Riding Wins Sixth-Straight High Point Title at Fall Home Finale

The Lyons riding team poses following their Home Show victory on November 17, 2018.

SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. – The Mount Holyoke College riding team made it six in a row on Saturday, securing High Point College honors once again at their final show of the regular fall season at the Mount Holyoke Equestrian Center. The Lyons posted 40 points on the day, holding off UMass-Amherst for the win, while finishing the fall season leading the region with 236 points.

The day started with a large class of Open Fences riders. Senior Emma Recchi, sophomore Sara Hearn, and senior Rachael Fulop each made stunning trips to finish fourth, fifth, and sixth, respectively, in a competitive class.

Two sections of Intermediate Fences entered the ring next. In the first section, junior Indra Rapinchuk-Souccar and senior Daisy Sears had strong rides for first and fourth, respectively. In the second section, senior Lily DeBenedictis made a lovely round for third.

Next in the ring was Novice Fences, split into four sections. In the first section, first years Sierra Dunn and Isabelle Dow rode beautifully to finish third and sixth, respectively. In the second section, senior Jordan Green and junior Abby Watkins had great rides for sixth and reserve.

Sophomore Libby Sams and junior Katerina Alvarez finished the next section with impressive rides, securing first and second places, while the division wrapped up with rides by first year Ana Earle and senior Tess Ahlers, who rode to first and fifth, respectively.

The final jumping class of the day was Alumni Fences, which saw MHC assistant coach and UConn graduate, Tara Mathews post a strong round to secure first place.

After schooling for flat classes, Mathews returned to the ring and earned the victory in Alumni Flat.

Action moved onto two sections of Open Flat. In the first section, Sears returned to the ring to deliver a stunning ride for third. In the second section, Recchi also had a great ride for third.

Next was the first half of a large Novice Flat division. The first section saw Watkins and Green return to the ring to deliver beautiful rides for second and third, respectively. In the second section, Alvarez finished her class with a strong ride, securing first place.

Three sections of Intermediate Flat broke up the novice division, resulting in a clean sweep of the entire division. The first section saw a wonderful ride from DeBenedictis for first. In the second section, Hearn rode beautifully for another blue, while Fulop also finished her class with a stunning ride, securing the third blue of the division.

The second split of Novice Flat followed as Sams and Ahlers returned to the ring, putting in strong rides to post first and third, respectively. In the last section of the division, Earle and Dow had lovely rides to finish second and sixth, respectively.

Three splits of Beginner Walk-Trot-Canter were next in the ring, first of which saw sophomore Carol Law win the class. In the third split, junior Honami Tanaka had a nice ride for third.

Walk-Trot riders were next to enter the ring. In the first of three sections, junior Angela Cheng had a lovely ride, finishing just out of the ribbons. The second section saw beautiful riding from sophomores Christine Xiao and Yixuan He to finish in first and fifth, respectively. In the third section, first year Crystal Yuan delivered a fantastic ride for a second-place finish. This marked Yuan's IHSA debut.

The day wrapped up with three sections of Advanced Walk-Trot-Canter, the first of which saw sophomore Grace Herrmann with a lovely ride for fourth. In the second section, junior Sesil Lee rode well to finish second. The final class of the day saw an additional strong ride from sophomore Lu Jefwa for a fifth-place finish.

At the end of the day, Sams was called back for High Point ride-off. After a series of testing, she was named Overall Reserve High Point Rider. She also secured the Reserve High Point Novice Rider title. Additionally, DeBenedictis was named High Point Intermediate Rider of the day.

Congratulations are in order for Sams for qualifying for regionals in Novice Flat. Additional congratulations to Law for qualifying out of Beginner into Advanced Walk-Trot-Canter.

Mount Holyoke finished the day with 40 points, securing the High Point College title. UMass Amherst followed with 38 points.

Overall Team Results:

Mount Holyoke - 40 points
UMass Amherst - 38 points
Hampshire College - 28 points
Smith College - 25 points
Westfield State College - 20 points
Springfield College - 19 points
Worcester State University - 17 points
Amherst College - 14 points
Williams College - 7 points
Bennington College - 3 points

At the end of the fall season, Mount Holyoke leads Region III with a total of 236 points. UMass Amherst follows in second with 190 points, followed by Smith College with 138 points, Worcester State University with 109 points, and Hampshire College with 100 points.

The Lyons will compete at Holiday Tournament of Champions at Westerville, Ohio on Saturday, December 2nd.

Show recap courtesy of Lyons rider, Honami Tanaka. Photos courtesy of MHC Riding.