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22
Aug

Benjamin and Dahlgren Bring Home Bronze Medal in Pas de Deux Championship at FEI World Vaulting Championship

http://www.usefnetwork.com/news/9049/2012/8/19/benjamin_and_dahlgren_bring_home_br.aspx

RELEASE: August 19, 2012
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Kathleen Landwehr

Megan Benjamin and Blake Dahlgren won a bronze medal in the Pas de Deux Championship (www.barny-th.de)
Le Mans, France – The final day of competition at the FEI World Vaulting Championship proved to be an exciting one as the medal winners were determined in the Individual Female, Individual Male, Pas de Deux, and Team Championships. Megan Benjamin (Saratoga, CA) and Blake Dahlgren (Santa Clarita, CA) had another stellar Free Test, with their performance earning them the Bronze medal and an overall score of 8.407 in the Pas de Deux Championship. Vaulting on Jarl lunged by Lasse Kristensen, Benjamin and Dahlgren agreed, “We saved the best for last.”

With this Bronze medal, Benjamin is the first vaulter in history to medal in the World Championships in three different divisions: Individual Female Gold in 2006, Team Silver in 2006, and now a Pas de Deux Bronze in 2012.

Commenting on her historic achievement, Benjamin said, “Medaling in all three events had never been a goal of mine, but it feels awesome to have accomplished it. One routine, one event, and one medal at a time, I guess!”

Finishing in a close fourth place in the Pas de Deux Championship were Devon Maitozo (Palmdale, CA) and Rosalind Ross (Venice, CA). They improved upon their performance from yesterday, earning a total score of 8.376 with Escetelli 2 and lunger Kurt Isensee.

In the Team Championship, the Woodside Vaulters of Woodside, CA finished in 5th place with an overall score of 7.801. Vaulting on Stanford lunged by Julie Divita, the team was 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).

Gabe Aniello (Redwood City, CA) finished as the top U.S. vaulter in the Individual Male Championship in 10th place. Vaulting on Forrest Cump lunged by Agnes Forst, Aniello earned an overall score of 7.345. Kristian Roberts (Moss Beach, CA) earned an overall score of 6.915 with Forrest Cump and lunger Forst, putting him in 12th place in the final standings. In 13th place with Maxwell and lunger Anouk Dory, Patrick Stevens (Martinez, CA) finished his World Championship with an overall score of 6.256.

In the Individual Female Championship, Alicen Divita (Redwood City, CA) finished with an overall score of 7.793, putting her in 11th place. Vaulting on Pino del Rio lunged by Elke Schep-Lansing, Divita performed another solid Free Test to cap off her World Championship experience. With Anyway 54 and lunger Kristensen, Mary McCormick (Woodside, CA) finished in 15th place with an overall score of 7.674.

For results, click here: http://pole-europeen-du-cheval.com/2012/08/16/les-resultats-du-championnat-du-monde-de-voltige/

Follow the 2012 U.S. Vaulting Team here: http://www.usefnetwork.com/featured/2012Vaulting/

22
Aug

Benjamin and Dahlgren Sit in Third in Pas de Deux Championship at the FEI World Vaulting Championship

http://www.usefnetwork.com/news/9046/2012/8/18/benjamin_and_dahlgren_sit_in_third.aspx

RELEASE: August 18, 2012
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Kathleen Landwehr

Megan Benjamin and Blake Dahlgren are currently in third place in the Pas de Deux Championship (www.barny-th.de)
Le Mans, France – The third day of competition at the FEI World Vaulting Championship was a full day of world-class vaulting as all four Championship divisions competed. In the Pas de Deux Championship, Megan Benjamin (Saratoga, CA) and Blake Dahlgren (Santa Clarita, CA) had a very impressive first round Free Test performance, putting them in Bronze medal position with a score of 8.549. The pair vaulted on Jarl, lunged by Lasse Kristensen.

Benjamin and Dahlgren agreed, “Our Freestyle with Jarl gets better and better each time we do it. We’re looking forward to our round tomorrow.”

