April 25, 2003

Riders Look to Bring Home Championship

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After placing an impressive fourth at the Zone championships two weekends ago, the equestrian team will host the Ivy League Show beginning at 9 a.m. on Sunday at the Oxley Equestian Center. All of the Ivy schools will have riders in the event with the lone exception being Harvard.

At the Zone championships two weeks ago, Cornell had two riders qualify for nationals. Sophomore Gillian Pech, who was competing in her first Zone championships, earned a spot at nationals with dominating performances in her riding classes. During the team portion of the competition, the sophomore took first place in the Intermediate fences, helping Cornell to its final score of 32 points.

In the individual portion of the championships, Pech starred once again, winning the Novice fences and earning the title of reserve champion in the Novice flat.

Junior Linda Nguyen, also qualified for nationals with her performance at Zones. During the individual competition, Nguyen earned the distinction of reserve champion in the walk-trot.

As a team, Cornell finished in fourth place at the Zones. Centenary College took first and was followed by St. Lawrence and Skidmore in second and third, respectively.

Cornell will face similarly tough competition this weekend.

“From what I’ve been reading about the Ivies, and what I’ve been watching about the Ivies, Brown has qualified for nationals as a team, so they’ll be a good contender,” head coach Chris Mitchell. “Dartmouth always has a pretty strong team. Yale won their home show this year, so they should be fielding a pretty decent squad, too.”

For the Red, the goal is simple — to rise to the top of the Ivy hierarchy.

“I’m looking for them to go out and ride their best,” Mitchell said of his riders. “We want to bring the cup back home. Right now, it’s at Brown. We’d like to bring it home to Ithaca, it’d be nice to do it at home. It’s been away from us for two years, so we’re not really happy about that. The girls are really pumped up to bring that back.”

The Ivy Show will also provide an opportunity for the Red to give experience to some of its younger riders.

“All of our girls are showing. One of the nice things about the Ivies, I can get a lot of competitors going on the team that maybe haven’t had the chance all year,” Mitchell said. “So it’s a great experience for them.”

Playing in Cornell’s favor will be experience.

“It plays a lot,” Mitchell said. “Having the experience of dealing with [unfamiliar horses] over the course of their career at Cornell does help them.”

Archived article by Alex Ip