Tuesday, November 17, 2009

USDAA Nationals

From left to right - Gator, Summit, Puzzle, and Trick

We arrived back home yesterday afternoon from our very first Nationals. What an amazing experience! The level of intensity in the air... walking and running courses with the top handlers in the country... very cool!

I am very proud of both my dogs. Sage had great runs in Team Jumpers, Standard, and Gamblers (didn't get very far in Snooker). She had a fast run in Steeplechase quarterfinals and made it to the Semifinals. She had another great run in Grand Prix quarterfinals but dropped a bar which added 5 seconds to her time, so we didn't make it to the GP semi's.

Sage's run in the Steeplechase Semifinals was awesome! But of course, not fast enough to make the finals (as I expected). Her time was 27 seconds and 25 was the cutoff. But I was thrilled that she made it into the semi's.

Summit has a smokin' fast Steeplechase run in the quarterfinals. But he missed the second to last jump at the finish (I didn't support it). I was thrilled though with how focused he was. He also had nice team standard and gamblers runs. He wasn't entered in Grand Prix.

My group walked our courses early in the morning (7:30-8:00) and we didn't run until 4:00 p.m. Wednesday, I walked Team Snooker at 8:00 a.m. and didn't run it until 5:30 that evening. This was very difficult for me and something I will need to practice. It wasn't an easy Snooker course either and had three combinations (5a, 5b, 6a,6b, and 7a, 7b, and 7c).

I was very pleased to see that Summit's course times were up there with the top dogs. We just need to improve our consistency. I learned a lot by attending and have training goals for the upcoming year. I remember when I attended our first Regional competition and how I felt it made me a tougher competitor. Now that I've been to Nationals and seen the level of competition (you read about it but until you see it and compete at that level, you just can't imagine). I am very inspired to train even harder to improve our performance. A local trial just doesn't seem the same now. Although I will be looking forward to a very relaxing, low-key, three day AKC trial next weekend.

I also learned a lot by watching the top handlers in the semifinals and the finals. The times were very close and hundredths of a second separated the top 10-15 spots.
I met several of Summit's relatives... Lori with Puzzle (Summit's Aunt), Jody with Gator (Summit's Uncle), and Sandy with Trick (Summit's half sister). We got a picture of the four dogs under the USDAA banner. I also met Kim Dash and Will (Summit's cousin). And of course, got to see Susan Garrett and Encore (Summit's other Aunt).
I also got to play with the mother of my future Sheltie puppy (she wasn't competing) and watch the sire run several courses. He did quite well (making it into the Finals in both GP and Steeplechase).

Next year Nationals is supposed to be in either Louisville, Kentucky or Philadelphia, PA. We will definitely be attending if they are held in Kentucky.


Diana said...

Congrats on your great runs!!! Diana

Christine said...

It sounds fabulous, wish we had something similar over here. And well done on your results, a great start to top flight agility woohooooo:-)

Kathy said...

That just sounds like so much fun, and like you said such a learning opportunity. I know you have worked hard-you have to be so proud of yourself and your dogs to have earned the opportunity to compete at that level, very cool!

Greg S said...

Sounds like you had an awesome time! Congrats on all the successes. I just know that Mr Summit can hang with the big guys - watch out next year!

Elayne said...

By pure chance I happened to see Summit's Steeplechase run and it was so nice, I was sure you'd made it into the next round but the camera didn't show the last 2 jumps. Still was a nice run.

I also found it difficult to walk the courses early in the morning then run them many hours later. It was one of the few things I didn't like about the group rotation format but I don't see how else to manage so many people.

Glad you had a good time. I also always came home thinking that now a little local trial is no big deal.