2017 USA WAO Team

2017 Team Members

The US Open, held in Perry, Georgia in November 2016, was the tryout event for the WAO Team USA. A point system has been implemented (read more about it HERE). Point summaries for WAO Team USA applicants at the completion of the tryout event are as follows:

2017 WAO Team Selection Points – 300

2017 WAO Team Selection Points – 400

2017 WAO Team Selection Points – 525

2017 WAO Team Selection Points – 600

Would you like to support the 2016 WAO Team USA? Click HERE!

Loretta Mueller | Team USA Coach

Loretta Mueller is the 2016 Team USA Coach. She has been involved in agility since starting with her rescue dog Ace in 2004. Since then she has ran Border Collies and also trained Crackers the JRT who is currently on the WAO team as the #1 win on for the 300’s. Crackers has represented the WAO Team USA every year since 2013, winning many medals.

She has achieved 3 ADCH’s (also several Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze ADCH’s) She has been a Silver Medalist at the Cynosport World Championships. And is no stranger to the finals, having ran multiple dogs in all 3 finals (Grand Prix, Steeplechase and DAM Team) many years in a row. She has also won top spots at USDAA Regionals.

She has also been the Assistant Coach for the 2014 IFCS Team USA who competed in the Netherlands.

Loretta teaches agility full time, in Minnesota, at Full Tilt Dog Training. She also gives seminars all over the US, Mexico and Canada as well as online classes through the Fenzi Dog Sports Academy.

Mike Padgett | Team USA Assistant Coach

Mike Padgett is the 2017 Team USA Assistant Coach. Mike started in agility nearly 10 years ago with a rescue border collie mix, continuing the agility habit with a number of Shelties. When the demands of multiple dogs agility grew, Mike did the only reasonable thing. He gave up a full time engineering job to devote more time to training, competing and developing safer agility equipment.

He is an eight time member of multiple USA international teams, having the honor of a WAO individual gold medal placement in 2013, as well as other international individual and team podium placements. On the home front, Mike has competed in several national finals in UKI, AKC and USDAA.
Mike lives in South Carolina with wife Jan and their pack of Shelties, which, at last count, numbered eight. He still holds down a part time engineering job, but primarily focuses on playing with dogs.

Jan Padgett | Team USA Manager

JanPadgettbiopic-200x200Jan Padgett is the 2017 Team USA Manager. She has been involved in agility for over fifteen years. She and her sheltie Samson saw agility for the first time on TV and thought it looked like fun.

After attempting to find a class they enrolled in obedience and started their competition career there. Eventually they found an agility class, and never went back to obedience.

Jan has trained and competed with shelties and a Border collie mix. She has achieved MACH’s on three dogs, and multiple Nationals for AKC, USDAA and UKI. In addition to competing, Jan has hosted numerous seminars and been President of the Blue Ridge Agility Club. She and her husband Mike help run the UKI US Open in partnership with Greg and Laura Derrett.

Jan left a career as a paralegal several years ago to teach agility and travel with Mike and their dogs. She currently owns seven Shetland sheepdogs, two of which run with Jan. Jan and Mike make their home in Upstate South Carolina, having escaped Indiana winters eight years ago.

Jody Lolich and Skillz | 650 Team

Jody has been involved in agility since 1998, taking the plunge from being a licensed veterinary technician for 18 years, to a full time dog trainer in 2012.
This will be her 4th world team with Skillz, having earned a Silver & Bronze medal at the WAC in ’15.
She is looking forward to representing team USA this year, and being apart of a wonderful team. Team Pony will be ready to run.
Unknown facts: Scared of clowns. Has a motorcycle license, and an artsy side

Sangie Brooks and Vette | 650 Team


Tawni Millet and Jolt | 650 Team

Tawni and Jolt live in the Chicago suburbs with Tawni’s husband Eric, Jolt’s daughter Little, and Eric’s Poodle Dixie. Tawni has been training her family’s dogs since she was a kid and thanks her Mom for getting her started in Agility lessons with her Jack Russell, Buttons. Jolt is Tawni’s first Border Collie and second agility dog. They train with Dana Pike in Plainfield, IL. This will be Tawni and Jolt’s second time on an International team, and first World Agility Open. Both Tawni and Jolt are exited and honored to be part of Team USA! When not training agility, Jolt enjoys hiking, swimming, and looking for squirrels in trees.

Perry DeWitt and Verb | 650 Team Alternate

Perry has been competing in agility for five years, but has been training dogs professionally for close to ten. She is a full time professional dog trainer and has recently also started teaching agility. Before agility her sport of choice was Lacrosse where she played through the colligate level. When she is not doing agility Perry enjoys running, eating, and falling down.

