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The Delphi

The Student News Site of Delaware Valley Regional High School

The Delphi

The Student News Site of Delaware Valley Regional High School

The Delphi

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Del Val student qualifies for USA Worlds agility team

Sophomore Kadence Melamud will compete in 2024 competition
Melamud+has+been+working+towards+this+achievement+for+6+years.+She+will+be+bringing+her+dog%2C+Fyfe%2C+with+her+to+the+competition.+%28Photo+via+Farah+Melamud%29%0A
Melamud has been working towards this achievement for 6 years. She will be bringing her dog, Fyfe, with her to the competition. (Photo via Farah Melamud)

Del Val sophomore, Kadence Melamud, has qualified for the Junior Open Agility World Championship (JOAWC). The event is run by the World Canine Organization, which is the largest international federation of kennel clubs. This year, the competition will be taking place in Opglabbeek, Belgium from July 18-21.

“It’s basically Olympic-level competitions, but there is a lot more at stake than a normal trial,” Melamud said.

The sport of agility consists of directing your dog through a series of obstacles within a certain time limit. Courses will typically have between 14-20 obstacles which could include weave poles, tunnels, seesaws and pause tables. All breeds, including mixed, and all sizes can participate in agility.

Thousands of handlers applied to be accepted into this competition, but this year only 26 of them were accepted, representing 19 states across the country.

For this competition, it is not all just about winning. Just getting accepted in and being able to compete is an accomplishment.

It’s basically Olympic-level competitions, but there is a lot more at stake than a normal trial.

— Kadence Melamud

“Training daily and traveling the world to compete at the highest level of dog agility takes mental and physical skills, dedication, commitment and heart,” American Kennel wrote in a Facebook post.

The process of applying for the competition is rigorous. It requires teams to apply for specific titles, including the Open Agility and Open Agility Jumper, at the time of application, and to meet the ISC course requirement. In addition, each dog must earn a certain amount of points in various categories to qualify. The qualification window was March 15, 2023 through Feb. 15, 2024.

“There is a checklist of certain titles your dog has to get,” Melamud said. “Once you’ve done that, you have to send in videos that they [judges] will evaluate.”

This year, the judges of the competition include Anja Diels and Frank Gers of Belgium, Jari Suomalainen of Finland and former 2023 AWC judge Karel Havlíček of the Czech Republic. Teams are judged based on the time it takes them to complete the course, faults and points.

Many different actions could result in a fault, some of them including missing a weave pole, failing to place a foot in the contact zone or knocking a bar down on a jump. If a team receives five faults, it is disqualified.

Melamud training her dog Pink to go through the weave. (Meredith Levy)

Scoring will differ based on the class in which the team is competing in. Some classes include Novice, Standard, Jumpers With Weaves and Master. The Master Class is the highest level in which a handler and their dog can compete in. In AKC’s regulations for agility trials, those competing in the Master Class will be judged more strictly than those competing in the Standard Class.

Trainers must compete at the Master Class Level to look at qualifying and being picked for the Worlds team.

Melamud qualifying to compete in an event like this demonstrates her mastery of the craft. This has been a huge achievement for her, and Del Val will be rooting for her when she goes to compete in July.

“Being one of the people out of everyone that applied, even getting picked for the team is big in itself,” Melamud said. “Even if you don’t win anything great while you’re there, it’s still really cool that you made it.”

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About the Contributor
Abby Eckert
Abby Eckert, Assistant Multimedia Editor
Abby Eckert is a sophomore first-year reporter for "The Delphi." In her free time, she plays field hockey for Del Val. She likes to listen to music, spend time with friends and get crafty.
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