St. Lawrence University coach Mary Drueding and her defending national champion Saints shared the 2013 Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) hunter seat high point team Collegiate Cup with last year's reserve champions, coach Cindy Ford and her Skidmore College Thoroughbreds. It was only the third tie in the competition’s 40 year history.
Ford and Skidmore turned up the heat in the homestretch on the first Saturday in May and brought the race for high point team at the IHSA Nationals, at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, PA, to a dead heat.
St. Lawrence riders began blooming with the start of Collegiate team finals on Thursday, May 2, in front of special guest and 1986 creator of the Collegiate saddle, Weatherbeeta executive vice president, Jack Levy.
Saints rider Katherine Figueroa posted a win in Novice Hunter Seat Equitation, with Skidmore's Jessica Stoukides in reserve; and Alyssa Bokor won Intermediate Hunter Seat Equitation, again with Skidmore (Emory Wonham) second.
Friday team classes belonged to Stanford University and coach Vanessa Bartsch. Eliza Richartz won Walk/Trot and Victoria Greenen won Walk/Trot/Canter, contributing to the 20 points overall that would earn the West Coast team singular ownership of the 2013 Collegiate Cup reserve title.
Saturday, Skidmore's Flavia D'Urso won Open Equitation Over Fences, delivering the seven points needed to bring Skidmore neck-and-neck with St. Lawrence.
“To have our riders come all this way and leave as reserve national champions is incredibly gratifying,” said coach Bartsch. “We had a young team of first-year riders and sophomores, except for senior, Alison Smith.”
Reich Wins USEF/Cacchione Cup
Centenary College's Cori Reich, who qualified for the USEF/Cacchione Cup last year but did not finish in the ribbons, spent senior year redoubling her efforts under coaches Michael Dowling and Heather Clark, and drawing upon her experience growing up on the family's Rolling Coach Stables in Ivyland, PA, building her seat on horses whose sale prices reflected their problems.
Reich earned 84.25 points on Kerry Kocher's over fences course, drawing "experienced equitation horse" Parker, and scoring 90 on the flat with "fantastic draw," King, for a final 174.25 points. The reserve champion, with 169, was Skidmore Collegiate Cup game-changer, Flavia D'Urso.
"I was less worried about the draw than hearing there would be ten jumps in the ride-off." Reich, who is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Equine Studies with a concentration in training and teaching, said. "I came as an individual rider for the Cacchione Cup. After last year, I was determined to be better prepared. I was too aggressive last time so we 'smoothed out' my riding."
D'Urso said "I've been with coach Ford for a long time, so I felt consistent and prepared.” The Skidmore senior, from Chester, NJ, plans take her degree in psychology and art to New York City to "see what happens."
Reich also accepted the EquestrianCoach.com Achievement of Excellence Award for hunter seat riders. “She was a clear winner,” said founder, Bernie Traurig. “She epitomized style, effective riding, and the potential for excellence in equestrian sport.”
The top three USEF/Cacchione finalists, Reich, D'Urso, and Blake Roberts (Virginia Intermont College), received inaugural Anne and Mario Cacchione Memorial Scholarships.
SmartPak Hunter Seat Horse of the Show was Centenary College's King, a bay, 21 year-old Dutch Warmblood that has been with its riding program for seven years.
The Jockey Club Incentive Program, encouraging retraining/rehoming OTTBs, recognized Skidmore College hunter seat draw, Noah as outstanding Thoroughbred of the show. Reserve was St. Lawrence's Louie.
West Texas A&M Champions
West Texas A&M University won the 2013 AQHA Trophy High Point Western Team Championship.
The team title came down to the final team class: Open Western Horsemanship. While the championship went to Austin Griffith for Ohio State, WTAMU’s Julia Roberts finished in reserve to clinch an historic second AQHA Trophy for the Lady Buffs, exactly a decade after their last IHSA Western team title.
Also meeting their academic best, WTAMU's Mary Trimble was named recipient of the 2013 Joan Johnson Memorial Scholarship.
Austin Griffith of Ohio State University was the 2013 AQHA High Point Western Rider for the second consecutive year. He is coached by his mom and dad, Debbie and Ollie Griffith who have coached OSU since the inception of its western team more than 25 years ago.
Griffith's win in team Open Horsemanship helped OSU finish its season tied third nationally with University of Findlay. He also slid into the individual Open Reining title and reserve in team reining, received the 2013 Jack Fritz Memorial Scholarship and accepted an EquestrianCoach.com Achievement of Excellence Award that included a Pard's gift certificate and internship with NRHA legend, Tim McQuay.
Giving Griffith title race jitters was University of Findlay first-year rider, Ashley Winters. The Western Equine Studies and Environmental Safety major earned 78 points in Phase 1 and 91 in Phase Two to clinch the AQHA Trophy Reserve Championship with 169 points. Griffith, scoring 120 in Phase 1 and repeating that score in Phase 2, had 240 overall.
Kelsey Delaplaine, of West Virginia University, earned the IHSA Versatility Award, qualifying in both disciplines for AQHA Open Western Rider, Open Equitation on the Flat, and USEF/Cacchione Cup.
WVU also had the SmartPak Western Horse of the Show, 1987 American Quarter Horse gelding, Joker By Story. He won team novice (with Emily Kopko of Middle Tennessee State University), and team advanced (with Kayla Wells of WTAMU).
Dartmouth College made its mark in academic and lifetime achievement. The IHSA Senior Athletic Academic Achievement Award Essay Winner was Natalie Colaneri.
The 21st IHSA Lifetime Achievement Award went to Sally Batton, who is in her 23rd season as director of riding and head coach of the Dartmouth College equestrian team, coming to the school in 1990 after two years coaching at Centenary. She is also an IHSA National Steward since 2001, and 2008 American Riding Instructors Association 'Instructor of the Year.'
With personal congratulations on Saturday by Harrisburg's Mayor Linda J. Thompson, the Overall IHSA Community Service Award (and 31+ members division award) went to Pennsylvania State University.
“As part of the Penn State Dance Marathon (THON), the Penn State team raised $35,000 in 2012-2013 for pediatric cancer through fundraising,” said equestrian team coach Malinda Grice.
IHSA Community Service (1-15 members division) Award winner was Gettysburg College, whose team volunteers at The Hoffman Home for Youth, a residential psychiatric treatment center in Littlestown, PA, and played an integral role in launching its new therapeutic riding program.
Recognized for service in the 16-30 members division was the Hofstra University team who after Hurricane Sandy, helped devastated families in Long Beach, Island Park and Breezy Point by gutting homes and helping retrieve personal items.
Two of three IHSA Nationals Sportsmanship Awards went to Lafayette College equestrians. The Coach's Sportsmanship Award went to Lafayette coach Erin Githens, for her additional contributions as a volunteer coordinator.
The Rider's Sportsmanship Award went to Lafayette AQHA High Point Western rider, Rebecca Folk, who helped with 'mock horse show' draws and was on the SmartPak Award Presentations Team, fitting her own riding in between obligations. Amy Gregoris received the Volunteer's Sportsmanship Award for her role as stable coordinator.
Also paying tribute to the 40th edition of America's oldest and largest intercollegiate equestrian national championships were Executive Deputy Secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Michael L. Pechart, and Deputy Secretary for Animal Agriculture, Mathew Meals, while IHSA founder and executive director, Robert Cacchione, announced that a renewal contract had been signed to return to Harrisburg in May 2014.
For complete individual and team results go to www.IHSAinc.com.