison Phillips. Mexico received the Team Bronze Medal.

The smiling girls of Zone 1 are ready to compete in the Individual Final on Sunday. Julie Welles is leading the pack with a perfect score of zero. Evan Coluccio from Zone 3 is less than one point behind her with a score of 0.80. When asked if their horses have enough stamina to comfortably be competitive on Sunday, the seasoned girls of Zone 1 responded simultaneously, “We almost got bucked off in the victory gallop.” Despite the intense heat, they all seem fit and ready.

This special report is a preview provided by PhelpsSports.com. Look for the debut of this new equestrian news website during the World Equestrian Games in August. Visit http://www.PhelpsSports.com for more information.


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