SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. - In a hard-fought battle that saw the top-three teams separated by just two points, the Mount Holyoke College riding team prevailed with a victory at the 2018 Zone 1 Championships, hosted at the MHC Equestrian Center. The Lyons, who posted 37 points, were followed by Boston University with 36 points and Dartmouth College with 35 points.
With a berth to Nationals on the line, the Lyons as the champions, along with the Terriers as the reserve champions will now advance to Harrisburg, Pa., to compete in the 2018 IHSA National Championships. This year's event will begin on May 3 and run through May 6 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex.
Saturday's event opened with the Zone 1 High Point Rider competition, the winner of which would represent Zone 1 in the Cacchione Cup at Nationals. Mount Holyoke senior captain Mollie Kowalchik prevailed with outstanding fences, flat and testing efforts to win top honors. She went on to place fifth in Collegiate Cup Open Fences, Individual Open Fences and Individual Open Flat.
Sophomore Franny Eremeeva was also outstanding, posting a lovely ride in Individual Open Fences, before stepping up in the flat phase. Her ride in Collegiate Cup Open Flat was fourth overall, but also helped clinch the title. She went on to earn fourth overall in Individual Open Flat.
So many outstanding performances shined through for the Lyons in the win, including senior Sabrina Fox, who was second overall in Collegiate Cup Novice Fences, as well as runner-up in Collegiate Cup Intermediate Flat. Sophomore Honami Tanaka secured the blue ribbon in Collegiate Cup Walk-Trot, while first year Sara Hearn grabbed blue with a win in Collegiate Cup Intermediate Fences, followed by runner-up in Collegiate Cup Novice Flat. Sophomore Sarah Etzel took fourth in Collegiate Cup Walk-Trot-Canter.
The individual efforts for the Lyons were as equally outstanding on Saturday. Junior Rachael Fulop took eighth in Indivdual Intermediate Fences, while senior Haley Lamoureux was also eighth in Individual Novice Fences. Sophomore Harriet Thomson excelled in Individual Novice Fences as well, taking fourth, while senior Emily Holowczak shined blue with a victory in Individual Intermediate Flat to earn herself a trip to Nationals.
Sophomore Sesil Lee posted fifth in Individual Walk-Trot, while classmate Indra Rapinchuk-Souccar was ninth in Individual Novice Flat. Senior Taryn Isenburg, who also serves as the Lyons outstanding team manager, was eighth in Individual Intermediate Flat, while Fox also earned sixth in Individual Novice Flat. Senior Morgan Brachfeld was 10th overall in Individual Walk-Trot-Canter.
Mount Holyoke is now idle until May 3rd when it competes at the IHSA National Championships in Harrisburg, Pa. The Lyons will send a full team for Collegiate Cup competition, an individual rider, along with the Zone 1 Cacchione Cup Rider in Kowalchik.