Three local vaulting teams — two in Woodside and one in Portola Valley — are gearing up to send their championship winners and horses across the country to compete in the International Federation for Equestrian Sports World Equestrian Games later this month.
Six members of the Pacific Coast Vaulting Club have qualified to represent the United States in the games at Tryon International Equestrian Center in Mill Spring, North Carolina, from Sept. 18 to 22. Held every four years, the competition also includes the disciplines of endurance, reining, dressage and jumping.
Pacific Coast vaulters Daniel Janes, Margaret Long, Emily Rose-Steffens, Kristian Roberts, Audrey Kiernan, and Haley Smith will compete in the squad division, where a team of up to three people at a time performs gymnastic and dance moves on horseback to music. An additional person uses a long lunge line to keep the horse moving in a circle. Carolyn Bland is their longueur.
Rose-Steffens, Janes and Roberts will also be competing as individuals after placing well in national championships in Gilroy in early August, and at another qualifying event in Germany in July.
Smith and Janes have also done well competing together this season and will pair up again for the open pas de deux freestyle event at the games.
Sydney Frankel started the Pacific Coast Vaulting Club in 1998. Members are spending much time practicing at her Woodside property to perfect their routines before her Hanoverian gelding, Sir Charles, and the club's Oldenburg mare, Diva 506, are shipped to North Carolina.
Elizabeth Osborn of Menlo Park, a member of Woodside Vaulters Equestrian Vaulting Club, and longueur Krista Mack are also preparing to go to the games with Atterupgaards Sting, an Oldenburg gelding owned by Jim and Linda Bibbler of Woodside.
Osborn will be competing as an individual, and so will Tessa Divita of Portola Valley, a member of Portola Valley Vaulters. She will be accompanied by her mother and longueur Julie Divita and their Westphalian gelding, Pino del Rio.
— By Kate Daly
Menlo Park chess champ earns another trophy
Ten-year-old Menlo Park chess champ Shawnak Shivakumar has brought home another trophy — this time a third-place award in the under-10 age category in the Pan American Youth Chess Championship 2018 in Santiago, Chile, a weeklong tournament that ended on July 29.
Shawnak was one of 650 competitors from North and South America. Shawnak's mom, Devleena Shivakumar, says he competed against chess players from Argentina, Peru, Mexico, Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, and the United States. He won five games while four others ended in draws, and he had no losses.
Shawnak's third-place finish helped his U.S. team place first in the tournament.
In November, Shawnak is due to travel to Spain for the international World Cadet tournament.
Shawnak and his younger brother Sahil, also a competitive chess player, live in the Willows neighborhood of Menlo Park with their parents, Devleena and Shiva. The brothers attend Laurel School.
— By Barbara Wood
Fulkerson places in top 10 at international competition
Portola Valley resident Ross Fulkerson continued his ascent into the upper ranks of youth rock climbing in a recent international competition.
Fulkerson, who is 17 and a member of the U.S. climbing team, placed ninth in Class A bouldering for male youths and 10th in rope-based (sport) climbing in the 2018 International Federation of Sport Climbing Youth World Championships held in Moscow last month, according to the federation's website.
Boulderers ascend an indoor climbing wall — a synthetic cliff fitted with competitively placed gripping points for hands and feet. Outdoors, participants climb actual boulders and sometimes the lower reaches of vertical rock faces.
Fulkerson may be getting accustomed to finishing well. He is in his seventh year of competitive climbing and has often finished in the top 10 in competitions. In February, he took first place for his age group in the Bouldering Youth National Championship in Salt Lake City.
Fulkerson also received a 2018 Young Gun award from The North Face outerwear company. The award recognizes athletes who exemplify the sport, including efforts to give back to communities, said Bruce Mitchell, vice president of the board of USA Climbing, a nonprofit that governs competitive climbing in the United States. (The North Face is a founding partner of the organization.)
In recent years, Fulkerson said, he made himself available as a mentor to new climbers, introduced and taught a climbing class at his high school, and participated in climbs that benefit good causes. He will be a senior this year at Design Tech High School in Redwood Shores.
— By Dave Boyce