SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (Apr. 9, 2011) – For the 20th time in program history, the Mount Holyoke College riding team has advanced to the IHSA National Championships. The Lyons punched their ticket with a thrilling victory at the Zone 1 Championships today. They will now travel to Lexington, Kentucky to compete in the National Championships from May 5-8 at Kentucky Horse Park.
The Mount Holyoke Equestrian Center served as the venue for this season's Zone Championships. In addition to the team competition between the four regional champions - Brown University (Region 1), the University of New Hampshire (Region 2), Mount Holyoke (Region 3) and Tufts University (Region 4) - riders representing colleges from around New England were vying for individual championships in their respective divisions.
Mount Holyoke piled up 44 points to secure the team title. The Lyons ended the day just one point in front of New Hampshire, which will also take part in the National Championships as a result of its second place finish. Brown (37) and Tufts (28) rounded out the field.
Leading the way for Mount Holyoke were first year Bobbie Bigelow (intermediate flat), sophomore Paulina Erni (walk-trot), junior Jordan McMullen (novice flat) and senior Lindsay Sceats (Open Fences), who each produced first place results in their respective divisions. Sophomore Sally Gibb (novice fences) chipped in with a second place ribbon.
As a result of their performances in the individual portion of the Zone Championships, four Mount Holyoke riders qualified for the National Championships. First year Alexa Lohrer grabbed top honors in the open flat division, and senior Belinda Wenke took home the title in the walk-trot division. Meanwhile, junior Margaret Swanson secured reserve championships in both the intermediate flat and intermediate fences divisions, and senior Amanda Ross finished second in the walk-trot-canter division.
JoJo Gutfarb will also be heading to Kentucky. The senior ended the year as High Point Rider for Region 3. By doing so, she guaranteed herself a spot in the National Championships. It was the third straight season that a Mount Holyoke rider earned the Cacchione Cup for Region 3. Last year, Sceats took home the crown before winning the national Cacchione Cup. The honor went to Cassie Herman '09 two seasons ago.
Photos by Doug Keller