SUMMARY: A little better
On Saturday morning, our team standing had gone up to 115 out of 201 after all three classes so far (Jumpers, Snooker, Standard) had been combined.
We did reasonably well in Gamblers. The opening gave fairly easy options for accruing points if you had reliable contacts and good weave entries, and the closing allowed you to collect as many jumps at 3 points each as you could. The trick was that, if you took *any* other obstacle during the closing, or if you didn't cross the finish line before your time was up, you lost all of your closing points.
Tika has a known issue with bar knocking, although she'd been doing well so far this weekend. And she didn't get most of her contacts the day before. Still, I had great confidence in her ability to make a good weave entry even from a greater than 90-degree angle, so I planned a course that had me running across her path as she descended the A-frame to try to force her to get her feet into the contact zone.
That strategy worked well, and she got her back-to-back 7-point weave poles perfectly. I don't think that we could have managed any more opening points; we had 34 and the highest-scoring big dog had 41 in the opening, but that was Tala (Boost's mom), and Tika just cannot cover the ground or the weave poles flat out like Tala can. We also managed 5 jumps in the closing, which was pretty good; a very few dogs got 6 (including Tala) but I saw as many attempting 6 who didn't cross the finish in time and lost those points.
Overall, Tika placed 30th of 145 dogs or so, and teammate Brenn was right there at 32nd. Trane took a fairly conservative course, since his substitute handler wasn't as familiar with him, and also bobbled a tough teeter entry (again a result of unfamiliarity with the dog) so didn't score super-high, but didn't crap out, either.
I wasn't able to see our final standings--too much of a crowd around the single book in which they placed team standings for all 200 championship plus 100 performance teams (total of about 800 people trying to look in the same book)--but I'm hoping that that at least pushed us into the top 50%. Not as nice as being in the top 30 in th finals like last year, but oh well! Better than Tika's teams the first 2 years in Scottsdale!