Whitaker and Conway Earn Individual Gold at North American Youth Championships in Pre-Junior and Children’s Categories
Jumping athletes were put to the ultimate test Saturday as they competed for individual honors in the Gotham North FEI North American Youth Championships for Jumping, presented by USHJA. Over two rounds, the Children’s and Pre-Juniors attempted to record clear efforts to their overall scores and emerge on the podium. In the Children’s, Rylynn Conway (Zone 2 – Fair Haven, N.J.) took the gold medal after a tiebreaking jump-off, while in the Pre-Junior category, Lawson Whitaker (Zone 4 – Ocala, Fla.) claimed top honors and the gold medal.
Conway Captures Gold in Children’s Individual Final
Coming into round one of the Individual Final for the Children’s category, 12 pairs were tied on fault-free efforts. That number narrowed to 11 after round one drew to a close. At the conclusion of round two of the Individual Final, only six pairs turned in completely clean slates over the three days of jumping. With a six-way tie at the top, the six competitors – Livia Martin (CAN), Taylor Cawley (Zone 4 – Wellington, Fla.), Lenir Perez (HON), Conway, Olivia Sweetnam (Zone 4 – Wellington, Fla.), and Tarin Kiely (Zone 2 – Rumson, N.J.) – went into jump-off mode to take their shot at the gold medal.
The pace kept getting quicker with Cawley and Quintago VA recording the first clear jump-off in 31.18 seconds. Just following, Perez took the pace up a notch to 30.14 seconds aboard Di Vadina, looking to improve upon his silver-medal finish at last year’s NAYC. Conway sealed the deal, however, when she raced the small but mighty Nossa van de Bien to 28.66 seconds and claimed the lead. With Sweetnam and Kiely both pulling rails on course, the gold medal was all Conway’s at the close of competition.
“It’s a super big accomplishment to be here and super exciting,” Conway said of her performance. “I’m excited to keep moving up and hopefully return next year. I was trying to have a consistent week and a few clear rounds, but we ended up having all clear rounds and it was a good time. There were a lot of people going into the last round before the jump-off, then six went into the jump-off so everyone was going to get a ribbon, so I was just hoping to do well.”
Whitaker and Conway Earn Individual Gold at North American Youth Championships in Pre-Junior and Children’s Categories | US Equestrian (usef.org)