Competing in her first Zone II championships, on a course she had never seen, on a horse she had never saddled, freshman Dana Kendrick did something no other Cornell rider has ever done – ride her way to becoming the Zone II Cacchione Cup champion.
“It was really nice,” Kendrick said. “It was an exciting end to the day and to the season.”
Kendrick was competing at the tournament as the reserve Cacchione Cup champion for Region III, as she had failed to be among the four Cornell riders who had qualified at regionals on April 1, to compete at Zones for a chance to go to nationals.
“It was wonderful. It will help Dana a lot in her confidence and it will help the team a lot,” said head coach Chris Mitchell. “For her to come in as a freshman and have the year that she had and have a disappointing regionals and bounce back a week later and win the zone champion of the top-8 riders in the Zone, which is the toughest zone in the country, that says something about this young lady.”
While all four of Cornell’s riders competed for a chance to advance to nationals, none of them finished in the top-2 spots necessary to qualify for the sport’s big dance.
Senior Trudi Gulick was the very first rider of the day, competing in the open fences division, which Mitchell viewed as an advantage for his veteran.
“You get to show them what you can do,” Mitchell said. “Everyone’s got to come in and beat you.”
Drawing a difficult horse, Gulick maintained her composure and rode to a seventh place finish.
“She rode very well,” Mitchell said. “The horse was a little ready and a little hot but she rode it very well and handled it like a pro.”
Junior tri-captain Laura Acker, in the intermediate fences division, picked up the same horse as Kendrick and rode well through the early fences but had came in tight on the fifth fence. The small mistake was enough to place her sixth in her competitive field.
Senior Lydia Shute competed in the Novice Fences division. After a strong first showing, Shute was among the top-5 riders called back by the judges for a final test. She eventually finished the day in fourth place.
“She rode very well,” Mitchell said. “It was a good test, it wasn’t a great test, but it kept her at fourth.”
Freshman Caitlin Carroll represented the Red in the walk-trot division. Drawing a fast horse, she finished ninth.
“It was a very good showing for a freshman and especially in that division,” Mitchell said.
Archived article by Paul Test
Sun Assistant Sports Editor