April 24, 2006

Equestrian Team Takes Second at League Show

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In a sport where seven or eight riders can be showing at the same time in front of one judge, being seen or not seen can make all the difference in a rider’s final placing. The equestrian team caught all the wrong looks yesterday, as it finished one errant glance, one judge’s blink away from an Ivy championship – finishing a single point behing first place Brown at Ivy League championshiops at the Oxley Equestrian Center.

“One point hurts, it hurts hard,” said head coach Chris Mitchell. “We had a couple issues during the middle of the day, just in some of them we didn’t place as well as we thought we should have. [But,] you know, that’s what we pay the judge for.”

Brown captured its second consectutive Ivy crown with 34 team points on the day, while Cornell finished the show with 33 points. Dartmouth and Princeton tied for third with 32 points, Columbia finished the day with 31. Penn rounded out the field of six with 21 points.

“It’s a good way to end the season,” Mitchell said. “We would have liked to have won it at home and that’s tough. Everybody rode hard, it’s really hard to put on a horse show and ride and perfom well when you have 80 percent of your team riding.”

Senior tri-captain Megan Gates led the way for Cornell, winning the individual open fences Ivy championship. Gates’ victory came as surprise even to the veteran Cornellian, who has traditionaly been stronger on open flats, and was riding a horse with which she previously had issues.

“Tally and I haven’t always gotten along, but a couple of my teammates rode her before me and really schooled her well, so she was great for me,” Gates said. “Her head was on straight and she was ready to go as soon as I got on.”

The individual championship capped off a solid four-year career for Gates at Cornell. She finished fourth in the Cacchione cup for her region this year, and was a reserve champion in intermediate flats in the 2004 regionals.

“It’s kind of sad, especially because I am a senior,” Gates said. “I am really proud of the girls, they did really well. We had some tough rides, we had some great rides, and everyone stuck to it.”

Junior tri-captain Laura Acker continued to shine in intermediate flats, capturing the individual Ivy championship, and taking first in her class in her debut in the open fences division.

Among other top performers for the Red were two riders making their riding debuts for Cornell. Sophomore Anna Flam took first place in her class in the novice flats division, and freshman Alise Mizia took second in her class in her first ride ever for Cornell in the intermediate flats division.

“I’m not going to say surprised, but I was very happy [with their performance],” Mitchell said.

Archived article by Paul Testa
Sun Assistant Sports Editor