Riding Finishes Strong at Regionals; Earns High Point Championship

Photo of various riders following competition at the 2019 IHSA Zone 1 Region III Championships.

GREENFIELD, Mass. – It was another outstanding day as 15 individuals from the Mount Holyoke College riding team competed at the IHSA Zone I Region 3 Championship. The show was hosted at Stoneleigh-Burnham School by both Bennington and Smith.

After several rounds of schooling, the show started with Open over Fences. Senior Emma Recchi had a lovely round, and finished fourth after having additional testings.

Next in the ring was Intermediate over Fences, which saw strong rides from sophomore Sara Hearn and senior Daisy Sears. Sears was called back for additional testing. Following testing, Hearn was announced the winner of the class, and Sears finished third.

A large class of Novice over Fences followed the ring and saw junior Indra Rapinchuk-Souccar deliver a solid trip. She was called back for a testing over a shortened course, and finished fourth in a very competitive class.

Alumni Fences wrapped up the jumping portion of the day. MHC assistant coach and UConn grad, Tara Mathews had a lovely round to secure first place.

After schooling of the flat horses, high point colleges and riders were presented. Mount Holyoke secured the overall High Point College of the season with 371 points, followed by UMass Amherst with 310 points. Additionally, Recchi received the Cacchione award and the Overall High Point Flat Rider award, as well as the Overall high Point over Fences award, shared with 3 other riders.

After the awards presentation, Mathews kicked off the flat classes of the day with another stellar ride for second place in Alumni Flat. Recchi then returned to the ring for Open Flat, where she had an amazing ride to win her class.  Intermediate Flat was next in the ring as Sears returned to the ring to deliver a stunning ride for first place.

Walk-Trot-Canter followed with three splits, the first of which saw junior Abby Watkins and sophomore Nora Cyra ride beautifully in their class. In the second section, senior Tess Ahlers delivered a lovely ride. Juniors Sarah Etzel and Maya Brody entered the ring in the third split for additional strong rides. After the third section, Etzel and Cyra were called back to the ring for testings. After seeing beautiful rides from both of them, Eztel secured the blue ribbon, and Cyra finished fourth.

Two splits of Novice Flat entered the ring next, and the top 7 were called back for additional testing. In the first split, senior Rachael Fulop and sophomore Libby Sams had stellar rides. The second split saw additional strong rides from Hearn and junior Harriet Thomson. Sams, Thomson, and Hearn were called back to the ring. After multiple rounds of testings, Sams finished second, with Hearn in third and Thomson in sixth.

The final division of the day was Walk-Trot with two sections, the first of which saw lovely rides from junior Honami Tanaka and Jessica Feng, who graduated in December and came back for regionals from NYC. Tanaka and Feng were both called back for testing. In the second split, sophomore Yixuan He delivered another strong ride and was also called back for testing. After a few rounds of testing, Tanaka finished second, with He in third and Feng in fourth.

Special congratulations to the following riders who secured a spot to compete at Zones next Saturday:

Honami Tanaka - Walk-Trot
Sarah Etzel - Walk-Trot-Canter
Libby Sams - Novice Flat
Daisy Sears - Intermediate Flat
Sara Hearn - Intermediate Fences
Emma Recchi - Open Flat and Cacchione Cup
Tara Mathews - Alumni Fences and Alumni Flat

In addition to these riders, the Lyons will see eight team riders competing in collegiate classes.

The Zone 1 Championships will be held next Saturday, April 6th at the Mount Holyoke Equestrian Center. Action is expected to being around 9am.

Photo credit to the MHC Riding Team. Show recap courtesy of MHC rider, Honami Tanaka '20.