April 15, 2008

Cornell Advances One Rider to Nationals

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Five riders from the equestrian team traveled back to Saratoga Springs, N.Y. on Saturday to compete at the Zone championship meet. For most of them, it marked the end of the championship season. However, while only one rider from the Red will move on to the national meet next month, all riders performed and placed well within one of the most competitive Zones in the country.[img_assist|nid=29867|title=Picture perfect profile|desc=Despite strong perfromances in the Zone championship meet this weekend, only of the five Cornell riders entered, sophomore Zoe Samuels, will advance on to the Nationals meet next month.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
That one rider to qualify was sophomore Zoe Samuel, who has had very strong performances this championship season so far. She won the novice flat event last weekend, making her both the Regional and Zone Champion in her event this year. She is also the only rider from the team to qualify for the National championship meet in May.
While the other four women rode extremely well, they weren’t able to place in the top-2 in order to qualify for nationals.
“I think everybody’s happy with their rides now; I think Saturday they were a little disappointed because they didn’t make it through [to Nationals],” said head coach Chris Mitchell.
Junior Marie Ceranowicz, who won her event at the Regional level last weekend, placed fourth in the walk-trot. Senior Lauren Wu also narrowly missed out on qualifying for nationals, placing fourth in walk-trot canter. Junior Dana Kendrick placed fifth in open fences and junior Alyse Mizia did not end up placing, but competed in the intermediate flat event.
“It’s disappointing not to make it to the National competition because that’s what we practice and prepare for all year, but we are in the most competitive, toughest zone in the country,” said Mitchell.
Mitchell mentioned that prior to the meet, he had placed all of his riders finishing higher in the rankings than where they ended up finishing.
“The two that really surprised me were Lauren Wu and Marie Ceranowicz,” said Mitchell. “I had them both going to Nationals, and I’m not the only one; I had a few other coaches tell me that as well.”
However, while trainers mostly watch their own riders, the judge watches the entire class from within the ring from a different angle. Because there’s just one judge, what place each rider ultimately finishes in is subjective and comes down to what the judge observes from her place.
“When you get twelve riders and they’re all the same level, it comes down to the little things, what the judges are looking for,” said Mitchell.