HARRISBURG, Pa.--Zone 2, with riders from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York, has traditionally done very well in the National Junior Championships at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show, often winning the gold medal in both the team competition and individual championship.
However, in the first class, phase 1 of the Championship, held Thursday Oct. 10, no Zone 2 rider made the top three, with riders from Illinois taking first and second and a Californian placing third.
From a starting field of 34 entries, Kyle Perkovich of Hawthorn Woods, Ill., on Hit Me Van't Zorgvliet won Phase I of the Championships, a time first round competiton.
The course, designed by Ken Krome of Westminster, Md., featured 12 jumps with 14 jumping efforts at 1.35m.
Perkovich produced a bold round that paid off in the end with a time of 51.289 seconds.
ALEXANDRA PIELET of Highland Park, Ill., on Helene VE, placed second with a time of 51.796 seconds, and Maggie Kehring of Woodside, Calif., on Cole Haan was third with 55.321 seconds.
"Today felt absolutely amazing," said Perkovich. "The course was super technical and really forced me to focus every step of the way. I did my best; I gave it my all today, and I'm really looking forward to the same consistent rides for the rest of the weekend with Jag (Hit Me Van't Zorgvliet). Honestly, he was feeling great and jumping everything amazingly well. I just couldn't be any happier."
The team competiton is Friday evening and the National Junior Jumper Championship culminates on Saturday with the Individual Phase III competition.
Scores from the first two phases are converted into points and are carried over with the top 60 percent of competitors from Phases I and II, who have not been eliminated, eligible to take part.
The individual champion is the competitor with the lowest number of combined penalties after Phases I, II and III.