The medium team won a silver medal with three clear runs while Border Collie Juice topped off her career with a silver medal in the individual events for large dogs.
Team captain Andy Hartman said he’s happy just to be at the championships, but the medals made it more special.
“Anytime you get 11 handlers and their dogs over there and back safely, that’s a successful trip,” Hartman said. “When you have people who run well, that adds to the success.”
Humans and dogs competed with 33 other nations in Austria in September. The event was very much like the Olympics, said Hartman, who is also the AKC’s director of agility. The athletes marched in an opening day ceremony underneath the flags of their countries and in a similar closing ceremony. Hartman said he got goose bumps watching the processions.
Audience members usually stuck with their own nationalities in the stands, but it was different when they were applauding.
“We all cheer a good run no matter what country ran it,” Hartman said. “We cheered the Russians when they were going.”
On the second day the medium dog team hustled from behind to clinch the silver medal in the Medium Team Competition, according to the AKC website. The team started in ninth place at the beginning of the final round, but the dogs graced the course with three textbook-perfect runs that shot them into first place. Although the Finland team took first place, the U.S. team stood out as the only team out of 26 competing to have three clean runs in the final class.
The medium team had Jennifer Crank and Blaster, Ashley Deacon and Luka, Karen Holik with Sizzle, and Paulette Swartzendruber and Rush.
Hartman said the courses were the most technical he’d seen, especially for the large dogs.
But Juice, a 9-year-old Border Collie, used her extensive experience to shoot up to second place in the large dog individual competition when she came into the final run in ninth place from the Jumpers round. Marcus Topps, Juice’s partner, started with a lead out between jump one and two, then off they went. Juice worked the course flawlessly to finish it in 33.70 seconds, according to the AKC website.
Austria was the final world championship for Juice, who recently retired from the agility circuit, Hartman said. Juice’s career was loaded with awards including a gold medal from last year’s agility championships.
The team had some newcomers to the world championship and they all did well, Hartman said. Among the first timers were Katie Conn and her Sheltie Twix, who placed fifth overall in the small dog individual competition.
Other team members included Channan Fosty and Icon, Denise Thomas and Zippity, Melanie Del Villaggio and Dara, Dee Anna Gamel and Kelsi, and Marcy Mantell and Wave.
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