Not far behind in the Pas de Deux Championship were Devon Maitozo (Palmdale, CA) and Rosalind Ross (Venice, CA). The pair’s solid performance aboard Escetelli 2 lunged by Kurt Isensee earned them a score of 8.421 putting them in sixth place. After another Free Test round tomorrow, the medal winners in the Pas de Deux Championship will be determined. With Benjamin and Dahlgren already in position to receive a medal and Maitozo and Ross not far behind them, the conclusion of the Pas de Deux Championship is sure to be an exciting one.

In the Team Championship, the Woodside Vaulters of Woodside, CA performed an impressive Free Test with Stanford, lunged by Julie Divita. The efforts 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) were rewarded, earning them a total score of 7.593 and putting them in fifth place.

The Individual Male Championship continued with second round Technical Tests today. Gabe Aniello (Redwood City, CA) sits in ninth place after earning 6.828 for his Technical Test with Forrest Cump and lunger Agnes Forst. Also paired with Forrest Cump and lunger Forst, Kristian Roberts (Moss Beach, CA) earned a 6.446 putting him in tenth place. Patrick Stevens (Martinez, CA) sits in 15th place after scoring a 4.781 while vaulting on Maxwell lunged by Anouk Dory.

Alicen Divita (Redwood City, CA) remains the top U.S. vaulter in the Individual Female Championship. In her second round Technical Test, Divita scored a 7.488 with Pino del Rio and lunger Elke Schep-Lansing, putting her in 14th place. Mary McCormick (Woodside, CA) sits right behind Divita with a score of 7.254 after vaulting on Anyway 54 lunged by Kristensen.

Competition wraps up Sunday with second round Free Tests for all the World Championship divisions. The Individual Females start the day off at 10:00am local time followed by the Individual Males at 11:45am. The Pas de Deux pairs begin at 2:15pm and the day finishes with the Teams at 3:45pm. A Prize-giving Ceremony will take place at 6:00pm presenting the new World Champions with their medals.

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

For start lists and results, click here.

Follow the 2012 U.S. Vaulting Team here: http://www.usefnetwork.com/featured/2012Vaulting/

22
Aug

Bronze Medal PDD Round 2

30
Jul

Team Blagan T-Shirts

Order a T-shirt to support us on our quest for a World Championship medal in Pas de Deux!

Shirts cost $25 each and come in two styles– women’s fitted v-neck and unisex crew. To order your shirt PM me on Facebook or send an email to megan.benjamin@gmail.com specifying your preferred style and size. To make an additional tax-deductible donation, ask me for details.

The T-shirt logo is inspired by the horses who have and will be there for us every step of the way. Allow me to explain.

Team Blagan- That’s us! Coined by the Mt. Eden A Team, “Go Blagan!” has been screamed loudly before each and every round of competition in the 2012 competition season. Blake and I are known to respond jointly when someone screams “Blagan!” in a crowded room. (The Mt. Eden girls tried this most recently by screaming “Blagan” across the crowded Brussels airport. Neither of us responded to our individual names, but “Blagan” got our attention!)

The King- We fondly refer to Leonardo, my horse and our American Pas de Deux mount, as “The King”. He is spoiled (though not rotten), commands and deserves attention, and is ridiculously good at what he does. He’s a champion through and through, and he knows it.

The Duke- Jarl, our World Championships mount, is “The Duke”. He is the first horse ever to receive a horse score above a 9 (a 9.175 in Aachen). Let’s just say this ex-jumper has found his calling.

The Crown- The simple one in the middle with the squiggly line under it is the Danish Warmblood symbol, since both Leonardo and Jarl are Danish. You’ll just have to guess at the symbolic significance of the other crown.

USA- Most importantly, we are Team USA. It is a great source of pride to wear and carry the American flag at big international events, most of all at the World Championships.

Thanks to everyone for your love and support.

19
Jul

Join Team Blagan (Get a Tshirt!)

While maintaining the financial independence of “real grown ups” has been exhilarating and liberating for us both, it turns out that funding a trip to the World Championships quite costly. We are aiming to raise $8500 before the World Championships begin on August 14th.

If you are willing and able, please donate to Team Blagan and help fund our quest for a medal (preferably GOLD!) at the Vaulting World Championships in Le Mans, France—where Pas de Deux will be featured for the first time ever! Here’s our deal– Donate $100 or more to get a free Team Blagan Tshirt OR buy a shirt for $25. Visit our fundraising site here!

