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USA Wins Team Jumping Title


Team USA won the Bank of America Team Jumping Championship at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 in Tryon, USA Friday, September 21, but they were chased all the way by a brilliant Swedish side that took silver, while Germany claimed the bronze. It was an epic battle on this final day of the team event, and nothing came easy.

Out in front as the action began, the Swiss lost their grip when Werner Muff’s 13-fault round with Daimler was followed by elimination for Janika Sprunger when Bacardi VDL crashed through the first fence and then refused to tackle the second on the 14-obstacle course.

It was a roller-coaster ride from start to finish, and the Swedes, lying fourth as the action began, piled on the pressure when adding nothing to their previous day’s scoreline of 20.59 as Henrik von Eckermann (Toveks Mary Lou), Malin Baryard-Johnsson (H&M Indiana), and Fredrik Jonsson (Cold Play) all posted three brilliant clears. This was enough to overtake the Germans whose total rose to 22.09 despite foot-perfect runs from Simone Blue (DSP Alice) and Marcus Ehning (Pret a Tout), four faults from Laura Klaphake (Catch Me If You Can), and Maurice Tebbel (Don Diarado) picked up five.

Although American hopes were high, the result was hanging in the balance right to the end. Devin Ryan opened the host nation account with a single mistake at the second-last fence, and when Adrienne Sternlicht and Cristalline picked up five, then the Swedes were out in front. But Laura Kraut rode to the rescue, steering Zeremonie home with a clean sheet to a great roar from the crowd! If McLain Ward could follow that with another clear the job was done and the gold would be in American hands. But the Olympic double-gold medalist faulted at fence seven and suddenly everything changed once again. The USA and Sweden were tied on 20.59 penalties and it would take a jump-off to separate them.

“McLain made us all work a little harder - he could have made it a whole lot easier!” joked his team manager this evening.
But in the end it was Ward who won it for them, with a scorching last-to-go run with the grey mare Clinta. Both teams produced three clear rounds against the clock, but Ward’s gallop through the timers saw USA post an accumulated time of 100.67 while the Swedes were two seconds slower.  

Youngest team member Adrienne Sternlicht (25) was overcome with emotion at the post-competition press conference, and she wasn’t the only one to shed a tear. “I love my horse so much! McLain has been the most unbelievable mentor for me, such an important part of my life. For me it’s been a battle of overcoming my own mind and I’m so grateful that Robert trusted me and trusted McLain enough to put me on this team. To be with Laura and Devin and McLain, three riders I’ve honestly looked up to my entire life, I’m so grateful for this opportunity - it’s been a wonderful day!” Sternlicht said. 

Final Team Results (out of 23 teams):
Gold: Team USA: Devin Ryan (Eddie Blue), Adreinne Sternlicht (Cristalline), Laura Kraut (Zeremonie), and McLain Ward (Clinta)
Silver: Sweden: Henrik von Eckermann (Toveks Mary Lou), Malin Baryard-Johnsson (H&M Indiana), Fredrik Jönsson (Cold Play), and Peder Fredricson (H&M Christian K)
Bronze: Germany: Simone Blum (DSP Alice), Laura Klaphake (Catch Me If You Can OLD), Maurice Tebbel (Don Diarado), and Marcus Ehning (Pret A Tout)

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