SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. – It was a dominant day for the Mount Holyoke College riding team, which took home the blue ribbon in 19 of 23 classes despite the chilly temperatures, in the final regional show of the fall on Saturday at the MHC Equestrian Center. With their win, the Lyons head into the spring with a 38-point lead over the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Mount Holyoke began the day with a clean sweep of Open Fences -no other team was able to place higher than Mount Holyoke in the division. Blue ribbons went to first-year Mollie Kowalchik and seniors Hannah Thornton and Abby Raucher. Coming in second were sophomore Bridget Finnerty and seniors Heather Zadra and Maura Zaldonis, while senior Claire Herlin received third place.
Intermediate Fences followed with some difficult draws, where first-year Maddy Skrak won her section, senior Erinn Lew placed fifth, and junior Genevieve Couldwell was Reserve. The Lyons continued their dominance in Novice Fences with junior Suyin Taunton and senior Sam Stone claiming the blue ribbons, first-year Shannon O'Connor and senior Kathleen Kelly placing second, first-year Emily Holowczak and senior Laura Von der Porten third, first-year Taryn Isenburg and sophomore Romy Faucher-Mayhew fifth, and senior Emily Bessette riding very well until she and her mount parted ways at the last fence. MHC's IEA coach Tara Mathews then rode in Alumni Fences for UConn where she took home the blue ribbon.
The Lyons dominated on the flat, winning all but two classes and in those two taking second place. Mathews started it off with a win in Alumni Flat for UConn. Raucher and Finnerty then won their sections of Open Flat, with Thornton coming in second, Zadra and Skrak third, Zaldonis fifth, and Herlin sixth.
Walk-Trot came next with first-year Illianna Termuehlen taking home the blue ribbon, junior Stephanie Lewis second, and junior Alexis Holliday third. The Lyons swept Intermediate Flat with blue ribbons going to Kowalchik and senior Jess Murray, while senior Maddi Shortt placed fifth. Continuing the strong showings, Stone, Lew, sophomore Allee Platanitis, and first-year Mika McKinney each won their section of Novice Flat. Von der Porten, Holowczak, and first-year Laura Bartlett all placed second, and O'Connor received fifth place.
Finally, in some large Walk-Trot-Canter classes, junior Jackie Azelby won the Advanced section while senior Maneh Kotikian placed fifth, and in the Beginner section senior Callie Calder won, junior Callie Schultz came in second, senior Katie Knutson in third, and junior Jordan Lassonde in Reserve with a tough draw.
Three Mount Holyoke riders won both of their classes, requiring a ride-off to determine High Point Rider. The three riders, Abby Raucher, Mollie Kowalchik, and Sam Stone, were all evenly matched until the judge asked them to drop their stirrups, where Raucher came out on top while Kowalchik was named Reserve High Point Rider. Stone was the Novice High Point Rider. To determine Novice Reserve High Point Rider, Von der Porten and Holowczak, along with a Smith rider, competed in a quiz bowl with Von der Porten besting the others to claim the honors.
Mount Holyoke alum Emily Murch '14 competed from afar in Western Alumni Horsemanship at a double header at Berry College, winning both of her classes. This unofficially qualifies her for Semi-Finals, as there are not many shows in her region and she will likely be able to lower the qualifying cutoff.
Several riders qualified for Regionals today, which will be held at Biscuit Hill Farm on March 28:
Jackie Azelby - Walk-Trot-Canter
Erinn Lew - Intermediate Fences
In addition, Callie Schultz pointed into the advanced section of Walk-Trot-Canter today with her ride.
Team results for the day:
High Point College - Mount Holyoke College, 45 points
Reserve High Point College - University of Massachusetts Amherst, 27 points
3rd Place - Westfield State University, 21 points
4th Place - Smith College, 19 points
5th Place - Williams College, 16 points
6th Place - Springfield College, 14 points
7th Place - Amherst College, 13 points
As the MHC Equestrian Team heads into the spring semester, the following riders are currently qualified for Regionals:
Walk-Trot-Canter: Jackie Azelby, Emily Bessette, and Kathleen Kelly
Novice Flat - Jess Murray
Novice Fences - Genevieve Couldwell
Intermediate Flat - Heather Zadra
Intermediate Fences - Claire Herlin, Erinn Lew, and Abby Raucher
Regional college standings:
1st Place - Mount Holyoke College, 203 points
2nd Place - University of Massachusetts Amherst, 165 points
3rd Place - Smith College, 140 points
4th Place - Westfield State University, 136 points
5th Place - Springfield College, 90 points
6th Place - Williams College, 89 points
7th Place - Amherst College, 69 points
Cacchione Cup standings:
1st Place - Emily Orchant, Williams College, 46 points
2nd Place - Paige Hendrickson, Westfield State University, 45 points
3rd Place - Bridget Finnerty, Mount Holyoke College, 42 points
4th Place - Stephanie Weiss, UMass, 40 points
5th Place - Cassandra Vosburgh, Springfield College, 36 points
6th Place - Maura Zaldonis, Mount Holyoke College, 30 points
7th Place - Heather Zadra, Mount Holyoke College, 28 points
8th Place - Abby Raucher, Mount Holyoke College, 27 points
Story courtesy of Anne Waldo, MHC Riding Team member. Photo of Sam Stone, Abby Raucher, Laura Von Der Porten and Mollie Kowalchik courtesy of CJ Law, MHC head Riding coach.