December 3, 2008

Equestrian Ends 2008 With Tournament In Painesville

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This weekend the equestrian team will travel to Painesville, Ohio, to compete in the Tournament of Champions at Lake Erie College. The show will feature 22 schools from the east coast and beyond, many of which have ridden at Nationals in past seasons, or are expected to this year. What differentiates this tournament from typical collegiate horse shows, besides the sheer volume of teams competing, is the fact that every school can only bring eight riders, as opposed to the usual 16 or 20 who comprise a team at most regular season shows. For that reason, the Red will be relying on a relatively small amount of riders to keep up the team.
Representing Cornell will be seniors Dana Kendrick and Caroline Shulman, junior Brooke Cagwin and sophomores Georgina Melbye, Lauren Lavo, Rachel Klion, Kelsey Craig and Scotty Weber.
“I’m expecting them to do very well…top three or four,” said head coach Chris Mitchell. “I would love to win it, but it’s going to be a tough battle…a lot of big schools in our sport are going to be there.”
In attendance will be powerhouses Virginia Intermont College and Mount Holyoke College, which have combined to win six National championships between them over the course of the past decade. Last year may have signified a changing of the guard, however, as the University of Kentucky came out on top in the final standings.[img_assist|nid=33965|title=Tough competition|desc=The equestrian team will go up against traditionally strong programs in Virginia Intermont College and Mount Holyoke College, which have combined to win six of the past 10 national championships.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Despite the number of high-caliber teams descending upon Ohio this Saturday, the Red is not fazed by the prospect of competing on a national stage.
“I think there’s more pressure at the regular season shows because they count for more,” said Shulman, who will be competing in Open Fences and the medal class. “We’ve in the past been reserve champions at a national tournament, so we’re pretty confident that we can do well again.”
“It will be different from the other shows I’ve been in so far, but I think it will be a nice change of scenery,” added standout rookie Weber, who is scheduled to compete in the Walk/Trot class. “I just want to have the best ride in a show that I’ve had yet.”
Being the Red’s last competition of 2008, the team is hoping that the Tournament of Champions will give it the opportunity to close out the year on a high note.
“I think the team just has the goal of getting on the board nationally,” Shulman said.
Following this weekend’s tournament, the Red will return from Winter Break and have an additional month-long dry spell without any shows before kicking off 2009 at home on Feb. 22.
“I’m very happy with the way the girls are riding, the way they are preparing in practice,” said Mitchell. “I’m really excited for the next semester. They’ve stepped up a lot this year.”