Riding Finishes 2nd at Zone 1 Championships; Secures Spot at Nationals

Riding Finishes 2nd at Zone 1 Championships; Secures Spot at Nationals

SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. – The Mount Holyoke College Equestrian team earned Reserve Champion honors on Saturday, finishing second overall at the Zone 1 Championships held at the MHC Equestrian Center. The Lyons finished just four points behind champion, Dartmouth College. Both schools secured their spots for the upcoming IHSA National Championships in May.

Overall four colleges, one from each of the four regions in Zone 1, competed for the chance to advance as a team to Nationals. The top two teams, the Big Green and the Lyons, earned the right to go on. Additionally, 12 individual riders competed for Mount Holyoke, as the top two individuals in each class during today's event advance to Nationals as well.

Senior Felicia Harrsch began the day with a beautiful round in Individual Open Fences and followed with an outstanding test to claim first place and a berth at Nationals.  Senior Lexie Lohrer followed in Team Open Fences with a great round, followed by a test of the same course to finish second, giving the Lyons key team points early on.

Seniors Nell Maynard and Flynn Vickowski rode next in Individual Intermediate Fences.  Maynard was called back to test and executed it beautifully, receiving first place and a trip to Nationals. Vickowski rode well to a sixth place finish.  Team Intermediate Fences came next with junior Jess Murray putting in a great round to finish in third place.

Individual Novice Fences followed, where junior Anne Waldo rode to a third place finish, just missing out on a trip to Nationals.  Sophomore Genevieve Couldwell then placed third in Team Novice Fences.

After a brief schooling break the flat classes began, using the style of sudden death to determine the placings.  One by one the judge called the riders into the middle of the ring until only the top two remained.  Junior Abby Raucher rode first in Individual Intermediate Flat, placing fifth. 

Team Intermediate Flat followed where junior Heather Zadra placed first.  Next came Individual Novice Flat, where junior Maddi Shortt claimed first place and a trip to Nationals, while Couldwell received third.  Murray then rode in Team Novice Flat, placing second.

Sophomore Suyin Taunton then rode to a fourth place finish in Individual Walk-Trot-Canter, while fellow sophomore Jackie Azelby placed first in Team Walk-Trot-Canter.  In Individual Walk-Trot, junior Katie Knutson placed second, qualifying her for Nationals, while junior Callie Calder was just behind in third.  First-year Flora Fei then followed with a beautiful ride in Team Walk-Trot to claim third place.

The Open Flat division completed the day, where the judge put the riders to work demonstrating shoulder-ins, lengthenings, counter-canters, and several other tests.  In Team Open Flat, first-year Bridget Finnerty executed all of the tests well to place second.  Finnerty then rode in Individual Open Flat, placing third, while Lohrer received fourth.

The college standings for the day are:

Zone 1 Champion - Dartmouth College, 45 points

Zone 1 Reserve Champion - Mount Holyoke College, 41 points

3rd Place - Tufts University, 37 points

4th Place - University of Rhode Island, 26 points


The following Mount Holyoke riders qualified for Nationals as individuals:

Felicia Harrsch - Open Fences

Nell Maynard - Intermediate Fences

Maddi Shortt - Novice Flat

Katie Knutson - Walk-Trot

Nationals will take place on May 1-4 at the Harrisburg Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, Pa.

Story courtesy of Anne Waldo, MHC Equestrian team member. Interior photo courtesy of MHC Equestrian Team. Cover photo of Maynard courtesy of RJB Sports Photography.