Verb is a three year old Border Collie. He is an extremely kind hearted dog who absolutely loves and adores agility. He is truly passionate about his job. When not doing agility Verb enjoys frisbee, cuddling, punching people gently in the face, singing, and smiling. His only dislikes are puppies and shrimp.

Perry and Verb are super excited to be a part of WAO team USA!

Rachel Carlson & Striker | 650 Team Alternate

Striker-2-200x200Rachel Carlson and Striker are blessed and excited to represent the USA as alternates for the WAO this year. Rachel and Striker live and train in Knoxville, Tennessee. Rachel recently graduated MTSU where she studied graphic/visual design and marketing. She recently became the Director of Communications for Second Presbyterian Church in Knoxville. Striker, 5, is known for his freckled nose and long mane. He enjoys chewing up stuffed animals, cuddling and fireworks.

Rachel began agility in her backyard when she was 10 years old with her Golden Retriever, Ruby. She has since trained and competed with her Golden Retriever, Piper, and is beginning her agility career with her 2-year-old Border Collie, Rocky. Rachel and Striker represented the USA in England at the WAO last May.

Kerry Smith and Hype | 525 Team


David Kurtz and Snips| 525 Team

David Kurtz has been actively competing in Agility since 2007, but this is the first time he is travelling to an International event. It’s also the first year during which he found himself on a podium at a National competition. Teaming with Snips, who he has been working with for the past 3-1/2 years, he shared two podiums at Cynosport 2016 and two at the UKI US Open, including first place in the National Championship.

When not training or competing in Agility, David is an executive in the Silicon Valley. But if he had his way, he’d be directing theater, which he spent over a decade doing semi-professionally after graduating college.

Kris Seiter & Anwar | 525 Team


Tracy Hirsch & Silver | 525 Team

Tracy Hirsch has been actively involved in the sport of Agility since 2002. She has successfully competed in Agility with a variety of dogs of all shapes, sizes and temperaments.

Currently, Tracy shares her passion for agility with her eight dogs…six Border Collies, a 7-pound North Carolina bug chaser and the most adorable Border Staffy you’ll ever meet.

In addition to holding numerous high level titles, Tracy and her canine teammates have earned multiple wins and placements at local, regional, national and international events. Tracy has also had the honor of representing the United States  on the 2013 IFCS CCOE team in Spain and  as part of the 2015 USA WAO team in the Netherlands that brought home a silver medal.

When she’s not running around with a pack of feral dogs or creating courses for her upcoming classes, you can find her shopping for more dog collars, running barefoot or organizing her closet for the eleventy-bajillionth time.

Kaitlyn & Karli | 525 Team Alternate

KaitlynDreeseKarliRene-300x300Kaitlyn and Karli live in McClure, Pennsylvania where Kaitlyn attends Juniata College as a Biology major. This past summer Kaitlyn lived in Maryland, doing research and shadowing at Veterinary Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Group. This will be Karli’s second time as a member of the WAO team. Although Karli has been a member of the European Open team for four years.

Kaitlyn says, “Karli has taken me on so many wonderful adventures and I’m very grateful that she loves the game as much as I do.” Together, they have traveled to Hungary, Germany, and France and all over the United States. Some of Kaitlyn’s favorite memories of Karli take place on the start and finish line of ordinary runs. Karli walks into the ring, bouncing and barking, and she leaves the ring frantically looking for a leash to grab and arms to jump into. She’s a wonderful little dog and what she lacks in size, she makes up for in attitude.

Jessica Ajoux & Fame(US) | 525 Team Alternate

Jessica Ajoux has been involved in dog agility since 1999 and is currently an active competitor, instructor and Agility judge. She works hard to stay on the cutting edge of this ever evolving sport. Jessica also spent quite a bit of time in swimming pools as she played for Princeton University on the women’s Water Polo team. Jessica loves agility, her work, french fries, Game of Thrones, wine and unicorns/ponies. Jessica does not enjoy olives, the cold, bugs, or licorice.

Fame(US) is a 6 year old female Border Collie who believes that agility should be done at top speed, all the time. She is an amazing athlete and a lovely partner. Fame(US) loves swimming, biting her toys, vacuums and electronics of all sorts, lounging on beds, and of course, agility. Fame(US) does not enjoy the fact that she has to share her time and space with the other family dogs, (she’s a bit greedy and a bit spoiled), putting two strides on the aframe, Doritos, or being on a leash.
Jessica and Fame(US) are excited about the WAO team USA!!

