September 1, 2013 -- The 2013 FEI World Driving Championships for Pairs came to a conclusion Sunday with the cones phase, as Team and Individual medals were on the line. The United States produced determined, polished efforts in the final phase to climb the leaderboard and finish in fourth place in the team standings. The U.S. completed the week on a final score of 303.25 to finish five points out of Bronze medal position. Additionally, all three American drivers finished the championship in the top half of the standings.
Leading the way for the U.S. was Misdee Wrigley-Miller (Lakewood Ranch, Fla.) in her second World Championship appearance. Driving her own team, Wrigley-Miller had four balls down and incurred 8.23 time penalties on Sunday for a cones score of 20.23. The 2013 USEF National Pairs Champion finished in 17th place overall with a score of 154.22.
Rachael Blanchard (Upperville, Va.) closed out her championship debut with an impressive effort in Sunday's cones. Driving a talented pair owned by Heather Briggs of Belle Grey Farm, Blanchard had two balls down but was the only competitor to finish within the time allowed earning a second place in the cones. She finished in overall 23th place with a score of 159.84.
Scott Dancer (Woodside, Calif.) was also making his World Championship debut and finished in 34th place overall on a score of 166.83. Driving his own team, he had two balls down and added 3.42 time penalties to finish with a cones score of 9.42.
"As you can imagine we are elated with the fourth place finish in the Nations Cup," said Chef d'Equipe Chester Weber. "Moreover, Rachael's second place finish in the cones demonstrates that the future of the U.S. Pair Driving is bright. Michael Freund (Team Coach) did a remarkable job at molding horses and drivers into this wonderful team effort."
Hungary captured the Team Gold medal finishing on a score 260.02, with Germany earning Silver on a score of 272.86. The Netherlands narrowly edged the U.S. to earn Bronze with an overall score of 298.06. In the Individual Championship, Hungary's Vilmos Lazar earned Gold on a score of 130.57, Sebastian Warneck of Germany took Silver with an overall total of 135.78 and Bronze when to Zoltan Lazar from Hungary with a score of 136.27.
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