The Mount Holyoke riding team, under the direction of 31st-year head coach C.J. Law, continued to showcase why it is among the best in the nation during the 2014-15 campaign. The Lyons, who won seven shows during the regular season, once again finished at the top of the Regional standings and claimed the Zone 1 Championship to secure a spot at the IHSA National Championships.
MHC opened its regular season with five straight wins in the fall. The Lyons garnered High Point honors at the Smith, UMass and Amherst shows, while also claiming victory at their own two home shows. Overall, the Lyons took home 62 blue ribbons over the five-show span.
The Lyons headed into the holiday break in style, finishing third overall at the 2014 Holiday Tournament of Champions. MHC wrapped-up the break with a fourth-place finish at the 2015 Winter Tournament of Champions and were later crowned the Series Reserve Champions.
MHC dove back into regular season competition with gusto despite a grueling winter which forced the postponement of the February show at UMass. The Lyons returned to regular season action at their own home show, winning by a dominant margin as senior Abby Raucher earned High Point Rider honors, while the team's 16 seniors were recognized.
The squad continued their winning ways at the rescheduled UMass show, but were edged by a single point at the final regular season show, co-hosted by UMass and Westfield State. Senior Sam Stone was the named the Reserve High Point Rider and Reserve Novice High Point Rider for her efforts.
Mount Holyoke College then saw 18 members in action at the Regional Championships. The Lyons battled it out for the coveted first and second place ribbons that would advance them to the Zone 1 Championships. Sophomore Bridget Finnerty was named the Reserve Cacchione Cup rider for Region 3, reserve high point open fences rider, and high point open flat rider at the event.
After a tough second-place finish at last year's Zones, MHC returned to its winning ways, posting a victory at the 2015 Zone 1 Championships. That win once again sent the Lyons back to the IHSA National Championships, hosted this year at the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield.
The close-to-home atmosphere was electric at the Big E as the Lyons put forth a number of outstanding performances at Nationals over the three-day event. Leading the way was senior Anne Waldo, who captured the National Championship title in the Individual Intermediate Equitation Over Fences. After the initial opening show in the class, Waldo was one of five riders called back to demonstrate further skill for the judges. Waldo was outstanding in the final call back, rising from fifth place to champion after a successful demonstration. She outpaced 15 other riders in her group to earn the title.
Overall, Mount Holyoke finished 10th at this year's National Championships, earning five ribbons from the current team members, while seeing two alums also garner ribbons.
Academically, the Lyons continued to shine as 17 riders took home IHSA National Academic Honors. Twelve of those honorees were named to the First Team, which requires a 3.80 grade point average or higher, while the other five were Second Team selections – a 3.50 GPA requirement.
• Finished 10th at the IHSA National Championships
• Anne Waldo '15 - National Champion in Individual Intermediate Equitation Over Fences
• Won the Zone I, Region III Championship
• Nine student-athletes competed at Nationals; 12 represented at Zones; 18 at Regionals
• Won seven shows during 2014-15 season
• 17 student-athletes earn IHSA National Academic Award – First Team: Allee Platanitis '17, Anna Rzchowski '18, Callie Calder '15, Claire Herlin '15, Flora Fei '17, Illianna Termuehlen '18, Morgan Brachfeld '18, Maddi Shortt '15, Maura Zaldonis '15, Mollie Kowalchik '18, Regina Brecha '17 and Taryn Isenburg '18; Second Team: Emily Bessette '15, Genevieve Couldwell '16, Wendy Ho '18, Callie Schultz '16 and Emily Holowczak '18.
• Five student-athletes earn IHSA Senior Athletic Academic Achievement Award – Emily Bessette '15, Callie Calder '15, Claire Herlin '15, Maddi Shortt '15 and Maura Zaldonis '15