The equestrian team is one step closer to this year’s nationals, after a successful run during the regional championships. Besides qualifying four individual riders for Zones, the entire team was selected to compete as the region’s Reserve team.
Qualifying as the reserve champion for both the novice fences and novice flat class was sophomore Gillian Pech. The rider beat out 16 and 17 other competitors in each of her respective events. Head coach Chris Mitchell was extremely pleased with the underclassman’s performance.
“Gillian rode fantastically and we’re very excited she’s moving onto zones,” he said. “She’s a great student to work with.”
Pech’s success was mirrored by classmates Erica Rosen and Linda Nguyen. Rosen beat out 10 other competitors in the intermediate flat division to become the reserve regional champion. Nguyen earned her ticket to Zones in the walk-trotters division, in which she defeated five other riders for the top spot.
Mitchell was impressed with Nguyen, especially her progress as a rider.
“When we got her, she didn’t have a lot of experience,” he said. “She’s always trying to figure out how to get better. She always wants to know what she did, good, or bad.”
Senior co-captain Julie Canter was the fourth Cornell qualifier. Riding third in the class, Canter finished fifth in the open fences division. Canter, however, is no stranger to the post season.
“She’s been here before,” said Mitchell. “The competition seems to get tougher and tougher every year, but she’s right there.”
Mitchell went on to cite that Canter’s skills come from the time she puts in outside of practice. He noted that the senior will often spend hours riding on her own.
“She’s very diligent,” Mitchell added.
This is the second time in three years that the equestrian team has qualified riders for Zones. Should the team perform well next weekend, the next level of competition is nationals. While the team has had individual riders qualify for the event before, the women have never gone as a team.
“It would be unbelievable for these girls and unbelievable for this program,” said Mitchell of a possible national birth. “Hopefully we can get these girls to nationals. Then we can show the rest of the country what Cornell is made of.”
Archived article by Matt Janiga