Highlights USA Vaulters and Teams contending for a position on the 2010 USA Team to represent the USA at the Alltech World Equestrian Games.
Coached by Isabelle Bibbler Parker and Samantha Smith
Team Members: Gabe Aniello, Alyssa Bonora, Tessa Divita, Yvonne Greenen, Siddartha Kreaden, Samantha Smith and Katharine Wick
Woodside Vaulters is one of the oldest clubs in California and has a long-standing reputation for developing champion teams and horses. Woodside Head Coach Isabelle Bibbler Parker has produced five national champion A teams since 1995. In 1998, the Woodside team earned the Bronze Medal at the World Equestrian Games in Rome. Parker was honored as the USEF Coach of the Year in 2008.
The Woodside team’s current horse, Giovanni, a 17.2 Mecklenburger warmblood trained and longed by Krista Mack, was named AVA Horse of the Year for the past three years. An accomplished vaulting and riding coach, Mack has longed for Woodside Vaulters since 2002. She was the AVA Trainer of the Year in 2007.
Parker’s coaching philosophy combines physical and mental training, exacting technique, safety and confidence built on a strong bond of trust and friendship among team members.
Co-coach Smith is a veteran international competitor. She vaulted at the World Equestrian Games in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain in 2002, and the 2004 World Vaulting Championships in Stadl Paura, Austria, as well as numerous CVIs. Smith has coached at both Creekside and Woodside. She is recognized for her outstanding compulsories abilities, and has coached compulsories at many USEF High Performance vaulting clinics. www.woodsidevaulters.org
Coached by Devon Maitozo and Anna De La Motte
Team members; Devon Maitozo, Rosalind Ross, Nicole Czyzewski, Mari Inouye, Annalise VanVranken, Karly Newman, Mary Garrett and Emily Hogye.
Devon Maitozo is hoping that this could be his fifth Team to qualify to represent the USA at a World Championship. Devon's innovative use of dance and his musical background will no doubt give the audience a shiver of excitement.
Aboard Palatin owned by Devon, he has a lot to live up to. The difficulty of coming up with something new and exciting is always a challenge, not only has he to dazzle the USA selectors, but if FACE qualifies, the game is on against some of Europes strongest Teams. With Germany and Austria the USA's biggest rivals.
We are looking forward to seeing what the F.A.C.E Team will WOW us with this year.
MOUNT EDEN SUN TEAM
Coached by Emma Seely and Jessica Ballenger
Team members: Kenny Geisler, Allie Thrasher, Heidi Rothweiler, Lizzie Ioannou, Kayln Geisler, Tasha Thorner and Makayla Clyne
The Sun Team are geering up to come out as a strong force at the first selection trial at their home base. Home advantage will hopefully kick the Sun Team's season off with a win. Emma has a wealth of experience coaching top individuals and Teams, even co-coaching with her rival Devon Maitozo wher they joined forces in 2006 and gave us a silver medal winning team at the last World Equestrian Games. But there is no discounting Jessica's experience with Team coaching, she has been the Team coach of Mount Eden vaulters Sun Team in the past.
Strong with experience the Sun Team may just come out with a bright start to this year's selection trials.www.mtedenvaulting.org
Mary McCormick - Nashville, TN (Training in Woodside, CA)
Mary began her vaulting career in 1992 and has been "crazy in love" with the sport ever since. She began competing internationally in 1996 when she was a member of the A-Team that represented the USA at the World Vaulting Championships. Since then, she has remained an avid competitor around the world and has won numerous honors both stateside and internationally.
McCormick trains in Northern California with the Mt. Eden Vaulting Club. She is also an individual vaulting coach and lungeur. Currently atop the United States ranking list for individual female vaulters, McCormick has high hopes of qualifying for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.
