Harrisburg, Pa.—Oct. 16
Karen Polle and Taylor Land jumped clean all week long in the Randolph College/USEF Junior Jumper Championships to finish in a dead heat for the individual title tonight. So, they had to jump off for the gold, and then neither one of them could keep the rails in the cups. But Polle prevailed, adding the individual gold to the team title she’d earned with Zone 2 the night before.
Clear rounds were hard to come by tonight, as only five of the 15 starters in the individual championships could put a zero on the scoreboard. When Meg O’Mara, coming into the last round with just 2 faults to her name, put a clean round on the board, nerves got tight. Reed Kessler and Jocelyn Neff also had 2 faults apiece tonight, but they each added a rail to their tally to drop out of the medals.
Only Land and Polle had a clean slate coming into tonight after clean rounds in the speed leg and both rounds of the team competition, and when Land jumped clean on her Karonda V Schlosslihof C, Polle knew the pressure was on.
“When Meg jumped clean with her 2 and then Taylor jumped clean, too, I was really feeling nervous. Then, I got really nervous for the jump-off, because Taylor is so fast!” Polle said.
Land was fast on her chestnut with the flying mane, but her speed backfired when she punched rails out of the way at the last two jumps. She finished with 8 faults, making it so all Polle had to do was be careful.
“Yeah, all I had to do was be clean, and I didn’t even get it!” Polle said. She and her gray mare Cachette Z were clean up to the very last jump, but the 4 faults there didn’t get in the way of gold. “I knew I just had to be under 8 faults,” Polle said.
Polle, of New York, N.Y., was actually fifth on the Zone 2 qualifying list for the USEF Junior Jumper Championships, but she got to join the team at the last minute when Jessica Springsteen couldn’t ride.
Polle, 17, has had Cachette Z for a year. “She’s super fast and quick and she puts 110 percent into every effort over every jump,” she said.
Polle had to hurry to get some shut-eye, since she’s riding in the Pessoa/USEF Medal Finals tomorrow. Check in with the Chronicle for all the news, including a live blog of the action!