Jean Lavalley & Sprint | 400 Team

Sprint is a four year old, female Sheltie who has been quite the prodigy so far. This is her 3rd year on the WAO team. It’s the first year that she gets to have all of my focus as we decided to try without Cheer this year. Time for Sprint and I to put on our big girl britches and leave Cheer the security blanket at home. I’ve had several very gifted agility Shelties, but I believe Sprint is the most talented one yet. I’m hoping to bring her to her full potential this year in the Netherlands.

Abigail Beasley and Dreamer | 400 Team

Abbey started competing in agility 15 years ago at the age of 8 years old, with her first sheltie, Lucky. She has since handled, trained, and learned from many dogs along the way, including Dreamer, her seven-year-old sheltie. From the moment she met Dreamer, Abbey knew she was something special. Her fiery and fun personality has helped her to achieve many things, on and off the agility field. Together they have been in over 10 National finals, and have competed in Europe five times. Last year, they contributed to a Team Gold Medal as well as an Individual Pentathlon Gold Medal at the WAO. The journey with Dreamer has been and will continue to be an exciting one!!!

Jen Pinder & Britain | 400 Team


Beth Martin & Keen | 400 Team


Susan Crank & Stripper | 400 Team Alternate

Susan Crank has been involved in dog training for over 30 years. She started in obedience with collies, earning many titles and teaching obedience classes. In 1993 she became involved in agility and has been a top competitor, earning 7 ADCH’s and 50 MACH’s on multiple dogs, including shelties, Border Collies and Golden Retrievers. In May of 2015, she won a spot on both AKC European Open team competing in Germany and the AKC World Championship team competing in Italy. Susan has been training director for two training centers and co-owner of Wild Weavers Agility. She was responsible for curriculum development, lesson planning, instructor development and class organization. She currently is the business manager and instructor for IncrediPAWS Dog Training in Columbus, Ohio.

Susan is also an ordained minister and conducts wedding ceremonies!

Chip Gerfen & Trudi | 400 Team Alternate


Andy and Crackers | 300 Team

Crackers is an 8.5 year old JRT/SMT and is Andy’s first agility dog. They have been competing for 7 years and this will be their 5th WAO Team and 10th international competition.

Andy did not originally get Crackers to do agility though. For his job he spends a lot of hours on the road with a lot of overnight stays and Loretta thought it would be a good idea to get a dog to travel with me as a companion.

Since she is an agility instructor at Full Tilt Agility, and with five border collies at home, we made a deal that if I got a dog then I would have to do some training with him. Crackers started out timid and low drive, but Loretta was able to build drive in him and he quickly turned on to agility getting faster and more confident. The rest is history. He still travels with me if the weather allows it, but I have to make sure that he either gets some long walks during the day or play time to burn off his energy. Although, Crackers does have a great off switch and most days he can be found napping under a blanket.

In the real world I do Dairy Nutrition and Technical Support for Purina Animal Nutrition (a division of Land O’Lakes Inc.) covering Minnesota, Northern Iowa and Eastern North and South Dakota.

Roger O’Sullivan & Keebler | 300 Team


Liza Buckner & Jefe | 300 Team

Liza Buckner got into agility in 2000 with her first aussie, Annabelle. Since then she has trained and competed with two more aussies, Taiko, and his son Monty. They are all great dogs and have taken her to the podium at Cynosport and at ASCA Nationals where Taiko won Finals in 2008. In 2014, she decided to take on a project in the form of a little puppy rescued by Anne Kajava. The litter had been trapped under a house without their mom for several days when Anne extricated them at 4 plus weeks old. Anne posted the litter on Facebook and Liza decided that she needed to learn to run a little dog since she was now earning the bulk of her living by teaching agility. She hadn’t even been thinking of taking on another dog, but something in her head said loudly, “you should do this”. She brought him home at 8 weeks old and wondered what to do with this tiny thing who ironically enough was born on the 4th of July.
Almost immediately upon meeting him, she decided his name was Jefe, as in El Jefe, or Boss. She recognized a confidence that she hadn’t expected to see in such a small dog! Since then, Jefe has traveled twice to Florida to work with Jenny Damm, to Canada for OneMindDogs camp, to Finland for training week with OMD coaches and now to Arizona for his first Cynosport as well as Georgia for the US Open. Wherever he goes he accumulates fans, both dog and human. Traveling to the Netherlands for the WAO will be his biggest adventure yet by far, but give him time, since he’s not yet two and a half years old!

Dee Anna Gamel & Kiz | 300 Team Alternate


Linda Womer & Frenzi | 300 Team Alternate