Articles: Press Release
Benjamin and Geisler Star in Kentucky Cup Vaulting Climax
United States Equestrian Federation, Inc.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 3, 2009
By Classic Communications
Lexington, KY--The Mt. Eden Vaulters, of Saratoga, CA, finished the Kentucky
Cup Vaulting on Sunday the way they started it on Thursdayby sweeping the
first-placed awards. In the CVI2*, Megan Benjamin won the womens division,
Kenny Geisler won the mens division and the Mt. Eden Sun Team won the team
The Kentucky Cup is the vaulting test event for the 2010 Alltech FEI World
Equestrian Games, to be held September 25 to October 10, 2010. The World
Championships for vaulting and reining will be held in the brand-new,
5,600-seat indoor arena used this weekend.
Benjamin, 21, of Saratoga, CA, earned her divisions top scores in all but
the first of the four phases and climaxed the Kentucky Cup in todays
freestyle with the competitions highest score (8.127). Her overall score of
7.974 put her ahead of Mt. Eden teammate Mary McCormick (7.823) and Annalise
van Vranken (7.562).
Benjamin won the Individual Gold medal at the 2006 World Championships, and
she thought shed left vaulting to pursue her studies at Cornell University
in New York.
I was kind of vaulting-obsessed earlier in my life, and my goal was to win
the Gold in 2010. But I did it four years early, and I wasnt sure what to
do. So I decided to go on, to go to school and do other things, said
But her Mt. Eden teammates begged her to return, and now, after her victory
here, shes looking ahead to the 2010 Games at the Kentucky Horse Park. Ive
made the decision that if I can make the studying and the training work, Id
like to do it. Vaulting really is my sport, she said.
McCormick, 26, of Woodside, CA, was the only other vaulter to achieve an
average score of 8 or more today (8.033). She didnt use the same music that
she used on Friday. For the Friday freestyle, she said she used a light and
free-flowing instrumental called Better In Time. She chose a rather
different musical genre on Sunday.
Im originally from Nashville, and my father works in the country music
business, so I wanted to go back to my roots and honor the fact that were in
the South and in Kentucky, she said. So, she used a country song by Jason
And she finished with a perfect back flip dismount, the result, she said, of
her experience as a high school cheerleader.
Van Vranken, 27, of Mays Landing, NJ, wished her performance had been
mistake-free, but she fell out of one handstand and had a couple more slips
to score 7.562. It wasnt quite as clean as Id hoped, so I was a little
upset, said van Vranken, a member of Shooting Star Vaulters.
Geisler, 28, of Sunnyvale, CA, won all four phases of the mens competition
to finish .525 points ahead of second-placed Mikkel Vandrup of Denmark.
Geislers balletic freestyle was nearly flawless as he demonstrated strength
I had a great performance, and I couldnt have done it without Hudson, said
Geislers regular mount was unable to compete, so he shared Hudson with
third-placed Kristian Roberts, 16, of Moss Beach, CA. Roberts is from the
Pacific Coast Vaulters, owners of Hudson.
Vandrup, 23, improved his freestyle score by .347 points to overtake Roberts
and finish second. I was a little bit frustrated with my results on Friday,
so I tried to keep it simple and remember to breathe while I was on the
horse, because sometimes I forget to do that, he said.
This time Vandrup also stayed on his feet while performing a forward aerial
cartwheel over the longe line to land next to the horses head. On Friday, he
fell forward on landing and did a somersault across the ground. I was happy
that I landed the dismount this time, he said.
Geisler also played a key role in the Mt. Eden Sun Teams victory over the
Woodside Vaulters, reversing the standings from Saturdays one-star team
competition. In the two-star team division, Mt. Eden scored 6.512 to
Geisler was the teams alternate and stood on the sidelines as his teammates
nipped Woodside on Friday. But during that performance, team member Ali
Thrasher suffered a minor injury, so Geislers teammates spent Saturday
fashioning a matching outfit for him. Geisler then played a key role as the
base for several of their three-person poses, featuring flier Tasha Thorner.
The Mt. Eden Sun Team also included Geislers fianc Kalyn Noan. Theyre due to
be married on August 22.
The other Mt. Eden Sun Team members are: Lizzie Ioannou, Heidi Rothweiler
and Makayia Clyne. Jessica Ballenger is the coach, and Jodi Rinhard longed
Sampson. They were also the American Vaulting Association 2009 A Team
The Woodside team members are: Patrick Stevens, Katherine Wick, Alyssa
Bonora, Yvonne Greenen, Kathryn Jaggers, Janie Salsbury and Gabe
Aniello. Their coach is Krista Mack, and Erik Martonovich longed Badger.
Cassidy Palmer, 16, of Half Moon Bay, CA, and Marissa Hamar, 20, of Visalia,
CA, were the winners of the CVI2* pas de deux. Although they live several
hours apart, they still put together an enjoyable performance to the Beach
Boys classic song Surfin USA.
More than 2,200 people attended the Kentucky Cup Vaulting or watched the
online streaming video. More than 300 volunteers helped the staff produce
this competition, the second of seven test events planned to prepare for the
2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.
This facility certainly has a very international feel, and were looking
forward to 2010, said Geisler. We couldnt ask for more to be fully prepared
for next year.
To see photos of the Kentucky Cup Vaulting, go to
The vision of the United States Equestrian Federation(r) is to provide
for equestrian sport in the United States of America by promoting the
of excellence from the grassroots to the Olympic Games, based on a
foundation of fair, safe competition and the welfare
of its human and equine athletes.