Riding Wins Home Show; Finnerty Earns High Point Rider Honors

Bridget Finnerty '17
Bridget Finnerty '17

SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. – It was another outstanding Saturday of action for the Mount Holyoke College riding team, who hosted their first home show of 2016, claiming victory by an 11 point margin in the nine-team field.

Junior captain Bridget Finnerty got the day off to a great start with a win in open fences, while first year Grace Tice and sophomore Mollie Kowalchik took third and sixth, respectively.

Intermediate fences followed with a sweep of the top spots in the first section as junior Cam Carter took blue and first year Rachael Fulop took second in her IHSA debut. The second section saw senior Suyin Taunton place fifth. The third section also had a sweep with senior Genevieve Couldwell taking top honors and sophomore Allee Platanitis coming in second.

Next, the action shifted to the large novice fences division.  Seniors Jackie Azelby and Callie Schultz (in her novice debut) placed first and sixth, respectively. In the second section, junior Sarah Felman and sophomore Mika McKinney took first and third.  First year Lily DeBenedictis was fifth in her section for her IHSA debut.  In the final class of novice fences, sophomore Emily Holowczak and first year Avery Hanlon went 1-2.

In advanced walk-trot-canter sophomore Morgan Brachfeld was third in the first section and first year Jordan Green and junior Liana Ghiron both won their sections.

The first section of open flat saw Tice and sophomore Maddy Skrak take second and fourth, respectively.  The second section was almost a clean sweep with Finnerty winning the class, and first year Julia Robinson and Carter following closely with third and fourth.

Novice flat had a great start for the Lyons as Schultz and Taunton won their classes.

In intermediate flat, Couldwell placed second, securing her intermediate high point title, while Felman was reserve in the same section.  Holowczak won the second section and first year Daisy Sears came in sixth.

The second half of the novice fences classes came next and sophomore Haley Lamoureux and DeBenedictis placed second and third, respectively.  In the fourth section, Fulop and Hanlon were fourth and sixth, while Azelby ended the division on a high point with a win in her class.

Sophomore Regina Ye made her walk-trot debut and finished fifth, while senior Stephanie Lewis and sophomore Wendy Ho placed second and third, respectively, in their walk-trot class.  First year Nina Luo also made her horse show debut and won her class.

Wrapping up the day was first year Tess Ahlers in beginner walk-trot-canter, who earned reserve.

In the end, MHC riders took home 16 blue ribbons from a total of 26 classes.  Finnerty, Holowczak, and Azelby each won two blues which qualified them for a ride-off for overall high point.  Finnerty claimed the high point title and Amherst rider Kira Skaggs took reserve.  Azelby's blues made her novice high point rider.

With 41 points, MHC was high point college.  The team scores are as follows:

MHC - 41
UMass - 30
Amherst - 27
Williams - 24
Smith - 17
Westfield State - 16
Springfield - 12
Hampshire - 11
Bennington - 3

Action for the Lyons will continue on March 26 when the squad travels to UMass.

Show recap courtesy of Laura Von der Porten '16, MHC Riding. Photo of Finnerty courtesy of RJB Sports Photography.