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Pleasanton Preps: AVHS alum Steiner takes home equestrian championship

Rage U17 team qualifies for Champions League playoffs in Illinois

Katie Steiner has been riding horses since she was 8 years old, and the hard work recently paid off when Steiner won the Cacchione Cup, an event sponsored by the United States Equestrian Federation.

Steiner, a 2013 graduate of Amador Valley High School, was recognized as the event's most outstanding rider at the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) championship, where she was representing Centenary University.

This year's championship was held at the Lexington Horse Park in Lexington, Ky., and was the first time Steiner had competed in the event.

"I had been to nationals my first three years, but it was more to help out," Steiner said.

Competing against the top collegiate riders from across the country, Steiner had set her goals for the event.

"I wanted to have solid rounds," she said. "I was hoping for top 10 or top 25, but I never thought I would win."

She built up a solid lead through the first part of the event and then closed strong to bring home the national title.

"I was in shock," Steiner said of winning. "There was a lot of disbelief."

A native of Pleasanton, Steiner was also provided with a grant from the United States Equestrian Federation to secure additional training from a professional rider of her choice.

Steiner, who graduated from New Jersey-based Centenary last month with a degree in equine studies, wasted no time getting into her field of studies.

Steiner is currently working as an assistant trainer with Crystal Image Farms in Sunol. It's not the first time Steiner has worked at the farm, as she spent time during her high school years working and riding at the facility.

Getting the chance to work with Denize Borges at Crystal Image is right where she wants to be.

"I have such a good relationship with Denize," Steiner said. "It's like my career has come full circle."

Rage soccer

The Pleasanton Rage U17 Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) team has qualified for the Champions League National Playoff to be held in Rockford, Ill., from June 22-27.

There will be 32 teams from across the country competing for a chance to win a national title. The top four teams from the playoffs in Rockford move on to San Diego to play for the title July 7-9.

The ECNL is made up of 84 of the top girls youth soccer clubs (U14-U18) across the nation competing from September to June for the opportunity to play in the Champions League playoff and a national championship.

The U17 Rage club, led by coach Darin Preszler and made up of mostly high school juniors from across the Bay Area, automatically qualified by winning the Northern California division in ECNL. This is the first time since the inception of ECNL in 2009 that a Rage team has won its division against top teams from clubs like Mustang, De Anza and San Juan.

This is also the second time a Rage team will be competing in the Champions League National Playoffs of ECNL. In club history, this will be the fifth opportunity for a national championship.

The playoff in Rockford is structured with eight brackets of four teams each with a round-robin set of three matches with the winner of each division moving to a knockout quarterfinal match. The quarterfinal winners then move on to San Diego in early July to compete for the championship.

Cross country

Nine middle schools from the Tri-Valley had their Track and Field Meet of Champions on May 23 at Dublin High.

Hope Bergmark from Harvest Park won the girls 1600-meter run with a time of 5:33. John Lester from Pleasanton Middle won the boys 400-meter run with a time of 56.11 and Aurelia Wojciechowska won the girls 400-meter run in 1:01.93.

Pleasanton's 4x400-meter relay team consisting of Lester, Kip Van Horn, Shawn Yeom and Euan Houston placed first with a time of 4:07.

Editor's note: Dennis Miller is a contributing sports writer for the Pleasanton Weekly. To contact Miller or submit local high school sports scores, game highlights and photographs for his weekly Pleasanton Preps column, email him at acesmag@aol.com.

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