CVI** Leipzig 2009 - 1st place
CVI** Kentucky 2009 - 2nd place
Region II Championships - 1st place
USEF Vaulting in Vegas 2009 - 1st place
2008, 2009 - American Vaulting Association Overall High Point Winner
(At the FACE-OFF) Mary will be competing aboard Wyeth, a 10 year old Percheron/Quarter Horse gelding owned by Sydney Frankel and lunged by Poppy Coulter. Although relatively new to the vaulting world, Wyeth has been a steady and consistent partner for McCormick over the last season. He carried her to victory at the Region II Championships and helped her earn 2nd place at the Woodside Vaulters Fall Fest. Before landing a job in the vaulting arena, Wyeth worked as a cow horse on the range in South Dakota! He is now in extensive dressage and vaulting training and has proved himself as a reliable competition horse.
Megan Benjamin. Cornell, NY
Megan Benjamin is an equestrian vaulter. She is the 2006 World Equestrian Games (WEG) women’s vaulting champion, 2006 WEG Team Silver medalist, 2008 World Championships Team Bronze medalist, and three time national champion. Following her success in 2006, the US Olympic Committee named her the August Female Athlete of the Month. She was also named the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Equestrian of Honor and a co-recipient of the coveted Becky Grand Hart trophy. She was named to the FEI Athletes’ Committee by FEI President HRH Princess Haya of Jordan, to the USEF Youth Council, and was nominated by her peers to serve on the American Vaulting Association (AVA) Board of Directors and the USEF Vaulting Technical Committee.
In 2006. Vaulting with her horse Faronia, Megan headed into the 2006 season with two consecutive U.S. Gold Women’s National Championships, three A-Team National Championships and a CVI ** Saratoga win under her belt. That year, Aachen, Germany would play host to the World Equestrian Games, and Megan had her heart set on bringing home the gold for Team USA.
Days after graduating from high school, she took off to Europe with her team, Free Artists Mt. Eden (F.A.M.E.) and longtime coach Emma Garrod Seely to get to know Grand Gaudino, the team’s new equine partner. Using Germany as their home base for the summer, the team trained daily, tweaked their routines to perfection, and prepared for WEG by competing in (and winning!) the prestigious CVI** Munich. Although Megan focused much of her training on team, she practiced individually in her free hours, not that there were many! Megan competed individually in CVI** Munich and took 2 place on the German horse, Centuro—her second time ever to stand on an international podium.
Less than 24 hours after F.A.M.E.’s big win in Munich, the team traveled back to California to compete in the USEF/AVA National Vaulting Championships. Megan once again won the women’s Gold division and F.A.M.E. took the A-Team National Championship. After only a week in California, the team once again hopped a plane back to Southern Germany. Megan split her time between Pfaffenhofen, Germany and Hvejsel, Denmark, where she worked with trainer and longeur Lasse Kristensen and her Danish Warmblood, Leonardo.
The summer culminated at the World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Germany, where 500,000 equestrian enthusiasts gathered over two weeks to watch seven disciplines (dressage, driving, endurance, eventing, reining, show jumping and vaulting) decide each of their world championships. In front of a sold-out crowd, the USA F.A.M.E. team came from behind to capture the silver team medal (Team USA’s best showing ever) and in the last performance of the entire competition, Megan clinched the Women’s Vaulting World Championship, becoming the first non-German woman in WEG’s history to win the gold.
After her win in 2006, Megan retired from vaulting to pursue dressage and a world without vaulting. She focused on her studies at Cornell University (where she is currently a senior working on her honors thesis in history) and tried her hand at being a normal college kid. Although Megan’s retirement was meant to be permanent, it didn’t last for long.
In the summer of 2008, Megan’s former F.A.M.E. teammate Rosalind Ross convinced her to join the Dark Side of the Moon team in their quest for another team world championship. Having taken two years off from the sport, Megan had to play catch up to be at the elite level of her teammates by the championship in August. Nonetheless, she made it happen. Her team won both CVIs it entered that summer, and took the Team Bronze at the World Championships in Brno, Czech Republic, vaulting on Megan’s horse Leonardo with lungeur Lasse Kristensen.
