SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (Apr. 7, 2012) – The Mount Holyoke College riding team punched its ticket to the IHSA National Championships with a dominant performance at the Zone 1 Championships today. This year's Nationals are slated to take place in Raleigh, N.C. from May 3-6 at the Hunt Horse Complex. The Lyons will be making their fourth straight appearance and their 21st under the direction of longtime head coach C.J. Law.
This season's Zone Championships were once again held at the Equestrian Center. 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 Stonehill College (Region 4) - riders representing colleges from around New England were vying for individual championships in their respective divisions.
Mount Holyoke piled up 47 points to secure the team title. The Lyons ended the day eight points in front of Brown, which will also take part in the National Championships as a result of its performance. New Hampshire (36) and Stonehill (27) rounded out the field.
Junior So Jin Lee (walk-trot), sophomore Eleanor Maynard (intermediate fences), first year Abby Raucher (intermediate fences), first year Madeline Shortt (novice flat) and first year Samantha Stone (walk-trot-canter) each produced first place results to set the tone for Mount Holyoke. The Lyons also received solid efforts from sophomore Alexa Lohrer (open flat | open fences) and first year Jessica Murray (novice fences), who chipped in with third place ribbons.
As a result of their performances in the individual portion of the Zone Championships, junior Paulina Erni and senior Rebecca Hicks each qualified for the National Championships. Erni collected top honors in the walk-trot division, while Hicks took home the title in the novice flat division.
Margaret Swanson will also be heading to North Carolina. 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 fourth straight season that a Mount Holyoke rider earned the Cacchione Cup for Region 3. In 2010, Lindsay Sceats took home the crown before winning the national Cacchione Cup. With her performance today, Swanson was crowned High Point Rider for Zone 1.