Suzanne Stettinius (Parkton, Md.) turned in a top-20 finish in her first World Cup final on Saturday in Rancho Mirage, Calif. The 23-year old Stettinius was the top American finisher in 18th place, totaling 4840 points.
France's Amelie Caze blew away the field with a remarkable performance, finishing with 5284 points to claim the gold medal. While other competitors faltered in the equestrian portion, Caze turned in a flawless ride to open up an insurmountable lead heading into the combined run/shoot.
The silver medal went to Great Britain's Mhairi Spence who held off a hard-charging challenge from world #1 and Olympic champion Lena Schoneborn of Germany. Schoneborn struggled early and was in 7th place heading into the combined event but found her form in the run/shoot to claim the bronze medal.
Spence's second-place finish led an impressive showing by the Brits who placed four athletes in the top 10. Joining Spence were Katy Burke in 4th place, Samantha Murray in 7th and Heather Fell in 10th.
Stettinius' strongest event was the ride where she placed 9th. She was 22nd in the fencing, 21st in the swim (2:21.95) and 23rd in the combined (13:20.61). She is a full-time student at McDaniel College in Westminster carrying 22 credits this semester and expects to earn her bachelors degree this spring.
2008 Olympian Margaux Isaksen (Fayetteville, Ark.) was in good position to make a run at the medals but missed a jump in the riding event which knocked her from contention. Isaksen was 8th in the fencing, 19th in swim (2:20.75), 31st in the ride, and finished strong with a 9th-place finish in her best event, the combined (12:44.21) to place her 20th overall.