Just a week after finishing second overall in team competition to Skidmore for the season, the equestrian team will have a chance to exact some revenge on the Thoroughbreds as the Red will send 11 riders to compete in the Zone II Region III championships tomorrow in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
“For us there’s always an added incentive to beat [Skidmore],” said head coach Chris Mtichell. “They are the ones to beat without a doubt. They are the strongest coached team – besides Cornell, obviously.”
Averaging at least a second- place finish all seven of her shows this, freshman Caitlin Carroll earned a trip to Regionals for the Red in the walk trot division.
“She was a little timid coming in, but as of late she’s really stepping into where she needs to be and finding her spot on the team,” Mitchell said. “She needs to be in the top-3, and that’s totally within the realm for her.”
Cornell will send the sophomore trio of Kaitlin Stanmyer, Christine Garvey, and Kendall Banks to compete in a field of 12 in the walk, trot and canter division. All three are roommates, and will look to clean house in Saratoga Springs by sweeping the top-3 spots in the division.
“It’s going to be a tough division because there are some good riders in there, but these guys have been working all year,” Mitchell said. “I think all three of them could easily sweep the division.”
Mitchell is even more sure of his riders competing in the novice division and expects both junior tri-captain Liz Kozakiewicz and senior Lydia Shute to advance past Regionals – and possibly farther.
“I think I have the novice champion in my pocket with Liz and as I told Liz, it’s hers to lose,” Mitchell said. “Without a doubt [Kozakiewicz] could be a national champion. All she’s got to do is stay focused, and stay true to what she is and she could easily be a national champion.”
The Red riders will also show two riders at the intermediate level with junior tri-captain Laura Acker competing in fences and sophomore Samantha Horowitz competing in fences and flats. Acker finished fourth in the nation last year in the novice fences division.
Senior tri-captain Megan Gates, along with classmate Trudi Gulick and freshman Dana Kendrick, will try to advance past open division flats and fences.While Mitchell thinks his three star riders have a chance to sweep the highly competitive field, they will have get past last year’s national and this year’s regional Cacchione Cup winner (awarded to the rider with the most cumulative points in the season), Skidmore’s Ashley Woodhouse.
“They could sweep it, but it’s going to be really hard to sweep that one because there are so many talented riders in there,” Mitchell said. “Everything’s got to fall just the right way.”
Overall, Mitchell has high hopes for the 11 riders who will make the trip to Saratoga Springs.
“This is the strongest group I’ve ever had going to Regionals,” Mitchell said. “If I get 11[into Zone Championships], they’ll probably have to take me down from the roof and carry me out of there, because I’d just be way too excited.”
Archived article by Paul Testa
Sun Assistant Sports Editor