April 15, 2003

Equestrian Team Qualifies Two for Nationals

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A strong season continued for the equestrian team this past weekend at the Zone championships, as two riders qualified for the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association National Horse Show in Tennessee.

Sophomore Gillian Pech and junior Linda Nguyen were both Reserve champions, leading the Red to a fourth-place finish with 32 points at the horse show held at the New Hope Farm in Port Jervis, N.Y.

Centenary College took the top spot with 35, followed by St. Lawrence with 34 and Skidmore with 33 in one of the closest Zone championships in history. Centenary and St. Lawrence both advance to Nationals.

Pech, competing in her first Zone championship, took first place in the intermediate fences in team competition. She also took the top spot in the individual novice fences and was the reserve champion in the individual novice flat.

“She rode her fence class and just laid down the round,” said head coach Chris Mitchell.

“She did a great job staying up [in the competition]. She’s very focused when she gets into the rink.”

Nguyen, competing as an individual, was the reserve champion in the individual walk-trot. That result also qualifies her for the national show.

“Linda went into her flat class and rode great,” said Mitchell. “The horse got changed right before she went, which can be very upsetting, but she was very determined and focused and rode excellently.

In team competition, freshman Abby McKenna took second in the walk-trot-canter, while classmates Angie Barclay, Mary Slocum, and Megan Gates all picked up third-place finishes in the open fences, novice fences, and intermediate flat, respectively.

“The team performance was outstanding,” said Mitchell.

“We finished only three points behind the winner and the teams that finished in front of us have all won the national championship before. I think the team we put together really represented Cornell very well.”

The national championship will take place this weekend in Tennessee. The equestrian team will be action again April 27, when it hosts the Ivy League Show at the Oxley Equestrian Center.

Archived article by Owen Bochner