After finishing first in the final performance of the WCRA Days of ‘47 semi-final rounds, Michelle Darling and Martini have earned a spot in the Gold Medal Round where they will attempt to win a gold medal and $25,000 cash prize.
Darling and Martini were fourth out on the ground, clocking a 17.562-second run to earn $1,600 in prize money. Brooke McGehee, of Stephenville, Texas, finished second with a 17.654-second run, and Ava Garcia, of Bulverde, Texas, finished third with a 17.664-second run.
“Honestly, it wasn’t the run I wanted,” Darling said. “It was a little bit wild and the ground was a lot harder and I wasn’t expecting that. I honestly did not expect to make it back and nobody else really had the run they wanted either. So it was a weird round last night, but I think the ground had a lot to do with it. It wasn’t that good last night. It wasn’t very fast. So, I left them standing and made it back, but I really feel like it was pure luck.”
Darling rode Morning Traffic, “Martini,” an 11-year-old daughter of Frenchman’s Guy out of Evening Traffic by Dash Thru Traffic, for the round win.
“She usually handles ground so good and she takes care of herself,” Darling said. “So I know I’m gonna ride the same in the next round and hopefully the ground’s better and she’ll be able to sit down and really work in it; that is what I’m kind of hoping for.”
Having already captured two bronze medals, Darling will aim to earn another color and a higher placing on the podium on Monday.
“One more run and I hope it goes good,” Darling said. “I’ve gotten bronze twice, so I would be happy with the silver.”
The Gold Medal Round field has been set with Jana Guthrie as the No.1 seeded athlete, joining Tiffani Sonnier, Stevi Hillman, Halyn Lide and Michelle Darling who qualified after winning their respective semi-final rounds, and Wenda Johnson, Jordon Briggs and Stephanie Fryar who earned wildcard spots with the fastest times from all four combined semi-finals.
WCRA Utah Days of ’47 Semi Final Round 4 Results:
1. Michelle Darling, Medford, OK, 17.562 seconds, $1,600; 2. Brooke McGehee, Stephenville, TX, 17.654, $1,200; 3. Ava Garcia, Bulverde, TX, 17.664, $800; 4. Casey Wagner, Park City, MT, 17.692, $400.
Gold Medal Round Current Qualifiers:
Tiffani Sonnier, Stevi Hillman, Halyn Lide, Michelle Darling, Wenda Johnson, Jordon Briggs, Stephanie Fryar, Jana Guthrie