NEW ATHENS, Ill. — This Independence Day two Metro East teens, and their four-legged friends, are preparing to head to Finland to represent their country at the Junior Open Agility World Championships.
If you take one look at Piper Grace you can tell there’s something special.
“She’s considered an miniature Australian Shepherd mix,” said handler Allyssa Daube. “In AKC that’s registered as an All-American dog.”
For the last three years Piper Grace and her handler, Daube, have run agility courses across the country.
“I started placing first against 30 other dogs at local competitions and I was like ‘wow, she’s really good,’” said Daube.
However, the Edwardsville teen didn’t realize just how good her dog was until she got an invitation to join Team USA at the Junior Open Agility World Championships.
“It means a lot,” said Daube. “I’m not only representing the state of Illinois but the USA as a whole. You’re going over to Europe to travel to Finland and you’re competing against all of these other Juniors who are your age or younger and you’re competing against their country too.”
Daube will also be competing alongside a familiar face, Deltin Cinotto and his dog Rascal, from New Baden, IL.
“It’s great to have that support system because it’s not only your friend but it’s your family, your teammates, your coaches cheering you on,” said Daube.
“It means a lot,” said Deltin Cinotto. “Being on this team means a lot.”
Over the years Deltin and Rascal have developed a championship bond that’s led to hundreds of wins on the course.
“We read each other’s minds sometimes,” said Cinotto. “It’s kind of amazing that we do that.”
As the pair finishes their final preps before competing for their country.
“We’re getting to the point that we’ve got it,” said Cinotto.
These teens say they only have one goal in mind.
“To place first would be great,” said Daube.
“It’s amazing,” said Cinotto. “It’s a dream of mine!”
“It would be so much fun to have a world championship under my belt,” said Daube.
The 2022 Junior Open Agility World Championship will be held July 14 through July 17 in Vantaa, Finland.