April 8, 2008

Red Finishes Team Regionals Reserve Champions

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The equestrian team has a strong season record and a high level of talent riding on their backs. This past Saturday, members of the team traveled to Skidmore to compete at the IHSA Regional Show Saturday afternoon. As the first of the most competitive string of championship meets of the season, the Red has a lot to be excited about.
Riders had to qualify for the regional meet individually by accumulating qualifying points at meets throughout the season. The top three finishers in each event at regionals then move on to specific zones where they compete against top riders from other regions. The Red had eleven riders qualify in fourteen different divisions for the regional meet from Cornell, and five will move on to the IHSA Zone Championship next weekend at Skidmore.[img_assist|nid=29630|title=Dark horses no longer|desc=After a successful IHSA Regional Show in Skidmore, the team will be supporting five members who advanced to the Zones Championships.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“This is the first time I can remember in my 8 years here that everyone had a legitimate chance to move on,” said head coach Chris Mitchell. “It was the biggest possibility we’ve had since I’ve been here”
The Red ended the weekend with many impressive performances, especially taking into account the high lecel of competition. Cornell boasted two event champions, one reserve champion and two third-place finishers. Riders moving on to Zones include first place finishers sophomore Zoe Samuel in novice flat and Marie Ceran­owicz in walk-trot. Also qualifying for next week’s meet is reserve champion senior Lauren Wu in walk-trot-cantor, and third place finishers juniors Alyse Mizia, in intermediate flat, and Dana Kendrick in open fences.
“I’m extremely proud of them because every single one of them rode the way we talk about riding. If they made a mistake, they kept coming back and fighting and didn’t give up, and that’s huge,” Mitchell said.
The remaining six riders from the Red also placed well, although a few strong riders on the team failed to place high enough to move on. Many made small errors that kept them out of the top places in a competition that did not forgive many mistakes.
“I’m disappointed for some of them because they had a real good shot to move on, but it didn’t work out,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell cited nerves and riders on unfamiliar horses as reasons why some women may not have performed as well as they had hoped.
“You choose a horse, you get on it, and you go. Some horses are a little bit easier, some are a little bit tougher, some horses fit this rider and they don’t fit that rider. It’s a whole other dimension to the sport,” Mitchell said.
The Red was also named the reserve champion high point team for the region this season, having accumulated the second most points for the year. They finished behind Skidmore, a team that consistently led the region. The Red also had two of the top-6 riders in the region for the season — Kendrick and junior Caroline Shulman.
“Regionals is so tough because there’s a lot of highs but there’s also lows,” Mitchell said. “I think overall everyone was happy with how they rode.”