Articles: Press Release
Mt. Eden Sweeps First Day Of Kentucky Cup Vaulting
859-225-2010 ext. 235
The Mt. Eden Vaulters, of Saratoga, Calif., dominated the first day of the
Kentucky Cup Vaulting at the Kentucky Horse Park. The Kentucky Cup is the
vaulting test event for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games next
Vaulters representing the Mt. Eden team, of Saratoga, Calif., are leading
the all four individual divisions and both of the team competitions.
In today's individual competitions, each vaulter performed exactly the same
one-minute routine of seven exercises, while in the team competition each of
the seven members performed twice, performing a total of four exercises
each. Judges from Germany, Italy and the United States evaluated them.
Mt. Eden vaulters are standing first and second in the women's CVI 2*, from
a field of 20 starters. Mary McCormick, 26, of Woodside, Calif., nipped
Megan Benjamin, 21, of Saratoga, Calif., by 7.826 to 7.781. Benjamin is the
reigning World Champion, and McCormick is an accomplished international
Shannyn Poer, 23, of Venice Beach, Calif., claimed third, scoring 7.463.
"I'm, obviously, very excited to be on top, and being here for this test
event makes me feel a lot more prepared for the 2010 WEG," said McCormick.
Seasoned international competitor Kenny Geisler, 28, of Sunnyvale, Calif.,
established a sizeable lead in the men's 2* division, scoring
6.644. Kristian Roberts, 16, of Moss Beach Calif., earned 6.400 to grab
second from Erik Martonovich of Las Vegas, Nev. (6.244). Martonovich has
returned to competition while continuing his career training horses for and
performing with them in stage shows.
"This was one of the best sets I've been able to perform in years," said
With a smile, Geisler attributed Mt. Eden's sweep of the day to "a great
organization. We have a lot of people helping us out, but the most credit
goes to our coaches, Emma Seely and Jessica Ballenger. They're always on the
prowl for new and better horses and new ideas," he said.
In the 2* team event, the Mt. Eden Sun Team turned in a clean, smooth and
professional performance on Sampson, a horse they'd never vaulted with
before. The horse they'd planned to use became sore yesterday. Their
performance put them more than 1 point ahead of the Woodside Vaulters.
Kyra McCarty, 17, of San Mateo, Calif., started the Mt. Eden sweep by
claiming the narrowest of leads in the CVI 1*. Both she and Rachel Bublitz,
16, of Parker, Colo., earned an average score of 6.300, but McCarty placed
first because she scored higher in the tie-breaking exercise. Karly
Frankel-Newman, 14, of Menlo Park, Calif., is just behind in third, scoring
6.289. A total of 33 women started the 1* division.
"We all had really clear rounds today," said McCarty, who's looking ahead to
he decisive freestyle round. "I'm concentrating on being really there
mentally for the freestyle. I want to make sure my freestyle is really clean
All the leading vaulters had high praise for the new indoor arena. Benjamin,
who won the gold medal at the 2006 WEG in Aachen, Germany, declared, "This
arena is already better than Aachen-and I love Aachen. But this is a real
indoor arena, not just an arena with a cover over it, so you don't get wet
when it rains. You don't even hear the rain drops!"
"The arena is organized really well," said Frankel-Newman. "My horse,
Cheval, is normally not a fan of indoor arenas, but he went really well
Joey Gadd, 14, also a member of the Mt. Eden team, said that his horse,
Lanson 16, liked the arena too. "It's very open. It doesn't seem like a
horse-eating cavern to them," he said.
Gadd said that his horse's performance was the main reason he took a narrow
lead in the men's CVI 1*, scoring 5.878 to edge Shawn Ricci, 31, of
Shawsville, Va. (5.874). Clay Thomas, 14, Newtown, Va., claimed third
(5.626) in the three-man field.
"I was a little bit nervous today, but I think I did pretty well in my first
international competition," said Gadd.
"I can't complain about my performance," said Ricci, who's a professional
ballet dancer when he's not vaulting.
Thomas said that he "had some mental blocks that kept me back."
The Mt. Eden Eclipse Team, which includes McCarty and Benjamin, suffered no
mental or performance blocks as they took a decisive compulsory lead from
the Woodside Vaulters. The seven-member Mt. Eden team scored an average of
6.252, while Woodside scored 5.477.
The Mt. Eden Eclipse Team showed impressively crisp timing as each member
vaulted on and off their horse Giovanni, and each team member demonstrated
stronger, more assured poses than their rivals.
McCarty said she prefers the team competition to the individual. "If
something goes wrong [for me] in the team competition, I get a lot more
upset because I've let six other people down. I put a lot more fight into
the team," she said.
Almost all the vaulters praised the Ottosport footing that the organizing
committee placed over the dirt arena floor for this event. This is the
indoor version of the Ottosport footing that's used in the outdoor arenas at
the Kentucky Horse Park.
"It's the best vaulting footing in the world," said Benjamin.
"This footing is much more supportive than what we usually vault on. I like
it very much," said Geisler.
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 Federation questre 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