2014 IFCS World Agility Championships Team Primer
USDAA's team of 20 dogs and handlers will compete against teams from 17 other countries to earn Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals in various events. Rule changes for the 2014 event have increased the maximum number of dogs and handlers per team to 20. Sixteen individual handlers may be included on a team, plus up to four past IFCS medal winners per nation (eligible handlers have won an IFCS Gold, Silver, or Bronze medal from any IFCS World Agility Championship or IFCS Continental Championship since 2002).
Consideration for a position on the US team was offered first to the handler/dog with the highest number of Team Selection Points (TSPs) in each jump height earned at the IFCS Continental Championship of the Americas (CCOA), held April 24-28, in Fort Worth, Texas (four handlers/dogs selected) and the USDAA Cynosport World Games, held October 23-27, in Murfreesboro, Tennessee (four handlers/dogs selected). Eight team members and the alternates were chosen based on the highest total combined TSPs from CCOA and Cynosport. Four handler/dog teams were chosen based on being past medalists (handler and dog) as described above.
Monique Plinck and Tiki are ready for the event! Photo courtesy of Monique Plinck.
Team USA is made up of:
Andy Mueller and Crackers
Daneen Fox and Masher
Ivette White and Zip
Monique Plinck and Tiki
Linda Womer and Sonic
Mike Padgett and Kona (Alternate)
Stacy Bols and Krusher
Maureen Waldron and Michael
Jenn Crank and Kaboo
Jennifer Thomas and Rodeo
Giuliana Lund and Zuri
(Giuliana Lund and Zuri replaced Jen Pinder and Britain, who cannot compete due to injury.)
Mary Ellen Barry and Maizy
Paulena-Renee Simpson and Graphite
Jeannette Hutchison and Rumble
Kate Moureaux and Smart
Stacy Peardot-Goudy and Sobe
(Stacy Peardot-Goudy and Sobe replaced Lisa Kucharski and Finesse, who cannot compete due to injury.)
Lori Michaels and Solei
Desiree Snelleman and Pace
Terry Smorch and Presto
Ashley Anderson and Psi
Jenn Crank and Sonic
Jamie Herren and Zip (Alternate)
Team USA is largely made up of competitors with experience traveling overseas to events. Most of the team considers this previous experience to be very beneficial. As 12" team member Monique Plinck, who is attending the event with her Papillon, Tiki, says, "Being in Belgium two years ago has me better mentally prepared for the level of competition. I have a better feel for how the event is run, what traveling with a team is like.... I won't be anticipating as many 'new' things." Maureen Waldron, who is on the 16" team with her Shetland Sheepdog, Michael, agrees: "I think I have learned a lot at these competitions, which has helped my mental game. I am able to focus on what's important and not allow my concentration be diverted by trivial things."
Mary Ellen Barry and Maizy. Photo courtesy of Ian Watts Photography.
Much of the team gathered to practice with coach Rachel Sanders on March 31st in Barto, Pennsylvania. (Read more about the team practice here.) Team members have also done a lot of preparation on their own to make sure they are at the top of their game this week. They have been working hard on their own fitness and that of their dogs, as well as training on courses similar to what they will see in the Netherlands. As Jennifer Crank, the only handler with two dogs on the team, says, "In addition to what I have done on my own, Rachel has done a great job preparing us for the event. The best way for me to prepare is to look up courses from the judges that will be at the event and set up their past courses. I have spent many training days building and running courses that I hope to be similar to what we will see at the event." Coach Sanders provided competitors with many courses for training purposes.
The competitors describe looking forward to seeing some great agility at the IFCS World Agility Championships in addition to enjoying the chance to compete against the best competitors from around the world. Kate Moureaux, who is on the 22" team with her Border Collie, Smart, has even more reasons to be excited about the event. She says, "I'm looking forward to sharing this experience with Smart. I love the atmosphere and excitement of international events. I also feel very sentimental that I am returning to the same country that I had my first [IFCS World Agility Championship] experience in, back in 2006, with Smart's grandma, Quick." And Stacy Bols, competing on the 16" team with her Miniature Schnauzer, Krusher, is going to be sentimental for other reasons: "After Krusher was diagnosed with malignant Melanoma in December, I was not sure if he would be around to compete here. After sailing though radiation treatment and getting back into the ring, I really feel is he ready to rock the international stage. Getting to step to the line with this dog, representing Team USA and the Miniature Schnauzer breed is something I am very proud of."
Stacy Bols and Krusher. Photo courtesy of Melissa Sheehan, True Colors Photography.
Learn more about the USA team members on the USDAA news page.