SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. – The Lyon of the Week has been announced and Mount Holyoke College’s varsity riding team are the recipients of this week’s honor. MHC was one of two teams to qualify and advance to the 2016 IHSA National Championships in Lexington, Kentucky.
The Lyons hosted the Zone 1 Championships last Saturday at the MHC Equestrian Center. It was a tough battle as the top teams across the zone came to battle for the coveted spots at Nationals. Mount Holyoke saw a number of outstanding performances throughout the day, but the team was in a tight battle with Tufts University through the open fences action during the morning.
As the flat phases began, the Lyons quickly shined with sophomore Mollie Kowalchik (Loveland, Ohio/Loveland) scoring the blue ribbon in Collegiate Cup Intermediate Flat. The ribbons continued to roll in as sophomore Sabrina Fox (Westfield, Mass./Westfield) won in Collegiate Cup Walk-Trot-Canter, followed by a third team victory by sophomore Illianna Termuehlen (Wauwatosa, Wis./Brookfield East) in Collegiate Cup Walk-Trot.
These three victories proved to be a huge difference as the Lyons were tied with Tufts at the end. In the tiebreaker, MHC earned the second-place finish and a trip to Nationals behind the number of first place finishes, followed by the total number of second place finishes in team competition.
Mount Holyoke also saw phenomenal finishes in individual competition as well. Senior Genevieve Couldwell (Salt Lake City, Utah/Rowland Hall St. Marks) aced her sudden death round to take the win and the Individual Intermediate Flat title. She will represent the Lyons in individual competition at Nationals.
The Lyons also saw senior Callie Schultz (Ann Arbor, Mich./Rudolf Steiner) earn a trip to Nationals as an individual, after she had a beautiful to take reserve championship honors in Individual Walk-Trot-Canter.
It has been another outstanding year for the riding team, recording seven show victories during the regular season. The Lyons had two second place finishes, while finishing fifth or better in three shows during the Tournament of Champions Series. Additionally, MHC junior captain Bridget Finnerty (Baltimore, Md./Bryn Mawr School) clinched the Cacchione at the last regular season show at UMass and will compete at Nationals as the Zone 1, Region 3 High Point Rider.
Mount Holyoke’s team and individuals, along with this year’s champions from the University of Vermont, will represent Zone 1 at the IHSA National Championships from May 5 through 8 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky.