October 18, 2010 — At the prestigious Pennsylvania National Horse Show the Randolph College/USEF National Junior Jumper Championships took place across three days of intense competition. Following Thursday’s Welcome Class, the got under way Friday evening. After two rounds of jumping it was Zone 2 that took home top honors, finishing on zero faults.
On a night when clear rounds were hard to come by, the four member team of Meg O’Mara and Sinatra IV, Katie Dinan and Vancouver, Karen Polle and Cachette Z, and Reed Kessler and Flight made light work of the Steve Stephens designed course turning in seven clear rounds. After four clear trips in the first round the team went into round two followed closely by Zone 10 on five faults.
Though Dinan had 16 faults, O’Mara, Polle and Kessler were once again flawless allowing Dinan’s score to be dropped, giving them the win. The 2009 Prix des States champion, Zone 10, represented by Jocelyn Neff, Audrey Coulter, Lindsay Douglas and Alec Lawler had two costly rails in round two and finished on nine faults. Zone 5 was third on 20 faults.
The Zone 2 team was lead by veteran Chef d’Equipe Ralph Caristo who had nothing but praise for his team, “We’ve had many great teams over the years, but this team in particular had great camaraderie and team spirit. Everyone was very supportive and the girls all had great trainers. I love what I’m doing and I’m going to keep on doing it,” said Caristo.
Along with a Team Silver medal Neff, trained by Karen Healey, was also honored with the William C. Steinkraus Style Award. The Style Awarded, judged by Frank and Mary Chapot, is given to the rider who best exemplifies the American style of equitation, and the respectful, dignified, courteous and workmanlike manner of a true sportsman.
Saturday evening 15 riders competed in the Individual Championships. Scores were carried from Thursday’s Welcome Class as well as both rounds of team competition. Hot off her Team Gold medal win the night prior Polle carried zero faults coming into the individual competition and was tied for first with Taylor Land aboard Karonda V Schlosslihof C of Zone 4. Both riders put in impressive efforts over the course resulting in a jump-off for the Gold medal. Going into the ring first was Land, making an attempt to post the fastest time she took a shortened approach early on course and dropped the top rail, with another unfortunate rail down she gave Polle a little bit of breathing room. Polle entered the ring with confidence and laid down a near perfect course, knocking only the last rail to become the Randolph College/USEF National Junior Jumper Individual Champion. Teammate O’Mara took home the Bronze medal.