Megan’s passion for vaulting and for competing could not be contained, and she has decided to try out for Team USA while simultaneously finishing her honors thesis and senior year at Cornell University. This time, she will compete as an individual only, looking to stand on that podium one last time.
Alicen Divita. Woodside, CA
Current AVA/USEF Gold Women’s Individual National Champion, Alicen Divita, “Ali,” is no stranger to multi-tasking. Halfway through completing her
major in Interdisciplinary Studies at UC Berkeley, 20 year old Ali, knows
that it takes discipline, dedication and a pure love for what you do to succeed.
Growing up taking gymnastics classes, Ali was the kid who was always doing handstands and cartwheels on every surface possible. “Some kids get in trouble for tracking muddy footprints onto the floor,” she laughs, “I was always having to wipe them off the walls!” As a twelve year old, it was her love for horses that brought her to the riding camp where, sitting on her horse, she saw the Woodside Vaulters practicing acrobatics in perfect harmony with theirs. It was an obvious transition, the perfect combination of her passions, and it was not long after that she joined the Woodside Vaulting Club and began competing.
Ali has won the National Individual Championship at every level, Bronze in 2003, Silver in 2004 and Gold in 2008 as well as 2009. She has proved to be just as competitive in the international scene. She placed 4th at CVI Saumur in 2006, and in 2007 she brought home the gold from prestigious CVI Krumke in Germany. In 2006, just five years after she began vaulting, Ali attended the World Equestrian Games as the alternate for the US Individual Team. In 2008, along with many other successes, she earned her spot as a competitor in the World Vaulting Champions in the Czech Republic. Yoga, gymnastics, dance and her creative spirit coupled with her school studies, volunteer activities and a spot on the lightweight crew team keep her balanced both in and out of the vaulting arena. Ali looks forward to competing in the selection trials and hopes to earn her spot as one of the top three vaulters in the country along with the ability to represent the US at the World Equestrian Games.
Sarah d'Auriol. Suffolk, VA
Sarah becomes a United States Citizen this year. Born in Paris France, Sarah has been a resident of Suffolk, Virginia since she was a young child. Sarah started vaulting when she was 8 years old, she quickly mastered the sport and was selected to represent France at the World Equestrian Games in 2006. In 2009 still competing for France Sarah was a Junior Finalist at the European Championships.
This is Sarah first year of competing in the USA where her hard earned results will be counted on the USEF individual High Performance ranking list. Sarah’s citizenship may have come a little late for her to be a real contender representing the USA at the 2010 World Equestrian Games, but at 17 years old she has a great future in the sport. Look out for Sarah in 2012.
Here is one Athlete who can now be 'proud to be an American'.
Katharine Wick. Hillsborough, CA
Though much younger and with fewer championship titles than the other competitors, 17 year-old Katharine Wick is making her mark as an individual and team competitor. Katharine was ranked 3 among US women at the end of the 2009 competition.
Katharine has been vaulting for nearly 10 years as a member of Woodside Vaulters and has been competing internationally since 2005. In her first competition in Europe, she was the under-16 champion for the state of Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany. Since then, she has competed in CVIs in Europe and the US as an individual, as a member of the Woodside A team, and as compulsories expert for the Pacific Moon team.
Katharine was the AVA / USEF National Champion, Silver Level, in 2006. She was a member of the Woodside Vaulters A Team that won CVI Saratoga and the AVA / USEF National Championship in 2007, and was a member of Woodside Vaulters National Champion C and B teams in 2004 and 2009.
Katharine combines a busy schedule of vaulting and conditioning with gymnastics, dance and cross-training through other competitive sports. She plays soccer on club and school teams, and was a member of her school’s cross-country team that placed 10 in the state. She also volunteers as a youth soccer referee. As a high school junior, she carries a heavy college prep load and also plays the clarinet in her school orchestra. She credits vaulting with enabling her to develop the focus, discipline and dedication to accomplish her goals across a wide range of interests and activities.