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By Hannah Totte
Special to the Almanac
For the more clumsy, dance and gymnastics, even on a solid floor, is cause for embarrassment and, at times, injury. Combining the skills on top of a moving horse may seem nearly impossible to fathom.
Members of the Woodside Vaulters accomplish this feat with excellence, as demonstrated by their recent top honors at the U.S. Equestrian Federation and American Vaulting Association national championships.
The competition was held July 29 to Aug. 1 at the Earl Warren Showgrounds in Santa Barbara.
Katherine Salisbury, 9, of Atherton was awarded first place in the compulsory freestyle round to win the trot individual women's championships. She also received the AVA Zone Award for her successive high marks, said Carrie Wick, spokesperson for Woodside Vaulters. Katherine has been vaulting for four years and attends Philips Brooks School in Menlo Park.
Kristen Kuhn, 8, who also has been vaulting for four years, won the women's preliminary trot division.
Miki Yang, 5, of Los Altos, won the women's novice trot division. Four other trot vaulters from Woodside Vaulters placed in the top 10 of the competition.
At the gold elite level for the individual canter division, Katharine Wick, 17, of Hillsborough, was awarded fourth place. Kathryn Jaggers, 16, of Portola Valley came in fourth at the silver level.
The Woodside Vaulters also did well in team events. Coach Samantha Smith led the Woodside Vaulters B Team to the national championship for the second consecutive year, said Ms. Wick. The teammates are Sarah Dunn, 13, Palo Alto; Ellie Gifforde, 12, Woodside; Molly Gould, 17, Menlo Park; Katrina Nibbi, 16, Woodside; Julia Plungy, 16, San Jose; Janie Salisbury, 11, Atherton; and Kathryn Jaggers, 16, Portola Valley.
The Woodside Vaulters also won the preliminary two-phase championship with teammates Christine Herrmann, 15, of Burlingame; Tessa Divita, 12, Redwood City; and Hadley DeBrine and Sarah Dunn. Vaulters Katherine Salisbury, Samantha Welch, Audrey and Bridget Kiernan, and Kristen and Holly Kuhn helped the Woodside Vaulters trot team win second place overall.
Go to WoodsideVaulters.org for more information.