The Tshirt logo is inspired by the horses who have and will be there for us every step of the way. Allow me to explain.

Team Blagan- That’s us! Coined by the Mt. Eden A Team, “Go Blagan!” has been screamed loudly before each and every round of competition in the 2012 competition season. Blake and I are known to respond jointly when someone screams “Blagan!” in a crowded room. (The Mt. Eden girls tried this most recently by screaming “Blagan” across the crowded Brussels airport. Neither of us responded to our individual names, but “Blagan” got our attention!)

The King- We fondly refer to Leonardo, my horse and our American Pas de Deux mount, as “The King”. He is spoiled (though not rotten), commands and deserves attention, and is ridiculously good at what he does. He’s a champion through and through, and he knows it.

The Duke- Jarl, our World Championships mount, is “The Duke”. He is the first horse ever to receive a horse score above a 9 (a 9.175 in Aachen). Let’s just say this ex-jumper has found his calling.

The Crown- The simple one in the middle with the squiggly line under it is the Danish Warmblood symbol, since both Leonardo and Jarl are Danish. You’ll just have to guess at the symbolic significance of the other crown.

USA- Most importantly, we are Team USA. It is a great source of pride to wear and carry the American flag at big international events, most of all at the World Championships.

Thanks to everyone for your love and support.

11
Jun

Look Me in the Eyes

Throughout the domestic season, judges and audience members alike had demanded “more interaction” between Blake and me in our Pas de Deux. With a quick hour of work before the final selection trial, we seemed to appease many, but the pickiest spectators wanted more out of our performance– and we did too. This past weekend, Blake and I worked with a choreographer (the lovely and ever-wonderful Kristin Kusanovich from Santa Clara University) to get over our connection issues.

Before we did anything else, Kristin had us look at each other. Seems simple. With Blake standing and me sitting, she asked us to look each other in the eye and leave our faces blank. We laughed uncomfortably within seconds. Refocused, we tried again. And again. And again. It was harder than all the acrobatics we had tried all year, but eventually, we got the hang of it. We played with different “looking” exercises, seeing each other really for the first time.

Then we got to the good stuff. We added new life to the routine, new interpretation to the music, new interaction. Luckily for us, the routine is now not only physically exhausting, but emotionally exhausting too. We performed the routine about 20 times this past weekend, and I’m confident that the new choreography is already embedded in my body. But there’s still plenty of work to do… like putting it on horseback. Thursday…

And just in case you see Blake and me in what appears to be a stare off, looking each other in the eyes is now part of our warm up. Here’s a picture, just in case he wants to practice.

More importantly than anything, thank you to my man, Michael, and Blake’s woman, Tricia, for giving us the freedom and support to make this routine the best it can possibly be. We love you with our whole hearts and don’t know what we would do without you!!!

5
Jun

Back At It

The domestic season is officially over, despite the lack of blogging throughout it. Since content is king, starting now through the World Championships in Le Mans, France in August, I will be blogging at least once/week. I can’t wait for the international adventures ahead!!

Here’s my favorite picture from this season so far of The King and me. He’s the real champion. Thanks, Kate, for the amazing photograph!

19
Jan

30 Days of Yoga- Day 25

Yogadownload.com Power Vinyassa #5

I almost didn’t do yoga today, but then, as I sat in my computer chair for the millionth time today, my body just craved it. I opted for a 20 minute yogadownload.com episode of power. It stretched all the right muscles and got in all the requisite poses without being redundant or boring. Props and thanks for helping me get to day 25!

18
Jan

30 Days of Yoga- Day 24

Hour of Power with Melissa Carlson

This 7am class is definitely my favorite at Yoga Belly. Good stretches, handstands, challenging poses, and a solid sweat. Perfect!

17
Jan

30 Days of Yoga- Day 23ish

Yoga Therapy, but really, Cheating

Hung out on the yoga therapy balls while watching Daily Shows, then stretched all my worst stuff. Felt good, but wasn’t exactly yoga…

Maybe 30 days was just too much. It didn’t help that our smoke alarm kept chirping at 4am, and for some crazy reason, I drove to Safeway at 4:15 to buy new batteries, installed them, and slept right through morning yoga class. Whoops.