The Humans of K9K

Briana Baldino

Briana got started in flyball at the end of 2015 because a random guy at the park mentioned her cattle dog mix, Merlin, looked like he would be a good flyball dog: “I looked into the local team—Friday nights and the cost worked with my grad school budget.” Merlin made his debut at a K9K tournament in 2017 and shortly after Briana added Muse, a sport mix, to her family. 

Her favorite thing about flyball is how happy it makes “the ferals” and seeing their passion as they give it everything they’ve got: “Nothing beats the happy, slimy smiles walking out of the lanes.”

Outside of flyball, she and her dogs compete in agility and have been dabbling in disc toss and fetch with a local league. Briana works as a physical therapist. 

Mathias & Amy Bergmann

Mathias and Amy discovered flyball after seeing a tournament in Ashland (not knowing at the time that it was a K9K tournament!). In 2017, they reached out to the team and then began training their dog Maddy for flyball. They are still learning the ropes but are excited about the sport and team. What they most like about flyball is seeing the spoiled pups and all the swag (color-coordinated harnesses, wraps, tugs, etc.).

In summer 2019, Mathias & Amy started Maddy in dock diving, another fun dog sport. They also enjoy Richmond neighborhood hikes and James River walks with Maddy and her three sisters. To pay for Maddy’s sporting adventures, Mathias and Amy work in higher education.

Mary-Ellen Burnette

Mary started playing flyball in 2012 after being introduced to it in college. She is owned by Rally (a rescued border collie), Seeya (a border-staffy-jack mix), and Petzl (an Australian cattle dog). Her favorite aspects of flyball include: “Snacks. Wine. Tent camping with my teammates. Watching fellow flyball dog/human teams grow.”

In addition to flyball, Mary and her dogs participate in disc and dabble in agility and dock diving. Mary is an ISA certified arborist in Richmond. In her spare time, she loves to explore the vineyard behind her house. She also enjoys cooking, reading books, and competitive tree-climbing.

Jess Deutsch

Jess started playing flyball in 2007 when she was 6 years old. She started training her rescue dog Kit when she was a puppy. They learned the game together. She loved talking to people about their dogs. She fell in love with border collies, so when it was time to get a 2nd flyball dog there was no doubt it was going to be a border collie. She got Blast in July of 2013. Jess and Blast have a remarkable bond and without a doubt Blast is her heart dog. Blast and Jess have played flyball in 14 states and in Canada! Blast and Jess also compete in frisbee events.

Brenna Dunn

Brenna has been playing flyball since she was eleven. After graduating from the Mathematics and Science High School at Clover Hill in 2019, she is devoting a gap year to working in Yellowstone National Park before going off to college in Montana. Brenna had trained her black lab, Wilson, to play flyball but he decided flyball was not for him. As a result, Brenna became the go-to designated runner for teammates outnumbered by their dogs. Until she left for Yellowstone in June 2019, Brenna was often the handler for Flare Brown and the “ghost whisperer” for Radar at tournaments. The thing that Brenna likes most about flyball is spending time with the dogs and her teammates. In addition to flyball, Brenna enjoys agility, hiking, and road trips with Wilson.

Amy Hendrickson

Amy joined the flyball world in 2011 when her dog, Jack, was having problems with weave poles and needed a change. Amy loves how flyball is something that brings joy: “It's about the teamwork with the dog and the challenge of just playing and getting them to do their best. I loved playing with Jack because he just had the most joy with his two favorite things, balls and tugs.”

Since Jack is retired in both agility and flyball, they are now concentrating on nosework. In 2014, Amy started running Bunny, a.k.a. Kung Fu Panda, who is a great flyball dog. Bunny has also taken a couple of private lessons in agility and may also try nosework.

Amy’s non-dog hobbies include home remodeling, gardening, chicken watching, and reptile husbandry. To support her dog habit she works in radiology at a local hospital in Richmond, VA.

Bill Pownall

Bill has been casually participating in flyball since 2008, and began competing more seriously after getting his own dog, Shine, in 2009. Bill’s favorite thing about flyball is the camaraderie, both with his own teammates and with members of other teams in and out of our region: “You go into a tournament thinking you know what to expect but there always seems to be a hiccup along the way. When that happens there is always someone, or several someone's, to help. Everything seems to somehow work out in the end and you learn. In the evenings, there is plenty of time to socialize with teammates and members of other teams.”

Bill works as a consulting forester with Forest Resources Management, which allows Shine to tag along many days and run through the woods all day while Bill is working. Outside of flyball, he enjoys spending time with his family and following the NC State Wolfpack.

Mark Pownall

Coming soon…

Teresa Pownall

Teresa started playing flyball about 12 years ago with her spirited, no-regrets, fun-loving lab Abby, who debuted as a 6-year old. While training in obedience, a classmate who was a member of K9K suggested they give flyball a try, and they were hooked right away. Abby played for about 6 years and was the perfect “first” flyball dog. Teresa currently runs her rat terrier, Radar, and is training her youngest pup Fizz.

Teresa’s favorite thing about flyball is the supportive flyball community: “In Region 9, people look for ways to support each other. It seems there is always someone nearby to lend a hand, just when you need it. And after a day of racing, there’s nothing better than hanging with flyball friends from around the region.”

Outside of flyball, Teresa enjoys running and hiking with her dogs, backyard agility, and any activity that keeps them all active and in shape!  When not doing “dog stuff,” Teresa works in the human resources field and enjoys spending time with family and friends.

Linda (& Jim) Samuel

Linda started playing flyball in 2010. She was looking for something fun to do with her pup Juno and saw flyball on a local website. For Linda, meeting and seeing all of the dogs and learning about dogs is one of the best aspects of flyball—and, of course, hanging out with team members and other flyball teams.

Flyball is great but no sport, dog or human, tops baseball in Linda’s heart. Runner-up activities include boating with her husband Jim, watching more baseball, cooking, reading, walking, and cycling.

Tracy Sklenar

Coming soon…


K9K Founders and Friends


Michele Banalett

Coming soon…

Sue & Ken Breeden


Trisha Ferris

Trish is the owner of Studio1, a graphic art studio. She started flyball in 2011 with her Aussie, Bella, as a way to keep her hyper pup exercised through the winter months. With no intention to join a team, she was eventually sucked into the sport. In 2013, Trish acquired Tucker, a miniature Aussie. Trish enjoys drawing, piddling around on her many stringed instruments, running, hiking, camping, swimming, biking, kayaking, playing frisbee with her pups, and hanging out with friends and family.

John Nelson