Top U.S. Vaulters Set to Compete in France at FEI World Vaulting Championship

By Kathleen Landwehr

LEXINGTON, (USEF) - The best vaulters from across the U.S. are ready to begin competition at the FEI World Vaulting Championship at the Pole Europeen du Cheval in Le Mans, France from August 16-19, 2012. Vaulters will be vying for World Championship titles in the Individual Female, Individual Male, Pas de Duex, and Team competitions.

The recently crowned Gold Individual Female National Vaulting Champion Mary McCormick (Woodside, CA) hopes to continue her success in France. Having also won the National Championship title in 2007, 2010, and 2011, a World Championship title would only add to her impressive resume. McCormick will vault on Anyway 54, lunged by Lasse Kristensen.

Alicen Divita (Redwood City, CA) has had several strong performances in 2012, with a third place finish in the Chilliwack CVI3* Individual Senior Women division in Canada and a fourth place finish in the Krumke CVI3* in Germany. Divita will partner with Pino del Rio and lunger Elke Schlep-Lensing.

Katharine Wick (Hillsborough, CA) had a strong fourth place finish in the Chilliwack CVI3* Individual Senior Women division in Canada and hopes to prove her mettle in Europe competing against the world’s best vaulters. Wick will vault on Luk, lunged by Rita Blieske.

Leading off the men’s contingent and competing for the Individual Male World Champion title will be Gabe Aniello (Redwood City, CA). He took top honors at the Chilliwack CVI3* Individual Senior Men class and wants to continue his winning ways in France. Aniello is paired with Forrest Cump and lunger Agnes Forst.

Kristian Roberts (Moss Beach, CA) won the Gold Individual Male Championship at the USEF/AVA National Vaulting Championship less than two weeks ago in Lexington, KY. He will also partner with Forrest Cump and lunger Forst.

The 2011 USEF/AVA Individual Male National Vaulting Champion Patrick Stevens (Martinez, CA) looks to again find his winning form this weekend in Le Mans. Stevens will vault on Maxwell, lunged by Anouk Dory.

After taking top honors in the Pas de Duex Championship at the USEF/AVA National Vaulting Championship, Megan Benjamin (Saratoga, CA) and Blake Dahlgren (Santa Clarita, CA) hope to again find themselves on top at the FEI World Vaulting Championship. Benjamin, winner of the 2006 Women’s World Championship at the FEI World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Germany, could find herself winning another world championship title if success continues with her Pas de Deux partner. Dahlgren was on the Gold medal winning team at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games; meaning both vaulters know the performance that it takes to top the podium. Benjamin and Dahlgren will be paired with Jarl and lunger Kristensen.

Another extremely experienced pair will represent the U.S. in the Pas de Duex Championship: Devon Maitozo (Palmdale, CA) and Rosalind Ross (Venice, CA). Maitozo has won two Gold and three Bronze medals at World Championships and nine National Championship titles, while Ross has won one Gold, one Silver, and two Bronze World Championship medals. Both Maitozo and Ross helped the U.S. FACE team win the Team Gold medal at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Maitozo and Ross will vault on Escetelli 2, lunged by Kurt Isensee.

The Woodside Vaulters of Woodside, CA will be the U.S. representative in the Team Championship. The team of Tessa Divita (Emerald Hills, CA), Kalyn Geisler (Redwood City, CA), Kathryn Jaggers (Portola Valley, CA), Siddartha Kreaden (Sunnyvale, CA), Samantha Matson (Los Gatos, CA), and Katherine Salisbury (Atherton, CA) hope to claim another Team World Championship title for the United States. The team will partner with Stanford and lunger Julie Divita.

Competition begins tomorrow with the first round Compulsories for the Individual Male and Female competititors. The men begin at 7:00am ET and the women start at 9:00am ET.

FEI TV will be providing a live broadcast of the FEI World Vautling Championship on their website. To see the broadcast schedule and watch, click here: http://www.feitv.org/page/Live

To view the 2012 FEI World Vaulting Championship media guide, click here.

Visit the FEI World Vaulting Championship event website here: http://pole-europeen-du-cheval.com/

Follow the 2012 U.S. Vaulting Team here and watch videos of their routines by JC Enterprises Vaulting Videos.