The equestrian squad will look to finish its season on a high note this weekend at the Hartwick Invitational in Oneonta, N.Y.
Regardless of the result, the Red will finish as reserve champions (second place) for the sixth straight year, trailing rival Skidmore College. Head coach Chris Mitchell, however, is not satisfied with simply coasting into second place.
“I don’t want to end the season with the number of points we have; I don’t like that number,” Mitchell said. “We’re preparing to go in and win, and we should be able to do that.”
The team has shown lots of consistency this year, finishing in the top-3 in all but one of its last eight shows. Their steady, high level of performance has been in large part due to the efforts of senior tri-captains Rita Mizrahi, Liz Kozakiewicz and Laura Acker. Mitchell certainly does not underestimate their value to the squad, noting how much he will miss them after this year.
“I have three great senior captains, and I’m going to miss them when they leave,” he reminisced. Their impact on the team will be felt beyond this season according to Mitchell.
“They’ve instilled a good work ethic, a good practice ethic, and a good competition ethic in the group coming up.”
The squad’s individual accomplishments are as impressive as its work as a group, with 12 students already qualifying for the regional championships to be held at the end of the month. Mitchell claims that three or four more riders can qualify for the show in Saratoga, N.Y., with a good performance this weekend. Captain Rita Mizrahi doesn’t think that the upcoming individual show will serve as a distraction at all.
“I think we’re pretty focused,” Mizrahi said. “It’s tough, because this is our last show and we have a lot of points to make up. But we’re still going to do our best.”
Coach Mitchell was a bit more confident in his prediction, based on their traditionally solid performances at Hartwick, the team’s excellent preparation for the show and the extra motivation that comes with this being their last show of the regular season.
“I think they’ll rise to the occasion,” he said. “This team has a lot of character and I think they’ll rise to the occasion.”